From The Beach

The theme of this past weekend was inappropriate temperature adaptation, also known as my thorough inability to gauge the weather and to procure and wear clothing suitable for such weather. I feel like I’ve either been too hot or too cold for days and I am beginning to contemplate stashing several full outfits for all sorts of conditions in my car and at my work, just in case. I have no internal thermostat, either, as anyone who has had the pleasure of camping with me can attest, which, when coupled with my negligence to look out the window to see if the sun is out or not, is really kind of throwing me for a loop here.

Take Thursday. I took the brave step of actually going out on a school night, to see these fabulous women perform here. I dance with some or all of them at least once a week but it has been way too long since I went to a gig, so I was determined to make a night of it and actually put on both a necklace and a skirt and strappy sandals. Because clearly that’s what you wear when it’s fifty degrees and pouring down rain outside, instead of knee high rubber boots and a nice wool sweater. I didn’t know how inappropriately I was dressed for a while though because it was so burning hot in the bar area and because I was occupied with stuffing my face with various types of cheese. Also with explaining bellydance to the two boys I was with, neither of whom had ever seen tribal before.

We were sitting with Lolo, a woman I’ve known through various bellydance classes basically since I got to Seattle in 1999, who is in her her seventies and was wearing a sparkly “Goddess” shirt and looking good. She and I took it upon ourselves to explain the improv/choreography dichotomy to poor Lee and Eric, who may not have been expecting an exegesis on the differences between cabaret (“That’s the one where you have to put singles in her bra!”) and tribal, and the different aspects of performance, and how the history of tribal is like, twenty years old and isn’t really authentic Middle Eastern dance, and that however much fun it is to watch, it is infinitely more fun to do. The performers got there and we were a big group of off-duty dancers and their friends and partners and it was all very fun. You could tell we knew the dancers because we were very quiet (except for the occasional respectful zaghareet), unlike the majority of the bar’s patrons.

I don’t see bellydance in the company of men very often…in fact I can’t remember the last time I did so. Partially it’s because I am woefully remiss in going out to see dance, and partially it’s because I think of bellydance as something women do for and with other women. It’s undeniably sensual and beautiful, but I don’t necessarily think of it as sexual. I’m pretty sure this isn’t for heterosexuality reasons, either, but I don’t know exactly why. It’s like my thing with burlesque…like, I get that there’s sex in there somewhere, but I tend to focus on the dance and the technique, or something. I’d be leaning over to the newbies going “Hey, did you see the articulation in her wrists?” and they’d go, “I’m not looking at her wrists, dude” and it took me a couple of minutes to get it, like, oh, riiiiiiiight.

“But don’t you think that her mudras are really good? And that thing she does with her eyebrows?”


A good time was had by all, regardless of my harshing the vibe (“Man, don’t you just love her headdress?”) and I was very happy to be with a bunch of people I like very much and to be seeing the beautiful women do the beautiful dance, and even happier when it turned out that hot chocolate at Dilettante was going to be part of the evening’s activities. Yes, pretty much a perfect evening except that I was freezing cold and sopping wet after the multi-block walk back to my car. What’s left of my pedicure was set off nicely by the goosebumps on my legs, I’m sure.So I thought I was being sneaky the next morning when it was all rainy and wet by packing a pair of jeans to wear to one of the worst movies I have ever seen right after work. I was pretty tired from staying out late the night before but I was all congratulating myself for thinking far enough ahead so as not to have to rock the business casual at the good old Cinerama. I was waiting for the bus when I noticed that the clouds were sort of clearing and I wondered if it would warm up later and if I might regret bringing a sweater, socks, and a jacket along with me. My first bus stop is literally in front of my house and I could have easily run in for a pair of flip-flops and a t-shirt, but apparently I would rather just sweat all day and then buy an extremely expensive shirt after work on my way to the theater…only to discover that not only does the movie betray its audience, but also the theater was cold and that outside was cold and of course I left my sweater in the car because I’d been so hot before and I had to watch that awful, awful thing on the screen in the fetal position with my arms wrapped around myself twice like a chilly orangutang.

Saturday I didn’t talk to another human being until after midnight when it was time to see Ian’s birthday improv show, which involved booze and cursing onstage and which was very funny indeed. Weather-wise, it was lovely and sunny and even though I had to do some cleanup at the old house and try to get more organized at the new house instead of going to the solstice parade, I felt pretty good in jeans and flip-flops and the Island Girl shirt Marah got us for Christmas this past year. That was the only sartorial triumph of the day, because of course when it was time to get in the car and go to the show, I dithered around for twenty minutes trying to find my glasses, which were, of course…wait for it…in my purse. Sigh.

This morning I was going to go to brunch with the aforementioned Ian for his aforementioned birthday and I was this close to wearing a skirt because I thought it would be pretty warm. But no. I wore jeans and the temperature soared into the mid-seventies and I was so hot. I took the world’s slowest route to the store on the way to the store and so had plenty of time to curse my pants. I have been essentially naked since I got home several hours ago and my whole closet is here so I probably won’t have any other wardrobe malfunctions for the rest of evening, and I have even taken the precaution of checking the weather for tomorrow, but I’m still a little worried that my brain will interpret “sunny and 80 degrees” as a sign to drag out the insulated socks and the orange and pink scarf.

The rest of my day has been spent organizing books and pots and pans, making a very yummy dinner that involved fresh asparagus and fresh strawberries and fresh yams and fresh grapes and a fresh chocolate fudge popsicle, and sitting on the beach and checking email. That’s what I’m calling the semi-vast expanse of carpet in my new room, between my orange-sheeted bed and the bathroom. I even laid down a sarong because the carpet is a little scratchy and took a little nap in the sun, just like at the real beach except with less sand and less sandfleas. Also it has wireless. It’s great, you should totally come over.

One of the emails I received today, while sitting on the beach very scantily clad indeed, was from my beautiful and beloved Mandy, whose place of employment in Trujillo was broken into last week and robbed of its laptops and cell phones, by someone who obviously knew what he was doing when he held up women and children at gunpoint. They’re all fine, thank God, but obviously the loss of the computers and the phones is a big one for this organization, which is doing very needed and useful work in Peru. Mandy’s asking for donations to help recoup the losses, so if you are in the mood to drop a couple of bucks in SKIP’s direction I know that she and all the kids she works with would appreciate and benefit from it very much. They just got an offer to match donations up to $5000, so now is the time, if you’re so inclined. Of course there’s a link on the sidebar too, just in case this entry doesn’t coincide with your ability or desire to give at this juncture…they can always use your help!

Sartorial missteps and hateful robberies of do-gooder non-profits aside, this has been a good Sunday. It’s just past eight and it looks like four o’clock outside, bright and sunny but cooling down. I’ve made my breakfast and lunch for work tomorrow and did some good work in the kitchen cabinets this afternoon, slowly integrating my stuff in with John and Treasa’s and trying to make this house a little more like my own. I have a new excellent book and a new excellent DVD that will compete for the rest of my spare time this evening, and my orange sheets are freshly washed and gorgeous against the cloud walls…which, I’ve noticed this first week in the new house, sort of change color with different moods and times of day, just like the real sky. As long as I make sure to dress like a normal person who understands the concept of “weather,” I’m pretty much all set.

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