Wednesday, April 30, 2008

He Has Returneth to Moi

I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish with that title, but nonetheless, onward with my senseless revelation of all things that should remain unspoken (or un-typed).

My favorite yoga teacher went to India for two weeks, and it took a toll on me. He’s someone who likely doesn’t know the affect he has on people (me). When not providing the gentlest, hands-on guidance during a yoga practice, he’s a clinical social worker, my basis for feeling like I’ve had a cathartic therapy session after a class with him.

I know you can’t state an affirmation of the future, but dare I affirm that for the rest of my life, he’ll be the yoga teacher that all others are compared to.

I was there - perched on my hot pink yoga mat - for his first post-India class. He smiled and said hello, making me blushing – gay men just have that affect on me. Story of my life.

And as I watched him roll out his mat, light a candle, and set up his iPod, I had this strong desire to wrap myself around his lower leg the way a little kid does when a parent leaves for work/somewhere the kid can’t go.

What would have been so bad if he led class with me affixed to his calf?

Did I mention that I had a dream about him during his sabbatical? I told him after class, following my “I’m so glad you’re back” utterance of yogic love. He said that I was channeling him. Boy was I.

Like I’ve said before, love someone the best way you know how, even if it is an unconventional relationship – the outcome can leave you seeing beauty in a place you never would have looked for it, not to mention a bearer of toned quads.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nail Polish & Postage, An Unlikely Treasure

I got a “polish change” in the Old Post Office Pavilion during my lunch hour. It’s the more cost effective alternative to a manicure, and you avoid the risk of dirty instruments and trimmed cuticles that grow back thicker.

Getting my nails painted is a far cry from the
hair removal activities I used to do on my lunch hour at my former, dreaded job.

I didn’t know that my walk (in search of fresh air and quick culture) to the Old Post Office Pavilion would result in my returning to work with prettified nails, but then again, you never know when a new opportunity is around the corner (or in a historic post office).

I hadn’t been to the Old Post Office Pavilion since my 5th grade class trip, when we visited the landmark for lunch (or was it dinner?). It seemed smaller than I remembered, but I guess I was smaller back then, too. But not by much, because I’m still pretty small. Smaller than I am pretty? A constant internal debate. Story of my life.

But the prettiness of my nails after my modern day visit to the Old Post Office Pavilion? No question. Gorgeous.

So how did I get my nails done at the Old Post Office Pavilion? There was a sign outside for Connie’s Nails, and I thought, “How many people are going into the Old Post Office Pavilion for beauty treatments?”

My hunch was right on. Jennie (not Connie) took me right away, and complimented me on the new hue of
my hair. In addition to the nail salon, there are several mall-food-court’esque eateries and touristy souvenir shops in the Old Post Office Pavilion.

I didn’t notice if there is a functioning post office in the Old Post Office Pavilion. Who cares? Not I, so long as Connie and Jennie stay put.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Red in the Face

Why? Because I’m so angry.

Why? Because my hair isn’t red.

I went to the salon to dye my hair, but the end result is anything but red. I feel like I took 10 steps back in the hair game.

Why? Because I’ve been bringing this picture of what I believe to be my soulmate hair color (in the red family) to the last three hair appointments, and each time the stylist (who is very talented) tells me that we have to reduce the blonde and move toward brown before we go toward red.

Fine. She’s considered the expert in dying hair red in DC.

So, we’ve been going to light browns with reddish undertones and some blonde highlights for contrast, and today was the day when we were supposed to make me a redhead. She seemed hesitant when she looked at the photo I brought, and like an artist who refuses to budge even though you are a customer paying LOTS of money (Correct. No one put a gun to my head.), she said that she would do something more subtle, but in the direction of what I wanted.


I write to you now as someone with light brown hair with blonde highlights. That’s so mainstream. And I am anything but mainstream.

I’m weird.

That’s why I wanted to go red. Redheads are mysterious and awkward, qualities I think I embody.

I can’t fill the shoes of a blonde; I just don’t have that much fun.

Jackie-fun, yes. But not blonde-fun. That would involve dates (more frequent than annually) and drinking (things other than San Pellegrino).

And I’m not this shallow of a person (I’m really not), even though I’m refusing to let go of the anger I feel about my non-red hair. It’s just that when you have the taste of ‘what’s next?’ always lingering on your tongue, sometimes the only things it seems you can control are tangible ones, like the clothes you wear, the food you eat, and the yoga mat you use (I have two options).

I also got my period the morning of the hair color debacle, and that leaves me severely emotional and feeling like ‘whatever is next’ could only suck. A lot. So my outlook on life (and I guess my hair) nosedives.

My reliably annoying sister also called me in the middle of my hair appointment to check on progress. The salon is on the first floor of the building where she works, so she wanted me to go upstairs and show her the finished product when I was done – which she communicated to me by text message earlier in the day.

Apparently she thinks I need double reinforcement.

