mardi, septembre 14, 2004

Everything but the Girl

So, an 8 hour drive later, I am safely perched right on the funky line between Texas and Arkansas, in a town appropriately named Texarkana. (The 'ph' is silent.) My room has a fridge, an internet connection and K_sra's rebel dog.

Despite the fine company, I am tired and the cable news is freaking me out. Talking some smack about a category 3 hurricane that hit Nawlins in the mid-60's and left the entire downtown area under 7 feet of water for a few weeks. Ivan is a category four, people. We're talking destroyed property, potential loss of life, serious flooding, and contaminated water that may take a looooong time to clean up. I don't know when I will be able to go home. I don't know what will be there when I do.

And that was the trippy thing this morning. I had to look around at all my favorite stuff and separate the wheat from the chaff. The questions that needed to be answered, for me anyway, were these: What would I be okay with losing? And what loss would fill me with a tearing regret for the rest of my life?

And I know you're probably saying to me quietly inside your head, "It's just stuff, girl. People are the important thing." And if you're saying it, you're right. Of course, you're right. But if anything happens to my art and design books, art supplies, computer, all of my yummy illustrator and photoshop and pattern design software I will really feel that loss. And my dressmaking form. Damn it to crap, I do not want to have to do without her.

I wanted to be a fashion designer from the time I was thirteen. I think it was the fabrics that did me in, back in the '80's. The fabrics and the piled on jewelry, crude makeup (by today's standards), and just general over-the-top fun I found in fashion magazines. You know, back in the days of "body conscious" knits and huge, swimming, Japanese inspired clothes that didn't know what a human body looked like and never wanted to find out. The days of Amazon super models- with muscle tone and the first really famous fake breasts. (I am distracted momentarily by this thought- why is it that some parents buy fake breasts for their teenage daughters nowadays? C'est quoi le fuck?! Back to milder musings...) Whatever did it for me, I do know that my Inner Drag Queen woke up, hollered, "Honey, I'm home!", and gave me a never ending kiss. I haven't been right since. Even during the times in my life when, because I have been unhappy and have not been actively doing something about it, I have retreated into little brown sparrow mode. (Just on my way out that door, if you wondered.) Love being human. Hate to blend in.

Anyway, I ordered my dress form (with its clever collapsible shoulders) from a company in Chicago that has been making them forever and a day. This was years before I found my voice and insisted on my calling and finally fucking well went to design school. During years of hi-fi love where fashion was concerned. Years of strange experiments (the best kind) and much ruined fabric. (I am not sorry.) Years and years of grabbing like a pervert at material in department stores and boutiques and high end fabric stores. Years of scribbling words and pictures about this love of mine. This love that covers psychology and commerce and history and society and culture and art and fear and desire as well as the body of every single person reading this right now. (Most of the time.)

And when I'd finally sent in the measurements (which were a bitch to take because I still didn't know all the things you need to know to take accurate measurements correctly, easily) some guy called me from the factory and urged me to rethink the shoulders. I had, he explained, obviously made a mistake. I was confused. He sorted me out. Sort of. "According to these measurements," he said patiently, "you have a petite torso and the shoulders of a very obese woman." Oh. Right. I see. By the time I'd finished explaining to him that those were my shoulders (no matter what the standard measurement charts might say) and that there was nothing mistaken or obese about it, he was ready to take my word- and my money- for it.

And she's there in my house, all alone, waiting for Ivan to show up. Her white fabric is streaked with grime from many movers' hands. (It's my fault for forgetting to cover her up during some of these moves I've made. White just calls out for dirt, doesn't it?) And I can feel right now while I'm writing this what it's like to put my arms around her petite torso and dance with her. Even though she can't really dance. Not on that heavy metal base. But to lean her and spin her in place...

Tell me I'm silly. I am not ready to let her go.