Fret and Fidget

Well, NO, I didn’t get my [Top Secret] finished for my [Top Secret] which means I’ll have to [Top Secret] if I want to make the [Top Secret] deadline. It’s all sooooooo Top Secret, yes. What’s not Top Secret is that I am seriously going crazy here with trying to get these plans in shape and I thought I would be done with this part of the [Top Secret] at the end of February and now it’s March and what will happen with the [Top Secret]? What will HAPPEN?

Oh, and! I’m going to look at some places this weekend…some places where I might want to live…some places that I might want to buy so I can be in debt for the rest of my life instead of just three-quarters of the rest of my life with my student loans. I think I can barely afford a one-bedroom condo. “One bedroom condo” might be the world’s most vaguely disappointing phrase, I think. It’s not up there with “massive brain surgery” or “permanent homelessness,” of course. It’s more along the lines of “recurrent yeast infection” or “shampoo that doesn’t lather well.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy anything at all, and of course a one-bedroom condo is perfectly adequate for my needs, and I’m lucky to even be in any sort of position to even think about buying anything, and BLAH BLIDDY BLOO USUAL DISCLAIMERS but still. Still, when a girl dreams about owning her very own home, normally she does not dream in phrases that include “vinyl floors & storage space in garage, low HOA dues!.” And when I think about the Spanish tile on the floors of my friend Manya’s place, or about the wet bar at the ABL and the crazy spiral staircase, or about the glass doorknobs in Marah’s new place, something in me just sort of shrivels. It’s ridiculous. I’m not going to look at places until Sunday and it’s only Thursday today and I’m sure by then I’m going to be an absolute mess.

But, since here at Ampersand we are not so much about the frustrated ambitions and the unfulfilled dreams and more about the sweetness and light and the painting of octopuses upon ceramic plates, I must mention that my breakup with my former hair lady Zan and my defection to current hair lady Ruth has gone splendidly. Now, when I say “breakup with Zan” I don’t mean I left Zan crying in the cold and the dark and the rain one day. What I really mean is that Zan suddenly left the salon down the street from my house and left me a message on my machine informing me of said move, and I…just never called her. Oh, and of course Housemate J. also got her hair cut by Zan and she even got a postcard from Zan informing her of her new whereabouts and I could have easily got the information but…I just didn’t. I had been, well, not unhappy really, with Zan, but I think it’s safe to say some of the initial magic was gone. I’d go in, apologize for the state of my hair, Zan would ask me what I wanted to do, I’d go “Uh, I don’t know, what do you think?” and she’d go “The usual?” and I’d go “Okay,” and then she’d go “So, are you dating anyone?” and I’d go “No, I never am,” and she’d go “But why?” and I’d go, “I don’t know, you tell me,” and she’d go “Well, let me know if you want to be set up” and I’d go “I’ll think about it” and she’d cut my hair and then do the thing with the diffuser even though I told her I was never going to buy a regular hair dryer, let alone one with a hair dryer, I’d pay some money and go on with my life. We’d settled into a routine, no denying it. Still, you know, Zan was the one who cut all my hair off a couple of years ago, and I will always have a place in my heart for her. Going in to see Ruth was very exciting because of course I know her from bellydance and I was a little unsure about how it would go, knowing someone from bellydance and then having them cut your hair. I walked in and Ruth gave me a hug and we sat down and had a long conversation about my hair and Ruth deemed it appropriate to cut a little more off in back and also do some razor finish work but keep the movement in front and then we started talking about when we first met several years ago in a bellydance class (when I had the long hippie hair) and THEN she said, and I can hardly type this without blushing, she said “I had such a crush on you! I thought you were so mysterious!” And I went “Hee!” and she went “Hee hee!” and then she did this scalp massage thing with special oil on my head and my eyes rolled far up into my head and I thumped my tail on the floor and I reached into my pocket and pulled out a ring and asked Ruth if she’d promise to make me the happiest woman alive by becoming my hair lady forever and ever, amen. Monday when I went to bellydance class she was there and she immediately came over and checked out my hair and pulled it around a little and then stepped back and smiled, satisfied with her work. I love you, Ruth. Never leave me.

And speaking of bellydance, I am taking two classes a week now on Monday nights (Ruth comes to one of them! Hi Ruth!) instead of just the one, and the second one is all about solo work, as well as all about kicking my ass in a weird existential way. You see, in tribal bellydance we dance together and we cue one another to look as though we are choreographed even though we are improvising. So trying to figure out a solo routine when all I want to do is follow the leader and do everything in sets of four starting on my right foot is killing me. Too much freedom! First I had to choose a song, which was no mean feat as I own pretty much no Middle Eastern music, despite having bellydanced for, oh, six years now. I ended up going with that Zero 7 song from the Garden State soundtrack, which istotally not Middle Eastern but it’s pretty slow and trippy so I hope it will work, somehow. That’s not even the hard part. The hard part is that when you create a solo piece, you can do anything you want and there are no rules. This is freaking me out. The only time I am good at doing anything I want is usually when I am supposed to be doing something I don’t want. When I’m dancing in a group, for example, I am quite prone to start on the wrong foot or to let my arms get all freaky or to just forget how to do a basic Egyptian. When it’s time for me to really let go and express myself, man, then all of a sudden I become a sober proponent of tradition and prefer the tried and true. Clearly I am going to fall over and die from the stress of a solo class, but since I really do like that Zero 7 song I guess it will be worth it somehow.

In other anxiety news, my birthday is not this Saturday but the next and I am having a party at my house and it’s going to involve karaoke and now housemate J. has this idea that we should build a…get ready, now…a stage for our living room upon which to do the aforementioned karaoke. I am very much a karaoke novice and I suck at being a hostess but whatever, I’m thirty years old and I can damn well keep it together long enough to get the karaoke machine set up and put some food on the table and have people come to my house and answer the door for me while I cower in the bathroom with my head between my knees struggling for breath. But a stage amps it up a little bit. Doing karaoke in one’s living room is one thing, doing it on a stage is quite another. I feel like the stage adds pressure. Housemate J. is so excited though. She was bandying about phrases, the other night, like “red velvet curtains” and “disco ball in the living room” and “rope lights to clearly demarcate the stage area.” I maintained a cautious silence, because I am not totally convinced. About the karaoke stage. That it will work. This whole thing does, though, remind me of a time when I was surrounded by people who carried leatherman tools and cordless drills with them everywhere they went. Recently I have been surrounded more by awesome writers and pregnant women and cool artists and people who insert the word “monkey” into every conceivable juncture in every conceivable song. I like that very much, of course, but the sad truth is that if you want a karaoke stage built for your living room by next weekend you need the dorks with the cordless drills. I may have to forgo the stage, I think. And now, now that my birthday is less than ten days away, I am beginning to feel that nameless hostess dread (what will I WEAR?) that makes me wonder if I oughtn’t forgo the party itself.

The real story of my life at the moment, though…because here at Ampersand we embrace not only the hopeful architecture of ambition and the dreamy dalliance of youth but also the strict mercies of reality and the cold hard facts…is that I’m restless again. I can’t sit still for wondering what’s next, what’s going to happen in the story of my life. Usually I have something big I’m looking forward to and even though I have a couple of REALLY big things to think about at the moment, they’re not concrete enough for me to think about them. I can’t make any concrete plans, I can’t draw up lists or read books or do internet research or write things down in my calendar, not quite yet. It’s spring and I want all sort of new beginnings and I can see them off the distance (maybe in the summer?) but they’re not here, not yet, and so all I can do is fret and fidget and wonder what to do next.

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