I’m Ready for My Close Up, Mr. El Paso

It’s all about the lighting.

Good lighting can make even the intolerable desirable. Take my lunch, for instance. Leftover burrito* with carrots and chips- monochromatic, tepid and mushy, should be disgusting. But scroll below** to see what two-o’clock afternoon sun in the northern hemisphere can do. See how the salsa glistens? Delicious, right? Can’t wait to dig in.

Yes, I’m going to parallel this to dating. It’s what I do.

Take that mediocre guy from accounting. As he walks down the alley of cubicles and turns the corner toward reception, you see him eclipse the morning sun as it streams through the window. In his silhouette, you see no pocket protector, no black smear where the pocket protector failed. You don’t see the worn, shiny ass of his Dockers, nor the bit of jelly on the back of his left hand. No, what you see is the dark shape of a man, sun glistening around his tall, narrow form, and your mind wanders…

Then there is that lackluster friend of your sister’s. And here he is, at the family picnic once again, another valiant effort by your sister to orchestrate a Certs encounter between the two of you. And this time, it might just work. The sun is setting, the men are wrapping up their game of touch football, and as your man draws back his arm in what will surely be another botched pass, the setting sun breaks through the clouds, and he is haloed by brilliant rays of gold, azure, and ruby red. Your mind wanders…

And, let’s jump in the time machine for a bit, back to those days of our youth. Was it not lighting, pure and simple, that drove us to make our decisions vis a vis romance? Prom, with its strobe light flashing; roller rink and its laser show; the dusky bar illuminated by nothing more than the neon glow of the Budweiser and Jose Curevo signs. Your mind wanders more than it already was wandering, what with the beer and tequila and all. Yes, it was lighting that made the good look better and the better look great. Never underestimate the lighting.

‘* Yes, I eat leftover burritos every Saturday. I have dinner at Tacqueria Pablano in Arlington every Thursday night, and leftovers are pre-planned frugality.

‘**I put the pictures at the bottom so you can read the good stuff without having to scroll down down down past dozens of glamor shots of food before you get to anything interesting. I hate when they do that.

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but she has a great personality and she makes her own clothes

We can’t all be pretty. Some of us have to count on our abilities and that something ‘inner’ to draw people to us. You know, those qualities your great aunt would be sure to point out as she introduces you to the most handsome man at your cousin’s wake.

If they’ve told you beauty is fleeting, then you are not one of the beautiful ones. They’re right though, a quick search on Facebook reveals that the beauty of the high school quarterbacks and prom queens has, indeed, fleeted.

It turns out that all those dreadful clichés about “pretty being as pretty does” are right. Take last night’s meal, for example. Not much to look at, but if my great aunt described it, you’d invite yourself right over for dinner and volunteer to do the dishes.

Baked salmon with garlic, steamed broccoli with orange zest and pomegranate molasses, fresh gnocchi dripping in butter.  A salad of cool, crisp romaine and plump blackberries sprinkled with piquant blue cheese… Tasty, right?  And so very good for you. But, just like at your first boy/girl party in grade school, when that bottle spun and landed on Steve Keller and his acne-riddled nose, you’ll need to close your eyes before you go for it.

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Breakfast: I Know Who You Are

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you are what you eat, then I know everything I need to know about you by what you had for breakfast.  Now, you might find this offensive if, for example, you had a donut and mocha something gwapachino this morning. Or if your typical breakfast involves gnawing on a Power Bar as you sit in traffic.  Please know that I don’t judge. I just observe. And sometimes shake my head and sigh. But that’s not you, it’s me.

Here’s an example of what can be learned from someone’s breakfast. I’ll use myself. Every morning for the last 15 years (excepting the few days I traveled or had waffles) I have eaten the same thing for breakfast: spinach salad with diced apple, almonds, and a lemon yogurt dressing.  I sprinkle on some raw oats so it looks like breakfast, and then I eat it with a spoon so it doesn’t look like salad.

What this says about me:

  1. I cling to routine. I need safety and security
  2. I am health conscious
  3. I am visual: I like color, texture, shape
  4. I am a little off-base
  5. I care way too much about what people think of me

See?  Accurate self appraisal brought on by examination of breakfast.  Try it, Mikey. Try it, you’ll like it.

