Hop aboard today’s train of thought!
It began when I was looking in the mirror, blow-drying my hair with my usual let’s-get-this-over-with attitude because I was in a hurry. We were leaving for the supermarket, and I was rushing because we have an appointment this afternoon, which gives us a terminus ad quem.
(To digress: terminus is, as you already spotted, related to terminal: a station, a point to begin from or arrive at. In this case, ad quem, to which. So, a point to arrive at, a destination point, which is the 2 p.m. movie we’ll be showing this afternoon for our community. Two p.m., then, was our destination point. ((The other end of this coming-and-going continuum is terminus ab quo, a point from which to leave. I LOVED high school Latin, even if there’s no one in the world who actually speaks it. It appeals to lovers of crossword puzzles, which is — But no, that’s too many digressions already.))
Anyway, I was looking in the mirror, trying to kind of fluff up my hair as I blew warm air over it, more like the attention my hairstylist gives it then my usual lick and a promise. And sure enough, my hair began to look more like it does when she’s wielding the brush, and as I looked in the mirror, the thought came to me, “She cleans up nicely.” And I smiled, involuntarily, picturing the friend about whom I first had this thought.
This friend of mine, we’ll call her Z—, can look really really plain. That’s when her hair just kind of hangs there limply around her face, or gets scrunched back mercilessly with a rubber band, and she’s wearing no makeup whatever, and her clothes owe all to comfort and nothing to style, and —- well, you get the picture. When she makes even minimalist effort, though, she’s transformed. She’s really really good-looking. That’s when I first thought, “Z—- cleans up nicely.”
I haven’t thought of that expression in years. It’s an old-fashioned one, the very opposite of effusive, and understated in the extreme. But it says it all. Take a little care, make a little effort, get out the soap and washcloth and everyone can clean up nicely! Just thinking about it makes my grin return. I guess my inner grownup was happy I’d taken a little more time and effort with my hair, hurry and destination be damned. I guess I’d subconsciously been thinking, not only about Z—, but about the face in the mirror. Look at that, “She cleans up nicely.”
And now we’ve arrived at the terminal, and it’s time to move on with the day. Thanks for riding this far with me!