Last week I was at the Chestnut Hill post office, and on the female clerk I noticed the tell-tale sign: colorful bandaids wrapped tightly around the tips of a few of her digits.
I winced in sympathy. “Oh, finger splits?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said and seemed to groan. “They’re terrible. And always this time of year.”
“I know. They kill.”
“They really do,” she replied. “Especially the deep ones. They don’t seem big enough to cause that much pain, but they do.” Meanwhile, her hands kept moving, moving, moving. It’s the dryness of the winter air and the constant activity of our hands that do us in.
“Try Super Glue,” I said.
“Uh, I don’t know about that. A girlfriend said the same thing, but, uh, I dunno.” As she talked, she remained in motion: shifting packages, stamping them, sorting bills and coins.
“Well, there’s a skin glue that works, from 3M. It’s almost as strong as Super Glue. I’ve tried it.”
“Okay,” she said. “Okay. Thanks!”
Behind the long counter, the clerk stood in her spot, her busy arms like the hands of a clock and she the center of a circle. Perhaps she is resolved to keep suffering, as we all are. I had a feeling, as I walked away, that she would stick with bandaids.