Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dates We Save

I can think of only one time in my adult life when I’ve wanted to physically assault another person. It was immediately before a bridesmaid function. The bride berated her doting mother for being too talkative with the vendor in charge of the rehearsal-dinner cake. She went on and on, getting louder and louder, and we were in tight quarters. The mother chucklingly blew the tantrum off. My mother’s 2-year death anniversary was a few weeks away. 

Her 9-year death anniversary came and went last week. I worked late, commuted home, and went to bed at a decent hour. There were no crying fits, there’s no longer a need for anyone to drive me around the Catskills for the day to help cool my jets. Major holidays, including Mother’s Day, also now feel the same as most days do. Earlier this year, I reflected on the anniversary of my late grandmother’s birthday. But I keep forgetting the date of her death. Even though I always remember it, my late mother’s birthday hasn’t affected me as deeply as her deathday used to. Official calendar dates are given more significance than they deserve.

I’ve read about someone who gradually recognized that her late mother comes to her in the form of hummingbirds. Mine often communicates with me via a different winged creature, although she’s never allowed herself to be limited to one mode. While one of my loves (who lost his mom as a teenager) and I recently sat and happily chatted by an outdoor fountain for many minutes, our mothers were there too. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Shout-Out to Those Who Dance Knowing That Everyone’s Watching and Couldn’t Care Less

When I’ve skimmed through fluff interviews of high- or low-profile (female) personalities, one recurring question has tended to be some variation of: “Which aspect of your body are you dying to change?” My own answer would entail making the raised mole that tauntingly sits near the right side of my neck cleanly disappear.

This weekend, I bought what I thought was a dazzling maxi skirt. It turned out to be a dazzling maxi dress. A strapless one. No matter how hot it gets, I won’t wear a strapless top without a cardigan cover-up in public because of this mole. Since it’s in no danger of becoming cancerous, a dermatologist once conveyed, the removal would be considered a cosmetic procedure, which isn’t supported by insurance. A risky cosmetic procedure on account of this mole’s location. I’d likely get a scar in its place which could be itchy and more unsightly than the original nuisance itself.

There’s no chance of my dropping a dime for a new scar. I know how to get nasty permanent scars for free.

I have regular contact with a young-ish seasoned professional who went for weeks, possibly months, with a missing front tooth. The kind of missing front tooth an elementary-schooler would flash. She carried herself as vibrantly as she always had, quick with the same wide, open-mouthed grin, not minding the gap. If she were hit up with the “Which external part of you do you despise?” query, I have a feeling her response would hover along the lines of, “What do you mean?” Which is how I might reply when I grow up. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mind Over Platter

After not having had the pleasure of seeing him in awhile, I ran into a local shopkeeper outside of a Dunkin’ Donuts earlier this summer. The second-to-last time I saw him was nearly 2 years ago. I hadn’t seen him in awhile then either, and he told me I looked bigger than before, that I must be eating too much. He urged me to take up fasting. (When his shop later went out of business, he worked at the store across the street from it - until that outfit tanked too.)

Yesterday, I texted with a friend about her Ramadan routine. For medical reasons, she’s not fasting this year but her husband (the one who prodded me into creating this blog) sure is and I’m a little scared to call or text him when he’s not eating. Everybody should be scared to call, text, or approach me in any way if I haven’t semi-recently chewed or sipped on something. I’m not the lady at the party who will respond to an antipasti tray set before her at 9 p.m. with a flippant, “Oh good, I haven’t eaten since 10 o’clock this morning.”

I intensely dislike the feeling of being hungry (for food, that is; I can take those other forms of hunger that merely confirm you’re alive and underwhelmed with stagnation), and used to handle anyone undergoing a fast with awe, insisting that I wouldn’t be able to do what they’re doing. Except I probably could, as long as I reduced my physical activity level and really applied myself during the nighttime bingeing opportunities. I’ve lost count of all the things I once said or thought I could or would never do until the time came when there wasn’t much of a choice but to do anything otherwise. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Showered with Complements

One of my besties was in town all weekend. Between the undercover drug bust we passed within the early minutes of our reunion, the insultingly high daytime temperatures, the breezy middle-of-the-night walks home, or his comparing a standing-room-only Staten Island Ferry ride to being on a slave ship, I’m having trouble deciding which moments of the past few days were the most iconic.

He’s not someone who will wake up on work-free mornings, map out the rest of his day, and consult his watch to make sure he stays on schedule with the general plan. The subtle influence he’s gradually had on me is one reason I’ve grown more spontaneous.

My small group of besties, only one of whom currently lives in my metro area, and I are 100 percent alike and 0 percent alike. We’re alike where it matters.When another friend and I were stuck in L.A. traffic last summer, she mentioned that if she were to first meet her childhood best friend today, they probably wouldn’t have much longevity. Same with me and my oldest platonic soulmate, but she and I both put in the work it takes and show the respect it requires for any relationship involving opposite operational tendencies to last.

There’s a well-known quote or concept about how we become like the 5 people we spend the most time with. Sounds like it’s meant to apply to those we spend the most in-person, quantitative time with. Or it could be open to interpretation. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Standing in Line to Make a Return Trek

My Civil War Buff father takes an annual pilgrimage to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Not only does he not invite me or my brother to come with, every time I’ve tried inviting myself I’m rebuffed, occasionally via sophisticated, roundabout tactics. It could have something to do with what happened the first and last time we joined him, when we chose to spend most of the non-mealtime hours in the air-conditioned hotel room watching MTV instead of scaling the hilly landscape with our parents. That was 15 to 20 years ago. We were children.

When my dad called me to check in yesterday, he sounded drowsily at peace, the way he always sounds while there, by the battlefield. I’m encouraging him to apply to the park’s 2014 Summer Ranger Program, partly for the prospect of securing videotaped footage of him in the hat.

The days of my referring to those who travel to the exact same getaway spot every year (no matter the continent or which body of water it faces) as “boring” aren’t necessarily over. It’s just that I’m now honored to have become a member of this class. If the Zen will not come to me (and it won’t), then I must go to the Zen.

There are a couple of locations where I (my father’s daughter) head to for my own annual jaunts, making sure the two mini-treks are adequately spaced apart from one another, to maximize the joy both jaunts will bring me. I get to monitor how these familiar places have changed over time, even though I’m typically the one who has done the most changing with each return visit.