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Lesson Learned on Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. The only reason I know this is because it says so on my calendar. This reminds me of a story...

My husband and I lived in Manhattan 14 years ago. I worked in a very nice office that was the USA headquarters for a French perfume company. Now, coming from Portland, OR I wasn't into the pricey smells and exotic lotions that permeated the cubicles. I had (and still do) my favorite essential oils that helped me get through my day.

I was a constant source of amusement for the NYC residents who kept questioning me about the Pacific Northwest. "So, people really wear those Birken-something-shoes? Really?!?" "So, it rains there all the time, right?" "Where is Oregon again?" Yes, people wear Birkenstock's (I haven't). Yes, it rains a lot (It rains in Seattle more, so there). And Oregon is that gigantic piece of land that is between California and Washington (What's the matter with you?!?)

Manhattan is such an incredible source of all things that everyday was a new experience. One of them being, people on the East Coast seriously observe religious holidays. In Portland, Oregon religious observation is very low key. We're pretty low-key about many things.

So, on this particular Wednesday, I was sitting at my desk when a co-worker came to speak with me. While he was talking I couldn't help but be distracted by this black smudge on his forehead. I thought I would do him a favor and quietly tell him he had a "little something" on his face. He gave me a blank look. I said 'It's right there, in the middle of your forehead' while I kept pointing at my own. He continued to give me a look that was a mix of Are you kidding me? and You're an idiot. Finally he said "Ann, I know. It's Ash. This is Ash Wednesday". Ooooooh. I see.

Thus continued my education of living in Manhattan. And the day I stopped telling people if there was something on their face.

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