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stories are everywhere

for example, my life today:

We had a blizzard.  Mid-storm my neighbor shoveled his front walk. He left his shovel outside overnight and it was buried by morning, so he borrowed my shovel and dug out not only his walk but mine, too.  There’s a story in there.

My cat might be bulimic. She ate kibble and puked and then ate more kibble and puked again three times within 25 minutes this morning. A few more adjectives and that story is good to go.

I decided to paint my nails Carolina blue for the Super Bowl, although I  have no allegiance to either team – light blue nail polish was all I had in the closet. But now I see that the color is gray, not blue, so I’m worried what that says about me as a football fan and what my friends will think. Further, the minute I got wet polish on all ten of my nails I had to pee like a fiend. That story writes itself.

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snow ponder

Sometimes I ask myself, why am I so fearful? And of all the things to be afraid of, why these things? My three top fears are: snakes, physical pain, and something bad happening to my cat. Actually, those are pretty reasonable things. I found a fourth fear yesterday: I have a paralyzing fear of the utilities going out. This awareness was brought on by the blizzard, the one that hit the East Coast yesterday, the fodder of countless Facebook posts and the joy of terror-mongering meteorologists worldwide.

It seemed like just another snow storm, until my friend brought up the likelihood of the power going out. I hadn’t even thought of that. A quick check with the National Weather Service confirmed – there would be at least two feet of snow and winds gusting to 65 – they said there was a “high probability of whiteouts and blackouts.” White and black and out. That’s not good.

My friend also mentioned that the last time the power went out, it was out for three days. She told me that her family had already procured provisions including food, water, and a back up generator, to last a week. I have one flashlight, one blanket, one bottle of water I found in the backseat of my car, and a meager amount of cheese. My extremities were going to freeze, slowly, painfully dropping off one by one. My cat would suffer a similar fate. Short of snakes, this snowstorm threatened to be my own personal hell.

So, at 2am the morning of the blizzard, I started to chant. I’m hesitant to say ‘pray’ for fear of losing half my readers who’ll think I’m one of those praying-types. Somehow ‘chant’ seems better – y’all might think I’m weird, but it will be in a bohemian, cool kind of way.  So, this chant.  It followed the tune of the kindergarten sing-song, “Polly Put the Kettle On,” and went like this:  “Please God, keep the utilities on, please God keep the utilities on, please God keep the utilities on, that would be so nice.”

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I’m sitting here in the warm draft of indoor gas heat, sipping hot tea from an electric kettle, the only thing that hurts is my back from shoveling snow, and my cat is sleeping contentedly on the desk beside me. In other words, they chant/prayer held it’s own. Now, if whatever animal it is that has taken up a desperate haven in my attic is not a snake, all will be well.

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nuts on the brain

squirrel 2I might be a little off since today is the first day I’ve been off the couch/out of bed since Thursday at noon (I had a cold – might have been the plague), but it sounds like there is definitely a squirrel in the attic over my studio.  Not on the roof, no, this is definitely right over my head on the other side of the particle board and plaster they call a ceiling. Now, I know that with the windchill it is 12 degrees outside, and I appreciate that the attic here might be warmer than a hole in a tree, but I am certain that if that squirrel comes crashing down or worse, sets up a condo-type situation that lasts into spring, that the property management company will deem it my fault.

But maybe I’m making too much of it.

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don’t take your inventory when you’re sick

Okay, when it’s Saturday night and  you’ve been either on the couch under the blankets or in bed under the blankets since Thursday morning, it’s no time to take inventory of your life. It is no time to take stock of your achievements, assess your contribution to mankind, or dwell on the fact that none of your friends have stopped by or called or texted to see how you’re doing even though you’ve posted on Facebook like 37 times that you’re dying.

Best not to think such deep thoughts.  If you have deep thoughts to think, ponder the sick on couchmarketability of a bucket one could hang from the ears that would result in a convenient catch-all for the effluence of the rhinovirus afflicted.  Or, if you’re the creative type, indulge in some Kleenex origami.

 

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