29
Oct 04

Nitpicky

I’ve had a weirdly tight and itchy week, as if I’ve been wearing an ill-fitting 100% acrylic sweater. I seem to be going through a bout of the Vaguely Dissatisfied Blues, where nothing’s wrong, really, but nothing’s completely right either.

This week there’s been the constant low-level worrying about the elections, of course, and with it the annoyance that trying to volunteer to work the polls have brought. All week I kept calling the Democrats and the nice folks at MoveOn and kept having these weird conversations where the coordinator didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know what was going on and could I attend a rally at 10:30 in the morning on the Saturday after I was going to dance as a zombie (answer: no) and when was I supposed to show up for some unidentified voting-related activity? No one knew. I finally just volunteered to be a poll worker on Tuesday so that’s taken care of. I think. Will I have to use my conflict mediation skills? Should I bring a book or should I remain vigilant in the pursuit of the miscarriage of justice? I do not know.

Oh, and then! Wednesday morning! I lost my hat! My lovely pink-and-orange hat that I had just finished after being forced to rip out the whole thing and start again. I left it on the bus by mistake on the way to work. I called Metro lost and found and they don’t have it. My hat, which matched my scarf so perfectly, is gone. I’m going to the yarn store tomorrow to see if I can get some more skeins of the same yarn to knit it again but frankly I am getting tired of knitting the same hat over and over, you know?

And then there was the bellydance class I took that evening. Lately I’ve been wanting to dance more often, reasoning that I’ll never get any better dancing just one hour a week. I’ve been doing that for something like five years now and I still suck at snake arms, you know? So I thought I’d try out another tribal-style class in the area, taught by a woman I’ve seen perform several times and whom I admire very much. I was going to try to take her intermediate class because the day was convenient for me and I figured I’ve been in the Beginner II class for so long that Intermediate wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Over the summer I took a class that was mixed Beginner II and Intermediate and I think I did all right. So I was nervous going into the class but I thought I’d manage to hold my own.

Ha! No. No, no. This is a class where the dancers wear knee pads underneath their pantaloons and skirts because they do these crazy exercises when they warm up that involve sliding your knees apart on the floor and then lifting yourself up without using your arms. I was out of my league even during the warm-up. When we actually started dancing I realized right away that even though it’s the same type of bellydance, tribal, some of the moves and cues are quite different because the teacher is from a different school than my usual teacher is. (For those of who are still reading and who care about different schools of American Tribal Style bellydance, I didn’t know this either until this week). You think a basic Egyptian is a basic Egyptian? That’s where you’re wrong. You think you know the arms for a Tunisian shimmy because you just did that in class the other day? No! You are wrong. When it came to the end of the class and we were dancing in formation and it was my turn to lead the women following me were probably as perplexed as I’d been the entire class. It was frustrating. I still like this other teacher and think she’s a beautiful dancer but about halfway through the class I started to feel like I wanted to leave because I couldn’t take constantly messing up the cues. I might try one of the Beginner II classes with this teacher because she does give a good workout but I’m pretty much right where I started at this point, taking one class a week, spinning in circles. Of course, when I do spin in circles I feel confident that I can start on the three for a quarter turn and not on the one for a half turn, so that’s comforting.

So that was Wednesday night. Oh, and before I went to class I got my hair cut by Zan my hair lady, who, post-breakup, has been taking quite an interest in my affairs, like a good hair lady should. Pre-breakup she mostly liked to tell me about her life and get me to provide her with free unconditional regard and active listening, and there was one point where I was considering leaving Zan for a woman who could meet my needs in a more satisfactory manner. I’d never had a regular hair lady before and was unsure about how to deal with all this, but fortunately I went through a life-changing relationship trauma and Zan stepped right into the breach, even offering me a free eyebrow wax at one point. On Wednesday she asked if I was dating. “No,” I told her, rolling my eyes. What is this “dating” of which you speak? “Well,” said Zan. “I have someone I think you should hook up with. He’s a doctor.” For a moment there as she was doing the finish work on my ill-defined layers I wondered if I had, in fact, stepped into a chick lit novel. I don’t know, is this normal? For your hair lady to want to hook you up?

