Recognize the woman in the photo? No worries. It’s Greta Garbo, the Swedish actress, and international star, from the silent movie era. She was nominated for an Academy Award four times; and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for Anna Karenina and, also, for Camille.
The American Film Institute ranked her fifth on their list of the greatest female stars of all time, after Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman.
She was only 35 when she retired, choosing to live the rest of her life out of the public eye. In fact, she went out of her way to avoid publicity. She’s probably best known for this famous line from the movie, Grand Hotel: “I want to be alone”.
Sometimes I do, too.
Like yesterday. But first, the back story. I met a friend for brunch. When we were done, she asked what I had planned for the rest of the day. I’ve been out of eye shadow and mascara for a while. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been literally scraping tiny particles of shadow out of the corners of its little container. And I’ve been adding the odd droplet of water to my mascara, too.
Why? I have no idea. No reason. No excuses. I’ve probably just been too lazy to walk the very few blocks to the store. One would think I had to travel for three hours by bus, train and horse and buggy, to get there. Shameful, really. My friend will be horrified to read this. As well she should be. I should be horrified, myself.
Yes, I am horrified. Ashamed, too.
Anyway, as she asked the question yesterday, I realized I simply HAD to replenish my stock. Period. So I told her I needed eye make up; and was planning to go to Holt Renfrew. They refer to themselves as “Canada’s leading fashion specialty department store for men and women”.
Loosely translated, they sell expensive designer labels.
No, I haven’t been holding out on you. I’m not an heiress, masquerading as a blogger. They carry a line of make-up I can’t buy anywhere else. It’s exclusive to them, and I like it. It is also one of the few brands I don’t seem to be allergic to. In other words, it doesn’t make my eyes itch, tear or turn red. A plus, to be sure. Anything resembling pink eye is not attractive.
So Marilyn (friend), who is a true cosmetic and skin care aficionado, said she’d join me. Truly, there is not a brand she has not tried. She is more familiar with the stock at Sephora than their buyers. Trust me on this. She is the Google Search of cleansers, moisturizers, eye creams, foundation, blush, lipstick, gloss, liner, lashes, powders, gels, creams, pencils, brushes, sponges AND fragrances.
Which meant I was in very good hands.
Off we went.
Here’s where Garbo comes in. The store was PACKED. At least the main floor was. We never ventured upstairs. It was so crowded, I wondered if they were giving stuff away for free. Don’t book your flights just yet. They were NOT.
I HATE crowds. Always have. Even as a little child. Which is one of the reasons I always hated to go to the circus. Too many people. Too much shoving and pushing. Not my scene. I never liked clowns either, now I think of it. They scared me. I always found them creepy. That’s a whole other conversation, though.
Back to Holts. Every counter had groups of people milling around, trying to get the attention of the sales help. And it did seem as if there were not enough of them to go around. They were in short supply, actually. Very short supply. Which didn’t help my mood. There were shoppers clogging the aisles, waiting for make-up applications, trying to pay. Generally getting in my way. Generally getting in each other’s way.
To make a long story short, I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.
Eventually I did manage to get what I’d gone for. I did buy a new eye shadow, and a new mascara. To be totally honest, if I hadn’t really been desperate I would never have waited around. I would have left empty-handed and gone again, another day. But it would have been easier to get blood from a stone than to extract anything else from my old shadow and mascara. So it was do or die.
Truth be told, Marilyn would never have let me leave without the make-up anyway. She’d made it her mission to make sure I found what I was looking for. Isn’t that what friends are for?
She was going on to do more shopping, somewhere else. I’d had it with the Saturday crowds, though. So as much as I love her company, I went home. To be alone. Blessedly, alone. For some Greta time.