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The Holiday Season and Stuck Earring Backings

My sister sent me this picture of the alignment. She lives in an area with clear nighttime skies and unobstructed views, whereas I only see rooftops.

It is an incredibly beautiful picture, but the thought crossed my mind that these two planets seem closer together than my sister and I this holiday season. She in her bubble-of-1 and me in mine, separated by less than 200 miles. It seems silly and unnecessary and yet we both know that it is exactly the right thing to do. So we will each stay in our homes; grateful to have homes, as well as food on the table.

My birthday is quite close to Christmas and I was inundated with questions on what I might like. I was stumped. When you get to be my age (I demand a recount—I never got to do last year!) you don’t really need anything. Despite severe downsizing, every square inch of my abode is accounted for. My travel backpack and two purses are stashed in the dryer. Miscellaneous tools and maps are stowed in my microwave and you don’t even want to look under the bed.

But I can tell you one thing I DO want when all this is over. It is a slightly embarrassing issue, but we are among friends, and I feel I can divulge.

When this whole COVID thing hit, there were several immediate adaptations necessary to my existence. One of them was coming up with a mask. I had several scarves and an entire collection of rubber bands due to grocery stores’ penchant for encircling plastic blueberry containers with them. And so with my scarf and rubber bands, I was able to fashion one. See here:

Not bad for those first few disorienting weeks. But as time went on, I progressed to designing masks advertising my book. (Ahem, see a previous post.)

I thought this a very clever invention and was a bit dismayed to see MANY authors on twitter had come up with the same idea (we do what we can to sell our books).

But after the first few weeks I discovered that dangly earrings and masks don’t work. The dangled became entangled. I got out my gold studs I’d purchased after piercing my ears, and put them in. I forgot all about earrings for several months.

Well about a week ago I was feeling frivolous and jolly. I did not have to go out that day, so decided to wear a pair of pretty dangly earrings. I pulled the backing off of one gold stud, placing the earring carefully in my tray and reached for the other.

To my astonishment, the backing was not there. Although relieved to see my earring still WAS there, the relief quickly turned to horror. Unbeknownst to me, the backing had worked its way INSIDE the tiny hole in my earlobe.

After a series of incredible contortions in front of the mirror and using a hand mirror, I was able to get a bit of the ridged plastic backing out of the hole. But I could not get a grip on it to pull further. My fingers, now sweating and shaking, were no help at all.

I am not good at pulling things out of my flesh, and began to feel a bit lightheaded and faint. I stopped for a few minutes to reconnoiter. I realized my mistake. Not able to find the other gold backing to my earring, I’d grabbed one of those ridged plastic things that you sometimes put towards the end of dangly earrings to keep them from slipping out of your ear. They had never been made to use as an actual backing.

After the dots disappeared from my vision, I decided to sterilize my tweezers and hopefully pull it out, using them. Well I got a grip and began to pull (please feel free to stop if you, Dear Reader, are beginning to feel faint as well.) It hurt like the dickens, but the darn thing did NOT want to move any further than about one sixteenth of an inch.

I had to stop again and lean against the counter. My ear was throbbing with the plug protruding, and bleeding (just a few drops, but nonetheless). I began to imagine a scenario where my earlobe became infected and I came down with a raging fever. I would have to pedal my bike to the hospital, only to be laughed down and sent away due to COVID.

I decided to dab it with some witch hazel and just let it alone. Praying it would NOT become infected and the soreness would go away. I went back to my bedroom and watched a light-hearted 30’s screwball comedy and downed a glass of red wine. This is a tried-and-true method for dealing with stress in the time of COVID.

Dear Reader, it worked. My earlobe stopped hurting and bleeding (who knew earlobes could bleed.) The mortified plastic backing sank again into my flesh. I put my other earring back on (with its proper gold backing) and felt balanced again.

So if anybody is wondering, that’s what I’d like for a belated Birthday--Christmas gift. A post-COVID visit to a doctor who would be kind and non-judgmental, and never ask “how?”

And get the wretched thing out.

Love from this Island-of-Torment, ❤

S. Kensington.

P.S. the eBook version of my novel is on sale: £0.99, or $1.99 across most retailers.!🎄🎄🎄

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