I was a curious child.

Often my curiosity manifested itself in mischievous, semi-destructive behaviors. To me, it was curiosity. To my parents, grandparents, babysitters, relatives… it was mostly just a mess. (I like to think they saw some of the beauty in it after they were done being angry about having to clean up after me…)

For instance (and I don’t particularly remember all of the details about this, but I’ve had this story told to me so often that I feel like I can vividly re-live it in my mind) there was a day that I got intensely curious about the brand new tube of lipstick I saw my mom put in her purse.

You see, mom was a lipstick woman. Still is. Secretly, I wish I was confident enough to be a lipstick woman, too… but I digress. (Maybe when I grow up?)

My mom always wore lipstick. I thought it was pretty. It’s what moms did — put on lipstick. Especially while in the car using the rear-view mirror or the pull down one in the little sun visor. The lipstick mirror.

Being a lipstick mom, she always kept a fresh tube in her purse. And she was a bold, deep-red, maroon, burgundy, berry-crush lipstick wearer.

There was a day when I was in the car with her and I think we were on the way to go pick up my older sister from a friend’s house. On the way to pick up my sister, mom had to run home to grab something. I was about 3 years old at the time and mom was just going to be a minute, so she left me in the car.


The phone rang.

Inside the house, not her cell phone… we didn’t have those yet, this was 1989.

So, the phone rang, I was in the car, mom was trying to be quick, and I was insatiably curious. And today I was curious about lipstick.

Deep-red, berry crush, burgundy-maroon, lipstick.

There was a brand new tube in her purse. It still had that perfect flat, teardrop shape near the tip. She may have used it once or twice, but it still looked like it was freshly pressed from the factory mold.

I climbed out of my carseat, into the front of the car, and dug deep down into the pocket of her purse which was tucked between the two front seats. I found that glorious brand new tube of lipstick. And I put it on.

I put it on my lips.

I put it around my lips.

I put it on my mouth.

I looked in the lipstick mirror and realized that wasn’t enough.

I put it on my cheeks, on my arms, on my hands, on my forehead…

On the steering wheel, on the door, on the radio knobs, on the seat!

I put it on the window and the seatbelt and the floor mat and the car horn!

Oh it was glorious.

The dingy, grey upholstered interior was now a beautiful berry-crush red.

I did it.

And mom was going to be so proud of me!


Not quite.

As soon as she came outside and saw what I had done, proud wasn’t exactly the emotion she was feeling. I think she was pretty angry. I got quite the spanking but, since I had completely covered myself and most of the interior of the car in lipstick the spanking got her! She was covered in lipstick, too.


My mom was mad. I was curious. And we were both covered in lipstick. And… I sort of, maybe, kind of, probably totalled the car that day.

It was an old car. And there was no getting that berry-crush out of the grey upholstery. (Sorry mom!)

I’m still curious, and I have an insatiable need to make things and understand how they’re made and to know how things work. However, I do try to be a little less destructive these days.

So, take the time to get a little curious today and be careful around that new tube of lipstick.


2 Responses to "Curious."

  1. jo says:

    I remember a similar moment when I got curious on paint. The type you paint the interior walls with and I thought I could use them like I was cooking. So off I went to cook a meal with all the paint ingredients. 😛

  2. Barb says:

    Oh Janine…. I do so remember that day. I think the one thing you forgot is that it was the middle of summer in Ohio….. Yeah, about 95 degrees. Yes, that does make the lipstick quite soft and almost liquid… Yes, it was EVERYWHERE. And yes, I was quite angry. However. looking back on that incident, I now realize this was only the beginning of my “mom” experience with a very curious little girl. You were only beginning to express your curiosity….The stories I could tell.

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