Early fall is training time here for precinct workers, to ready them for the November election. The classes are mandatory, even if one has worked at the same job for 20 years. Every year, something changes. My class this year was, as always, a roomful of Republicans and Democrats working together in good faith to make sure this election is carried out as seamlessly as possible.
The room was packed. I’ve mentioned before that the location I select is a windowless room in a county office building that was previously used as the overflow morgue. Although there are training locations all over the city, this one is nearest my house. I sign up for daytime classes. If I see a shadow, I want it to be my own. Others must feel the same way.
I took one of the few seats available, next to a pleasant-looking older woman who has snagged an aisle seat. (Okay, it’s possible that this “older woman” could have been about my age.) As we exchanged pleasantries, I realized that I was not looking her in the eye, mesmerized as I was by a significant hair growing under her chin. No peach fuzz. . . this one was a doozie, so long it had a slight curl to it. Upwards of an inch, at least.
As she talked on, I wrestled with myself about what to do. Should I avert my eyes and ignore it? Surely, she didn’t know it was there!
Recently I read that a friend is someone who tells you that you have lipstick on your teeth. Isn’t a long chin hair in that same category? It is hard to know exactly where to draw the line in these matters.
Once I attended a morning brunch and encountered a similar incident. One woman I didn’t know very well shouldn’t have been there because she had a terrible cold. (Her husband was a doctor. You’d think he’d have told her.) As we chatted, she wiped her nose with a tissue. Unfortunately, she dislodged. . . um. . . mucus (can I say wet booger here?) which smeared across whatever that space is called between nose and upper lip. I quickly did a motion across that space on my own face and told her to wipe again. It was either that or start gagging.
So back to the whisker lady. I rationalized that she must not have any friends or they’d have told her she needed to tweeze.
“You have a long chin hair right there,” I said, squeezing my index finger and thumb under my own chin in a pulling motion in order to designate the location.
She answered, “I know. It won’t come out. I tried to pull it out and my friend tried, too. It won’t come out.”
I was stunned into silence. My fingers were itching to reach over and yank.
I could have had that sucker out of there in five seconds with my bare hands, even if the other end was rooted in her nostril. Furthermore, , I not only carry a small Swiss Army Knife, but tweezers, clippers, and scissors as well.
Errant hairs, beware former Girl Scout leaders..
Heck, if the woman’s whisker truly required something of industrial strength, maybe the morgue folks left something behind. I’d have been willing to search on her behalf.
“I’m so sorry,” I told her, then buried my face in my elections manual to forestall any further conversation.
Today I went to lunch with some of my precinct friends (Democrats and Republicans) and told them the story. They were horrified, but laughed hysterically that I had been so rash and bold.
So now, unless that woman has a second friend with stronger fingers, she is going to work the entire Election Day with people staring at that eye-catching chin hair. Oh, the embarrassment! By Election Day, it may have grown enough that she can tie her name badge to it. Give that bad boy a purpose.
You may rest assured that I will definitely be checking myself in a magnifying mirror for stray eyebrows and facial hair before I show up to work on Election Day.
And let this be a warning to my fellow precinct friends: if you notice lipstick on my teeth and don’t tell me, I’m going to do some hair pulling myself. Yours.