Apparently she doesn’t get that for me, haircuts are like massages and movies – I don’t want to be spoken to in the middle of my respite of relaxation from regular life.

I left the salon, called my mom and started to cry, and made no climbs in altitude to see my sister. I walked toward my yoga studio, mat slung on my shoulder in a brown yoga bag with hot pink polka dots to boot – to match the hot pink yoga mat inside.

While on the phone with my mom, my sister called me and I hit “Ignore.” So she called my mom to say that she just went into the salon and they said I had just left. I should meet her at the metro.

Do you see what I’m dealing with? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my sister is now also my neighbor. She moved into my building this past weekend. My sister is basically a walking anxiety attack, which doesn’t mesh well with the Zen pace of life I try to lead.

She’s calling as I write this. Story of my life.

If she knocks on my door, I’ll flip my lid.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Come On, Baby, Light My Cherry

Blossom, that is. Tis’ the two-week season when cherry blossoms grace DC and residents and tourists (uninformed metro riders) go berserk for the little flowers embellishing the Tidal Basin and surrounding monuments.

Me and my date for all seasons went on an evening lantern tour (8:00 – 10:00 pm) to see the little (and big) blossoms at the tail end of their revered reign. Approaching the check-in tent, lady date said that she heard every person on the tour gets their own lantern.

This made me glow. Growing up in Florida and only knowing vacation through the lens of Disney World, the prospect of having my very own lantern lit the feeling of magic inside me, a feeling usually only evoked when a Disney character waves to me (like there’s no mistaking it – it’s me they’re greeting) during a parade.

We arrived to a huge crowd of 90 people that had to be split into two separate groups. Don’t worry, lady date and I weren’t separated. Sadly, there were only 20 lanterns to go around, and I wasn’t bestowed with a happy-prop. Story of my life. I know.

A ranger from the US Parks & Recreation department led the tour. Ranger Rose (fitting name for the occasion, huh?) stopped along the way to share historical anecdotes (he had majored in history) and allow people to ask stupid questions (yeah, there is such a thing. I bore witness. Repeatedly.) that made the tour last an additional 20 minutes. On a school night, nonetheless.

My one question for the evening: How often do people fall into the Tidal Basin? A railing is missing from a long section of the basin and, as an unskilled swimmer, I was concerned and curious about their established rescue plan (there isn’t one).

Some people opted to not finish the tour so they passed off their lanterns. ¾ of the way through the tour, I was lantern rich with two vessels of illumination. One died quickly, but the other could rival Kennedy’s eternal flame.

The lanterns made me giddy, and my lady date did a terrific job at capturing my feelings of jubilation.

All photo credits, the severely talented Allison Kirsch.

For inquiring minds, Ranger Rose is 6’4” tall – “without the boots.”

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thanks, Jackie.

I went to Barnes & Noble in search of a card for my friend’s 25th birthday (thank God she’s seeing that milestone first).

I was explaining the term “quarter-life crisis” to my grandpa en route to the store. I told him I’d been feeling the effects of anxiousness, confusion, hypertension (have I really?), a sense of urgency, and [insert other desperate sounding side effect] since my early 20s, so maybe the reverse of typical quarter-life feelings would be my destiny on the day I turn 25 (August 9). Fingers, arms, and legs crossed. Picture it.

“I think you’ve been dealing with that since you were born.”

Thanks, Poppa.

As for my friend (buddies since pre-school), she has quarter-life feelings, too, but she’s found her way to grad school (oh how I wish I could revive my lunch pail) and is one-half of a loving relationship (as for me, that’ll be the day).

Anyway, I approached the check-out counter and a guy with a masculine appearance spoke to me in a tone that didn’t match his scruffy exterior. His subdued, calming voice breathed an inquiry about my status as a Barnes & Noble rewards club member. I said that I wasn’t a card carrying member and, much to my surprise, he didn’t try to recruit me to his side of the register.

I struggled with my wallet to retrieve $3.12 (For paper! Just paper and a message my writing could rival. “Why not make your own card,” you ask? Because I don’t have the time or the energy at present time, but I do have the supplies.)

The manly cashier handed me a bag with the card inside (wasteful in an environmental sense?) and said, “Thanks, Jackie.”

The “God?” in the beginning of Madonna’s Like a Prayer found its rhythm in my head.

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone

I hear you call my name
And it feels like home

I paused for a few seconds and then asked how he knew my name.

“It’s on your license.”

Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there

Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery
Just like a dream, you are not what you seem
Just like a prayer, no choice your voice can take me there

And then – in the way that I always want to know how things work – I questioned if he saw my license when I was fumbling with my wallet.

“Yeah,” he said with a smile.

But my license says, “Jacqueline.”

How did he know I go by “Jackie,” I wondered pronouncedly, (a state of mind that often leaves my lips ajar/not a pretty expression). Story of my life.

I walked away smiling to myself (and maybe to passersby?), amused with the simple exchange that made me feel so alive.