Tuesday, February 18, 2014

amazing women (mimi and leona that is)

I am tap-tap-tapping my foot sitting in a chair at the local hair-cutting place. It's a walk-in kind of business and the two operators are busy clipping away and I have read three PEOPLE magazines and still it is not my turn. The one male customer has little hair to speak of, mostly a five o'clock shadow covering an eighth of his scalp, but still he finds places that need further trimming. And the elderly woman in the other chair is holding a hand mirror the whole time and directing where to cut and how much and we're talking fractions of an inch.

Finally, I am called forth. I like this little salon on the poor side of the tracks. Gang members and prostitutes come here for cutting and waxing, I'm not kidding and it is vastly superior in entertainment value than the CostCutters at Walmart. Mimi will be my cutter for the day, an enormous black woman in spandex tights and knee-high boots and I am glad. She is an artist and I love watching her scissors flip and twirl with each slashing movement, somewhat like Old West cowboys spinning their pistols on their fingers.

She grabs my hair and I feel myself being lifted out of the chair, small price to pay for the masterpiece I will soon own. Her immense bosom and belly merge into a global form and I am braced against it, and I feel warm and maternally protected. Too soon the haircut is complete and I must return to the real world and its ever waging war.

The day before I encountered my aunt Leona, 90's something, parked in front of my father's townhouse and she was delivering some kind of candy bar, my mother died years ago and she wants to take care of him. "I need to get a haircut," I'm telling her.
"Well," she says, all 4"8" of her, "you've come to the right place." She is wearing black tights and knee-high boots (did I not get the memo?) plus a zebra-striped scarf with matching hat and little else. She pulls out a shaver from the back of her car and it's caked with fuzzy white and black hair. "I'm cutting Joe and Helen and Evelyn and Rita's hair! (aunts and uncles) You just set it on #4 and let her rip!"
aunt Leona and some old guy
Good Lord. That's okay, my operator is a personal friend, I wanna help put her kids through college, I stammer. And that seemed to work.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

don't read while eating

I have never had good skin. I inherited this condition from generations of sweaty pimply Germans. One dermatololgist told me my body was a textbook for skin disorders, I've had everything. I'm a receptacle for pus. I'm an ongoing factory spewing out old dead white cells, my pores ooze the stuff all the time.

Not to spoil your appetite, but this is my world and my shower cubicle is packed with green tea stringents, oil-erasing and grease- eradicating soaps, alcohol-based bars promising to dry up and dry out.  I live to exfoliate but it never did a damn bit of good.

But this is something brand new I find sprouting out of my face. The thing is red, hard and spreading and it's taking on a life of its own, I swear I hear it whispering to me late at night, o-o-oh my pet, my precious. It reminds me of early John Lennon drawings, a little head with little legs, an entity unto itself, my lost fetal twin, a bit of bone and tooth and hair threatening to take over my face.
I lay on the couch, tossing and feverish, dreaming about old bad boyfriends and good drugs and I see my husband's worried face above me, "why do you keep checking on me?" I scream, "I'm all right, leave me alone!" I'm not, but I won't know that until later.

Damn, it's MRSA, that scary antibiotic-resistant monster bug. You have a MRSA furuncle, says Megan, the physician's assistant, referring to the growth on my cheek pretty much the size of a fried egg.  A furry uncle, yes I have several of those and this is the best name they could come up with?  Oh, and by the way Megan, why was my case not deemed important enough to see a real doctor?  Granted, it's not skin cancer but it's ugly enough to make my husband back away from me, his hand over his mouth, trying not to breathe the same air. The thing is weeping like an under-milked cow.

 End result is this, I get some pretty serious antibiotics and a week off work and a good excuse to haunt dark, lowly illuminated bars. Nobody must see the mess that is me.