Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
August 24, 2011
Tiger Balm: a Vignette
The instant my nose detects the faintest smell of tiger balm, I remember my beloved grand father. He had discovered it in Communist China, before the era of globalization. We can find it today at Carrefour!
My grandfather was a physician. We used to go to him for the slightest ailments, the worse headache the painful sprains. But I never remember him prescribing antibiotics. If he thought I was anemic, by looking at my lower eyelids, he would send me straight to the kitchen for some eggs (hence my disposition to protein diets!) He gave Vitamin E shots to family members who felt a dash less energetic. Pills, like mysterious elixirs were cut in half and pressed in our mouths with a goblet of luke warm tea or ice cold water (from a straw) by his bedside.
I once came to him with a severe neck ache. He asked me to sit on the floor, next to his chair. And he took the all too familiar tiger balm out, rubbed a generous amount on the painful side and I was miraculously cured with a good neck rub.
We all have creams we believe to be miracle creams. My mother-in-law swears by Vaseline for any ailment, diaper rash, aching feet, cuts and burns.
My mother's favorite cream is a lotion she finds on Swiss Airlines. It serves as an eye make-up remover, hand cream or mosquito balm.
My father always carries a tiny tube of antibiotic cream, called Theramycin. We end up knocking at his hotel door when we need first-aid care and he takes it out of his shaving kit, where he stores band-aids, IBProfen, nail clippers and a Swiss knife.
As a mother of three, I have my own favorite remedy creams. Finistil for mosquito, especially the ferocious Mediterranean ones (the Swiss ones pale in comparison). I now buy my sister her own tube for the summer, because I had the whole extended family, without exaggeration, sharing a single tube in summer in France.
My all year round cream is Excipial, a very rich Swiss cream that the pediatrician recommended for my daughter upon birth. Any time my kids complain about a dermatological itch, I rub some Excipial and its good as new. Its scent is very pleasant.
But its not nearly as recognizable as the Tiger Balm scent my grandfather carried in his pockets.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!