Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Ain't That Funny

Hey!  I took a. . . what?  Oh. . . but this is in color.  I took two, three if you count the blurry one.  

Whatever.  It's all I got.  I didn't make any photos yesterday.  I was busy.  I didn't feel well.  Shit happens.  

It is true.  I didn't feel well at all.  I won't go into it, but I was moving slow.  I did get out and paint the deck, however.  It was a struggle.  When it was done, I thought to take a walk and let the paint dry so that I could put on the second coat, but when I got back, the paint was still tacky, it was hot, and I was really going downhill, so I soaked and showered and took a nap.  I felt bloated.  I was weak.  I had bought what I thought was tofu the night before but it wasn't.  It was long strips of fake meat in a Korean bbq sauce.  It looked weird, but I ate it anyway.  Maybe it was that.  God knows.  You can't trust the dirty little hipsters when it comes to sanitation and food purity.  Uh-uh.  And who else would make fake meat?  It was some obscure company employing the children of illegal migrants to make it, I was absolutely certain.  

Whatever was causing it, I felt like crud.  

I woke up from my nap just in time to get ready for my hair appointment with my pretty little Jewish Russian beautician.  I was achey.  I was tired.  I would have to rally.  

She'd had her baby two months ago.  She'd sent a photo.  The baby is very cute.  But the pregnancy had ruined the 45 year old once-again mother's tiny physique.  She waddled out in sweats barely recognizable.  

"Clothes are my new friend," she said.  

A big blonde Russian woman walked up.  

"You remember Natasha?" she asked.  

"Hi," I said uncertainly.  When we were inside the home salon, I asked, "Was that your friend who moved to California, the thin, beautiful one?"

She looked at me and smirked.  

"Holy shit!"

The girl had ballooned up.  She'd been a volleyball player and a player in general.  

"She hurt her knee and had to have surgery, then she hurt it again.  She gained a little weight."

She had, indeed.  Facts are facts.  So had I, but that's a different story.  Maybe.  I mean. . . my knee. . . . 

My chubby little Jewish beautician launched into her tale of woe.  It had been a rough three months since I'd seen her.  Her life had gone upside down.  She had so much drama.  We wouldn't be talking about me this day.  

"How does your son like having a sister?"

"Well, that was a problem.  He's twelve now and his hormones have kicked in.  He's been my only child and had all my attention.  Now he's angry that I have to bring the baby everywhere we go.  He says, 'Why don't you just leave her at home.'  He doesn't like having her around and crying all the time.  He got angry with me the other day and was staring at me like I've never seen, and he said in a real aggressive way, 'What are you looking at?!'  I was actually scared.  Carlos had to step in and ask him what was going on."

"Wow," I said. . .  profoundly.  

"And my parents are being real manipulative.  My mother. . . ."

She launched into a tirade that went on for the next twenty minutes.  Her mother this, her mother that.  I was busting at the seams. 

"I did a deep dive into mommy issues a couple weeks ago.  Holy smokes.  You have to read these."

I went on to tell her what I'd read and how obvious but invisible some of it seemed.  My beautician goes to a therapist.  She's always gone to therapists.  She used the term "Narcissistic personality" but said it is so overused as to be trivial.  Someone who has Narcissistic traits like vanity does not have the Narcissistic disorder, necessarily she said.  

"Exactly.  But women who have had mother's. . . . intimacy issues. . . accuse their partner's of their mother's traits. . . . "

This led us into a discussion about aging.  She has a client, a pretty woman in her 60s, who is having a mental breakdown.  Depression.  Doesn't leave the house.  

"It is not fun getting old and losing your looks.  If you were once attractive. . . it just gets horrible."

That is what has happened to her client, she said.  She used to come in three times a week for years, she said.  Now she calls every day to make an appointment but never comes.  She doesn't get out of bed.  It's been six weeks.

"Yea. . . I get it.  It's no fun watching younger, better looking people get all the attention.  You reach a point where you just don't want to be in public."

I was looking at my once beautiful beautician.  She now looked like an old Jewish mom.  It was the weight, but it was more than that.  Her life will never be what it was.  What was she thinking?

"I didn't realize how this was going to affect other people and everything else.  I was just thinking about getting through the nine months and being healthy and having a healthy baby.  I don't know.  This has been such a surprise."

It wasn't just her body that was heavy.  She'd gained unwanted psychological weight, too.  But it's early.  The baby will grow and things will become normalized, and maybe she'll be that chirpy, fun girl she's always been.  She was a different kind of crazy, a high energy crazy, a manic crazy then.  

But who knows?  I don't.  I don't think anybody knows anything, really.  Woody Allen says love is luck.  I agree, but I think everything is.  All of life is luck, good or bad, I think.  I used to take responsibility for everything that happened to me, but I've given up on that.  It's like playing Baccarat.  Do you know the game?  They play it in the casinos.  They deal the cards and you get a hand.  There is no strategy whatsoever.  It is all just luck.  Some people win, some lose.  Asking the winner, "How'd you do it?" is silly.  Why was Michael Jordan such a good basketball player.  Oh. . . he worked at it, sure, but so do other people.  He won some genetic lottery.  Somebody else got a hare lip.  

Me?  I got a haircut.  I don't know yet.  It takes a few days.  I have wavy hair.  She brushes it straight when she cuts it.  By the time it gets its body back, it will shrink and I will wonder why she cut it so much, and then it will grow or I will get used to it and it will be time to go to her again.  But I don't look in the mirror so much as I used to.  Hardly at all.  I could end up spending my days in depression and bed.  

"You just have to concentrate on and live in the now," said my beautician.  I laughed and said she was naive.  That's what all the swamis say, but it is bullshit.  Nobody can live in the present moment.  It's a mere parlor trick.  When you are young, you live in the future.  You can measure your age by how much of your time is spent thinking about the future and the past. When you realize you rely on memories most, you know what's happened.  You begin to worry more about that pain in your head or your foot or your gut.  

There is only one defense agains the slings and arrows of life, I think.  Humor.  Don't lose your sense of humor.  That's the trouble with the MAGA/WOKE people.  They live in outrage.  

Not me.  I think almost everything is funny.  Everything's a joke.  

"Why'd she leave you?"

"We used to laugh.  Then she lost her sense of humor.  Ain't that funny?"

I'm with Woody on this one.  I've been lucky, but sometimes the luck runs out.  All you can do is look for the humor in it, even if it is only ironical, even if it is dark.  All stories end in the same place anyway.  Life's absurd.  You might as well laugh.  

Now I'll go out and give the deck a second coat of paint.  Ain't that funny?

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