Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hair Mercy

On more days than not, I carry around the mild worry that I’m misunderstood in certain situations (did I seem defensive when yet another project was delegated to me?), that I’ve said too much in a spoken exchange (like when my boss’s son asked how I liked my new job and I replied that I liked it very much, followed by, “but would I tell you if I didn’t like it considering that your dad is paying my rent?), or that I come across as pushy or too opinionated – case in point unfolds…

Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You” captures the sentiment I reserve for Lonnie, my hair stylist during college. Since I tossed my cap in the air (but I didn’t really), I haven’t found anyone who can tame my locks with such artistry. Stylists from Brussels to Baltimore are inhibited hair technicians – they ain’t even stylists.

One disappointing haircut after another has freed me from my did-I-step-on-someone’s-toes mindset. By this I mean that I have no qualms about telling those armed with scissors exactly how I want my hair cut.

Razor – No.

Thinning shears – Go for it.

Chunky layers – Do and die.

Chiseled – You better.

Ishmael was the most recent bachelor in the search for my follicles’ “the one.” The book was great. The hair stylist - so-so.

When he said that he was finished, I questioned whether my revised mane was piece-E enough and if there was still too much weight in it.

“No. I fixed the problem.”

Oh, I had a problem apparently.

We went back and forth but the man wouldn’t budge, and since he had a sharp object in a hand planted firmly on his hip, I begrudgingly said “ok ok.”

When I was paying for my unfulfilled service, the receptionist told me that Ishmael cuts her hair and the hairs of her sister. He has an amazing touch and somehow the hair grows back an inch very soon.

Great, so I’m going to need another f’ing haircut in two weeks. Story of my life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Honeydew Gooder

Now that my new job affords me a better quality of living, I figure I should start purchasing the pre-sliced fruit containers at Whole Foods. “She works hard for the money…so hard for the money,” sends my hips a-sway in the produce section (not aisles) of aforementioned over-priced grocery establishment.

“What’ll it be today, big spender?” I think to myself. I eye the honeydew and consider it a fiscally responsible choice. Change moves slowly for me. The 3-berry mixture? I’m doing well, but not that kind of well. That’s downright extravagant.

I put the honeydew in my cart and roll onward, leaving residual feelings of “I’ve arrived” behind me, along with the woman weighing her organic grapes – a creature caught between the haves and the have-nots. Suckerrrrr.

The next day, the day following my purchase ridden with affluence, I came home to my apartment building where someone mans the front desk 24 hours a day. When you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

Front-desk-person o’ the moment, LaShawna, is a sweet woman who always holds my keys behind the desk when I go for a run. I’ve been told they’re not supposed to do this. Perhaps this is a marker of my expanding VIP status. Yeah.

LaShawna tells me she’s not feeling well and has had a headache for two days. I wanted to help her, and my gut inquiry was whether her braids might be too tight. I caught myself before asking (phew) and more appropriately questioned if she eats during her 4:00 – 11:00 pm shift?

“No, not really.”

By golly, I’ve got it; she’s got a hunger headache. Before I even realize what I’m saying, I offer LaShawna the contents of my refrigerator, namely yogurt and honeydew.

She nods when I say “honeydew,” as if there is nothing on Earth she wants more. I walk toward my apartment, carrying the heavy thought of, “what have I done?”

I can afford to better nourish myself, but charity was not something I had prepared myself for. Did I mention that I hadn’t even sampled the honeydew yet? Story of my life.

I eyed the clear plastic container and decided to eat a few pieces before making my non-tax-deductible donation.

She’ll need a utensil, it occurred to me. I don’t have plasticware. All I’ve got is my great-grandmother’s silverware. At this moment, I decided that honeydew could be classified as “finger food.”

I brought the honeydew to LaShawna and on the walk back to my melon-less apartment, I eyed myself in the lobby mirror and thought, “you done good, kid.”

The next night, LaShawna told me that she was feeling better and really liked the “melondew.”