So after Zan and after the strange foreign bellydance class that made me confused and very sore, when I got into bed that night and was falling asleep I thought the electricity went off, you know, because suddenly there was no heat coming from the heater or light coming from the light bulb. I stupidly didn’t get up to investigate, trusting in my little non-responsibility-taking heart that somehow one of the other roommates would take care of it by morning since they were still awake. In the morning when I leapt from my bed with a glad cry, ready to take on the challenges of a new day, I was stymied by the fact that none of the lights would turn on. I sort of groped around for some clothes and managed to dress myself appropriately for work and emailed my landlord when I got to work. My landlord hates me, by the way. A couple of months ago my toilet became, uh, disastrously clogged, and when I called to ask her if we could get a plumber in there she sighed “Oh, well, it would have to be during a long weekend. You know, the former tenant never clogged that toilet.” And what, exactly, does one say to a statement like that? “Sorry, lady, I must generate much more tonnage that the previous tenant!” Why on earth would you ever say something like that to someone who was paying you money to live in your house? I have no idea. Since she didn’t reply to my email all day, so when I got home with about ten minutes to spare to get to zombie rehearsal after a) having to see a late patient at work, b having to wait for the bus for half an hour due to a terrible accident on the Montlake bridge c) having the slowest bus ride home ever in the world. I rushed in, all in a tizzy, wanting to change out of my business casual into something a little more dance-appropriate, and of course I discovered that the electricity in the rest of the house was fine, but the lights were still off in my room. I groped around on the floor and managed to locate my red suede sneakers and a pair of jeans with the belt still in them and grabbed a couple of granola bars for dinner and shot out the door. A little bit of my old Miami driving persona came through as I barreled through the quiet streets of Ravenna, View Ridge, and Sand Point to make it to rehearsal on time, as I screamed “COME ON MOOOOOOOOOVE IT!” several times at the law-abiding citizens of Seattle, who clearly did not know that I needed to be a punctual zombie because I was still a little unclear on when we did the crazy legs and when we did the monster walk. Monster walk comes right after the snapping, by the way.

Now, I know I probably shouldn’t expect a sort of fly-by-night alternative circus that recruits zombies from the local alternative weekly to be terribly organized the night before a show. But I began to get a little concerned when it became apparent that we wouldn’t be rehearsing at all in the space in which the performance will actually take place. And that we only rehearsed with the band for about a half hour. And that there’s no set time for showing up for the piece. We come in from the audience and apparently we’re just supposed to lurch up onto the stage (Is there a stage? Who knows?) and snap right into it from there. It’s hard for me not to get snippy about things like this, not to internally huff and puff and want to say things like “A little professionalism around here, people!” I am officially Letting It Go and concentrating on getting a better-fitting size of skirt at Target this evening and devising some sort of wig cap for my orange wig that a girl at work so kindly lent me. But still. Maybe rehearsing in the actual space would be a good thing! I’m just saying!

When I got home from zombie rehearsal I was all fired up and ready to scream and throw a fit about my lights and my landlord and how no one but me can do anything right, but fortunately for everyone, C. informed me that the landlord had emailed and told her what was going on and C fixed it by flipping a switch in the fuse box. And you know what the landlord said? “This was never a problem with the prior tenant. You must have had too many things plugged in.” Hmm. She may have had a point there. I mean, not only do I have the temerity to evacuate my seemingly endlessly high-capacity bowels, but I also have the cheek to plug in a clock radio, a compact fluorescent beside lamp, and a smaller-than-a-breadbox space heater. At the same time. But whatever, I enjoyed taking a shower with the lights on and tried to get over myself some more. Sometimes, my people, it is so hard to get over myself and my nitpicky issues. Sometimes I need a step stool, rope ladder, and a trampoline to get over myself.

So! To review, this week has brought me a cold head, sore muscles, and the derision of my landlord. More positively, it’s brought me to a real way I can participate in the elections on Tuesday as well as a better understanding of why, when you’re doing sprinkler leg at the very end of the song you have to hold a beat and then look over your shoulder on the seven and not on the eight. I guess I’m just about breaking even, then, right?