jeudi, août 19, 2004

Got a Devil's Haircut in My Mind

I sat in that chair and flipped him off repeatedly underneath the huge black cape I wore to keep the itchy snips off my skin and clothes. It was my fault anyway. I’d called at the last minute for cut and color only to find out that my girl was gone. The 4th one to leave the place in less than a year. I’ve managed enough businesses to know that the problem wasn’t likely to be found in the employees.

And so I sat in his chair. Dick. The salon owner himself, pinch hitting at the last moment, his brand of gossip and good times pouring over me. I felt filthy. “And you know,” his voice dropped conspiratorially, “she didn’t bother to tell me she was pregnant when I hired her.” My mirrored eyes shot open and I considered letting him in on current legal ramifications for biz owners who do not hire or who limit the employment of women just because they are expecting. I kept it to myself, though. Poor bastard was burning his bridges just fine without me. “I’m not saying that I necessarily wouldn’t have hired her, but…,” he stopped, comb in hand, and found the right words written on the ceiling. “I probably would have come to a different arrangement. Fewer hours. Something like that. I really didn’t get my money’s worth with her.” Misunderstanding my expression, he added, “You know she wasn’t even married!

My little cutie pie stylist had been with her soccer playing boyfriend since they both began high school. And they were good together. So when they accidentally got pregnant back in January, they decided they would just roll with it. They were thrilled, actually. She was only 19, and having finished up at the Aveda Institute a short while before, she was firmly ensconced in her chosen profession. Besides, her mom had her when she was the same age. Also, she told me, all of her friends already had babies. That last blew my mind, but, you know, different strokes, and etc. She felt like it really was practically past time to get this show on the road. She was sooo happy and it’s easy to be happy for someone who’s happy, you know?

And if she became a little spacey as the trimesters passed, I didn’t hassle her. Being a mom is tough work during every part of the job, in my opinion. So, big smiles, big tips, and lots of compliments. My hair looked progressively dowdier as every month went by, but what the hell. It wasn’t the first time I’d become loyal to someone who was better at being a human being than they were at doing their job. No big deal. I liked the way my priorities were set, even if my hair looked like ass.

So, when he'd finished, after drowning me in the sludge of his opinions on children, sex, his own youth, people in the community that he didn’t like, employees who’d left that he didn’t like, as well as his thoughts on the physical abuse that he felt his spoiled niece should definitely undergo, I found myself disgusted.

I looked damned good. And, of course, I'm going back.

mercredi, août 18, 2004

i surrender all, pt. 3

I graduated high school when I was sixteen. I started the year as a junior and ended up as something else. This is what my high school diploma says:
Dayspring Academy

To all to whom these presents shall come, Greetings
(my full name is printed here)
having satisfactorily completed the required Course of Study prescribed by
Morning Glory Center for Learning Enrichment and Therapy, Inc.
of the State of Indiana for graduation
is therefore awarded this


and is entitled to all honors, rights, and privileges appertaining.
In witness whereof, this diploma is issued under the authority of the
Board of Directors and upon recommendation of the Administration at Muncie, Indiana
and is presented at Ball State University this day, May 24, 1989.

Michael J. Pierce Administrator of Education
Michael H. Parker President, Board of Directors

My high school doesn’t exist anymore. And what’s more, as a “satellite student”, I never attended it for even one day. And this fact alone makes me one incredibly fucking lucky girl. You wouldn’t believe the trouble represented by this damn diploma.

I try to look at it with a stranger’s eyes and play a silly game with it: if I could excise a word or two from its language, would that somehow change the outcome of the story? For example, to start with the light stuff, “Morning Glory Center” irritates me. It’s cheesy. ‘Stop it!’ I sternly tell the writer. ‘Have some damn dignity.” Then I weigh “Learning Enrichment” against “Therapy,” or maybe that should be “Therapy, Inc.” Both sound dumber than a box of hair, but if I could rid the world of one, could I make it a better place for people I’m crazy about?