Oh, honey.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New York Plate of Mind

I spent the weekend in New York City (when is it appropriate to call it Manhattan?) determined to satisfy my palate during the 36 hours I masqueraded as a pseudo-New Yorker. I embarked on this caloric journey with a friend, beginning with the precise selection of a morning muffin at Union Station in DC around 8:10 am.

There were two muffin joints to choose from and I had a hunch that the muffins were made by the same muffinista. When I’m not immersed in my full-time job, I play detective and read too much into things, mostly of the edible variety. Friend and I each decided on a coffee-cake muffin (no sharing when it comes to muffs). It took nearly every fiber of my being not to reach into the muffin repository (unassuming white paper bag sans muffin shop logo) as I waited to board the Amtrak bound for “the city” (as seems to be the cool way to refer to the locale that’s not the capital of New York State.)

I so should have taken a nibble because what I found while on board the train would have compelled me to purchase another muffin of a different variety. Important to note that while I rarely discriminate when it comes to muffins, I do not enjoy the flavor blueberry. As I watched friend rip off the top of her muffin (yeah, she’s one of those), I was initially delighted at the sight of dark circular muffin insertions I wrongly thought to be raisins. They weren’t raisins – oh no they weren’t. BLUEBERRIES were in my coffee-cake muffin. Story of my life.

Off to a bad start.

My next caloric intake was a $4.50 slice of Florentine pizza, infused with spinach, feta, and ricotta cheese. Quite tasty.

Next stop: Alice’s Tea Cup, a what-will-probably-take-on-Serendipity-notoriety tea shop known for its scones. I don’t appreciate the 2-scone minimum order. “You can’t just get one?” I thought to myself repeatedly, with a perplexed look on my face as I hoped for a footnote on the menu noting that yes, Washington transplants named Jackie could indeed just order one scone.

I’ll have the peanut butter-banana and almond joy sconeS and a pot of tea (for just me – and I’m a coffee drinker). Why? Because there is a minimum order of $10 per person on the weekends. There went any suspicion that this city was a place for bargains.

Next digestive activity involved glazed cashews from one of the HOT NUTS stands located on every other corner in New York City. Let me note that these nuts (HOT) were purchased after a subway snafu (wrong direction) en route to a broadway show, where friend and I arrived exactly at the 8:00 pm showtime; we wanted nuts (HOT ones) to munch on, and the imminent dimming of the theatre lights was not going to stop us. I ran from the HOT NUTS stand to the theatre without regard for pulsing beings in my way, provoking grazers in Time Square to call out, “What the hell/fuck?”

Following the show, friend and I craved falafel and stumbled upon (I always trip, no matter where I am) fried chick peas in a not so fine establishment on a questionable street – but the falafel maker did wear a paper hat to protect the frying chick peas from any loose locks. Phew.

Then I contemplated an ice cream cone from McDonald’s (I am my mother’s daughter), but friend didn’t seem into it and my thighs thanked her in the morning.

The morning brought a lovely brunch with a childhood friend. More importantly (no offense childhood buddy), the morning bestowed upon my life a mimosa, a basil and goat cheese egg scramble over sourdough with roasted tomatoes and asparagus (goat cheese not detectable….grrr), and a slice of pear pecan crumbcake (thank god no blueberries found their way in).

A new trend in frozen yogurt embellished my afternoon in “The Village” (I think that’s where it was?).

By 5:00 I was really in need of bottled water. Not just water – bottled, folks. Thank you cart vendor on the outskirts of Central Park.

My weekend in New York City culminated with dinner somewhere on Columbia and 83rd, at a cute order-at-the-counter (my favorite style) neighborhood bakery/cafĂ©. Hello quiche. When do I ever eat quiche? Well, when I’m in a city that sometimes (when people, when??) takes the name of Manhattan. A chocolate chocolate chip cookie to go and friend and I were off to Penn Station.

As for what transpired between bites, does it even matter?