Monday, February 25, 2013

Camp Cause and Effect

During the second-to-last episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Adrienne anonymously referenced a member of her “camp.” Now I can’t stop alluding to or thinking of my family, friends, and verifiable allies as a camp of my own.

A handful of campers and I have been recreationally discussing the concept of karma - how it rears its head, substantively and procedurally. Like most Libras, I stand for balance and justice, and am not ashamed of my reputation for flaring up at the sight, sound, or scent of patent unfairness. So my confidence in karma, even without knowing when it will strike, consoles me.

Inexplicably bad things happen to good people all the time. I used to believe that bad things only happened to the innocent and misfortune never met up with the mean-spirited or exceptionally thoughtless ones – until I repeatedly witnessed how the process of evening out plays out over time. Karmic justice is a work of fine art.

Via our actions and inactions (big or small, deliberate or ignorant), we steer a lot of our personal destiny. Some of the good things I’ve done have come back to bless me and some of my not-ideal behavior has come back to bite me. When someone who has a notorious history of unreliability complains, shell-shocked, about a frustratingly undependable new addition to her camp, I’ll listen and won’t say much but that doesn’t mean I don’t realize what’s going on. And when I find out that somebody has underhandedly screwed over a person who didn’t deserve it, I can only be tranquilized by playing Kanye’s “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags” song a few times and reminding myself that the larger story is still unfolding.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Carnage in Aisle 4

After sweeping up a floor full of freshly broken glass in my apartment the other night, I knew hardship was still on the horizon. I just couldn’t predict exactly when or how.

I pricked a finger on a microscopic shard of that glass while cleaning my kitchen yesterday. A bloodbath ensued and my least favorite towel was sacrificed for the cause, serving as a tourniquet until I could control the gushing gash with a band-aid.

When I took off a glove to pay for some housewares later in the day, the band-aid peeled off with it. As I reviewed the receipt on my way out, the piece of white paper began to turn red. Tourniquet #2.

I went into the drugstore across the street for more band-aids. A multi-page sale flyer was folded up on a shelf in the First Aid aisle. Tourniquet #3.

Although I can make a scene while waiting for a train that’s running 10 minutes behind schedule, when there’s a legitimately panic-worthy, but concealable, emergency/budding scandal on my hands (pun not originally intended), nobody else would be able to tell that something’s wrong.

I used all of my good hand, and one finger of my bad hand, to open a box of band-aids and replace the flyer with one of them – a delicate balancing act, designed to avoid getting anything on store property and having to face a “you bleed on it, you buy it” policy - before lining up to check out.

This whole time, the store’s pharmacy was closed. At 5:30 p.m. In the City That Seems to Get More Sleep Than I Do.

Monday, February 11, 2013

When to Put a Ring in It

The day I finally become self-employed, my first order of business will be to take a trolley to the jeweler’s store and get a nose ring. I spent most of yesterday in the neighborhood where I tentatively plan to have the procedure done.

This is something I should have gotten out of my system during my late teens/early twenties/first major drifting period, but I had too many preppy, conventional influences buzzing in my ear at each of those stages. After a member of my circle spontaneously got an eyebrow ring when we were in college, she called her dad to give him a partial update. He flipped out.
The Proud and the Pierced: “It’s not like I have any interviews coming up.”
Her dad: “Every day you go to class, it’s an interview!!”
My own parents’ reaction would have been scarier. It’s unsettling to think about, even in hypothetical retrospect.
I have a lot riding on the next 7 to 12 months, and there’s already enough that screams “non-conformist/potential troublemaker” within 10 minutes of an in-person conversation with me. A face piercing would take the ticket overboard.
A prep I hadn’t seen since college sported a stunning, glinting stud in her nose at a party a few years ago – that wasn’t there when we still fell into the traditional coming-of-age bracket. And she works in an industry that’s more conservative than mine. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reservations and Security

I’ve wanted to take an uber-stimulating international vacation by myself this winter to check out a whole new scene, moving at my own tempo, with no one slowing me down or speeding me up. The dream began to disintegrate within a few weeks of its conception, as I resented the airfares associated with the first five or six cities that I came up with - and still do.

Last weekend, a vision of Istanbul popped into my head and wouldn’t pop off. I saw myself getting jacked up on strong Turkish coffee before strolling through a souk to bargain for spices, bracelets, and rugs. I love a souk state of mind, and the prices of the Istanbul flights seemed too reasonable to be true. The only thing keeping me from pulling out my debit card and snapping one up was the uncertainty about traveling alone in that part of the globe. I have a female friend who’s been to this city on business and for pleasure. She considers it safe enough, but I decided not to go.

The very next day, one of the first news bulletins I read reported on a 33-year-old New York-based woman who was vacationing solo in Turkey and had gone missing. Her husband and brother were flying to Istanbul to help with the search efforts. A couple of days ago, she was found dead, near some ancient ruins, and another vision planted itself in my head – the day an unescorted woman can even semi-carefreely take advantage of a cheap flight that’s headed to any spot on any map won’t dawn in my lifetime.