I’d guess “Learning Enrichment” is probably the lesser of two evils- people kicked ass academically at this place. That’s a good thing. They still walk around with an almost demonic confidence based on their experiences breaking all the rules of what could be achieved in a school setting. “Therapy” or “Therapy, Inc.”, though. Sheesh. I’d cross that out. The devil’s in that detail. Where’s my red pen?

mardi, août 17, 2004

Finally Found A Friend

You know how you meet people who just make you happy? People, it turns out, you also have a knack for making happy? This guy,Jaeson, is one of those. He is living proof that working for McKinsey & Company will kill your sense of humor. Once while watching the dancing bears (dancing bares, ahem, dancing girls) beside me during a Cleveland Cavs halftime, he sang this song: "There's something in my pants, that makes me want to dance." And I do think that just about sums it up.

I'd thought I'd lost track of him for good until yesterday, when another good friend (to be revealed later) sent me his current info. He's living in Guadalajara where he runs his bobbleheaded business. This man is my hero. I see his scruffy face and want to make sweet, sweet happy. I do, after all, have a knack for it.

samedi, août 14, 2004

Tiny Voices, pt. 1

It was all her idea- I think. Usually her music, definitely her ideas on how we should stand, how we should dress. Her irritation when our practices wandered all over the map. We'd completely missed the intrinsic joy- the whole damn point of making music in the first place- by the time we were teenagers. We never got past a certain point as a group. Some lovely things happened when we wandered off by ourselves, though.

The first time I carried the whole thing myself, I bombed in a big way. In front of a tired, midday chapel service crowd at my tiny, incestuous little K-12 parochial school in Oilton, OK, I flopped with gusto. My too many years of performance kept me upright even while the sacred cow of a song I'd chosen was brutally slain in front of about 100 or so pairs of bored, provincial eyes. Good times.

I got back on the horse, though, the very next week. Probably sang the very same song, which is kind of sad, but still. I'd much improved the second time around and by the end of the year, I owned something. In fact I'd done so damn well for myself, that I'd gotten noticed by somebody and a while later was asked to join a Contemporary Christian Cockamamy Something Or Other Group. And in their way, they were a big damn deal- one of the top four Cont. Christ. acts in the country at the time. As there have only ever been two (count 'em) Cont. Christ. Artistes I've ever cared for, I turned them down. I have never regretted that. Even if I could have been a contender where pious pablum was concerned. I'm with Chez J on the whole "rather have nothing than settle for less." Yep, I've got my standards. And you can figure out the rest.

jeudi, août 05, 2004


"Nothing," she concluded, "is more beautiful than a woman with a meek and submissive spirit."

I blinked. And thought, "Yeah, right."

lundi, août 02, 2004

Keep a Straight Face, pt. 1

Other students insisted that all three of them had eating disorders. They ran along the Arno River religiously every evening right before dark. They did seem to subsist on bottled water and bulk candy. And McDonald's ice cream cones. I didn't know if this really proved they were ill or if it simply indicated that they were a little nutritionally stupid. Either way, not my business. The semester already had enough problems.

What I do remember is that they had the weirdest, cutest laughs. And the little blond one would show up sleep deprived, dressed in a white skull cap with a little rainbow logo on it and a filthy hoodie. She'd have fixative and Pantone ink all over her hands on the mornings we had an assignment due. Honey, you look homeless! She'd snort and wouldn't stop her hysterical laughter for the next 45 minutes. It was after one of these distracted, slap happy deadline and critique sessions that I walked with them (the alleged eating disorder victims) to McDonald's for their favorite fix.

And I have to admit it- a taste of home is very comforting, indeed. Especially when you're in culture shock and under tremendous pressure to be creative while carrying a workload comparable to that of architecture or med school students. Even if that taste is the watery, sweet, non-dairy flavor of McD's "ice cream" in a cake cone. So, for five minutes or so, we stood by a counter alongside a front window and ate those cones in cozy silence. It's gonna be okay. You can have fries to go, if you need more.

And then I turned and looked outside. Mistake. Hey, self. Quick memo to me: never again look outside while licking an ice cream cone in Italy. When we were finished, so was he. Every single damn time we went. Like clockwork. It took the shine off the apple, lemme tell you.

i surrender all, pt. 1

clearing the air

we eat our elders
pat each others' backs
there, there, now that's a good burp!
and fall into sleep
and damned

we wake and know
that if we haven't yet
we soon will have to shit

much as they did

maybe ours won't stink!

i'm not sure it's a valid hope, butt
i know that when i remember
the past
my insides hurt
and i have to go