Thursday, March 04, 2010

Aloicious and Potato

I feel like I can’t remember the last time I had a day off. That is the thing about not having a set schedule. Your days off are so erratic; it’s almost as if they will never come and, once they pass, it’s as though they never happened. Is this one foot in the grave or one foot out the door?
Today was going to be different. I was NOT going to waste my day cleaning my room or doing laundry. This is what ordinary people do and I decided to stop being ordinary. It’s a conscious decision, which requires deliberate action.
The first thing to do is to get out of my pajamas, which are actually whatever outfit I was wearing the day before minus the bottom half. This seems like another ordinary behavior that I will have to work up to changing.

One day I will own pajamas.

Once one is no longer in her pajamas one feels motivated to do something. Mostly because it really does feel awkward to stand in the middle of your apartment, naked with nothing to do. The shower becomes a logical next step along with lather, rinse and repeat.

I have always wondered why it’s important to repeat the process of lather and rinse and in what intervals is it required for best results. Is it a suggestion to consider the process every time you’re in the shower? The shampoo bottle’s way of saying, “Psst! Remember me? You ran me through your hair the other day. The strands of your hair and I got along very well. I enjoyed my time with all of the, but there was one in particular that really tickled my fancy. I was hoping we could be reintroduced. I want to see if there is a real connection there.”
Or is it a command. Lather, rinse, DO IT AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN! Perhaps the person who wrote these instructions suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and they are not convinced that the first or any of the subsequent times did the trick. “Why is your hair so dirty? Do it again. Will it never be clean?” So, you repeat the ritual until there is nothing left to lather and you’re left holding clumps of your hair while sobbing in the shower.
Perhaps the pen that wrote these instructions is attached to the hand of a sadist. “Show me how bad you want your hair to be clean! Not good enough. Do it over. You call that scrubbing?! My grandmother’s toothless gums are more abrasive than those puny flower petals you call fingers.” The berating continues until the first sight of blood. Then, a gentleness sweeps over the situation like a silk sheet. “There. There. You did a good job. Now, I know how badly you want to please me and I love you for it.”
Maybe it is just a way to get you to buy more shampoo.

Generally, I sing in the shower to avoid thinking about these things, but my roommate is home and she hates my singing voice. (Note to self, obsessing about shampoo instructions is another thing ordinary people do. You must knock it off.)

I picked out my outfit keeping my goals of not being mediocre in mind. I donned a multi-colored scarf with a black and white, horizontally striped shirt. Ordinary people can neither pull off horizontal stripes nor can they mix patterns. I’m really doing this.
Before leaving the house, I grab my owl-shaped mug, a bag of my favorite tea and set off for the market. Ordinary people don’t like crowds or wondering around the city without a plan. I shall embrace both today.

The big glitch in my plan is that non-ordinary people don’t lie to themselves on a daily basis. They don’t need to. They have the luxury of being comfortable with both their actions and their motives. I am comfortable with neither. I can’t even accept the fact that the reason I am leaving the house at all is in hopes of bumping into you. Exemplary people are compelled by compulsion. They are constantly in motion. They are not waiting around for a catalyst in human form. They are imbued with the mantra “carpe diem.” They are not scampering around the city in hopes of being caught in your gaze. I am.

I don’t have time to ponder the distance, if any, between ordinary and me. I know what time you go to the café and I am running late.

As I walk, I ponder what I will say if I see you. How will the scenario play out? This is another thing ordinary people do that exemplary people do not. Exemplary people let life happen. Ordinary people imagine how it might happen and what they might say when it does. Neither of which ever comes to fruition.
As I round the final corner to my destination, I look at my watch. I’m somehow right on time. I planned this perfectly. The stars are in aligninment and I am in my position. Now what?! I got too distracted by shampoo. I forgot to think of what I would say.
I open the door with my owl mug in hand.

~I look up in time to almost walk right into you. There is an abrupt halt and a drop of coffee splashes onto your hand—your amazing, wonderful, glorious hand.
I’m so sorry. Let me get you a napkin.
It’s ok. Really, it is.
I just can’t believe how clumsy I am. Have I said I was sorry yet?
Yes. Yes. You look familiar.
I am. I work here.
(I see you everyday, except for the ones I have off. On those days I only imagine seeing you. At night, I dream of seeing you and every breath I take is a longing to see you.)
Are you working today?
No. I have the day off. I am just out, taking in the day.
(I imagine this is the sort of thing and exemplary person might casually say in passing.)
Must be nice.
It is. I see you all the time. I feel like I should know your name.
It’s Matthew. What’s yours.
Your name is Matilda?
No, but it’s what I would like you to call me. I’ve always wished my name was Matilda.
Very well then, Matilda, it’s nice to finally meet you.
Before we part you ask if I am free tomorrow evening. I tell you that I plan to see a band perform and I invite you to go. You say yes.

I melt and seep into the pores of the sidewalk.

That night, we meet on the sidewalk and embrace like old friends and exchange knowing glances. I take you into the space where everything will happen. I bring you to a table and introduce you to a group of people.
These are the people who are most important to me.
That night leads to shoe shopping, which leads to a happy life together. We have monogrammed towels and discuss the front-page story of the newspaper while our dogs, Aloicious and Potato, yip at our feet and beg for splashes of orange juice to hit them on their noses. The sun shines and the birds sing show tunes.

The candy man can ‘cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.~

I look up and see that you are not at the café. Either you haven’t arrived or I managed to just miss you. Poor timing is just such a thing I would do.

I get my hot water for my tea. I say hello to people familiar and unfamiliar. I leave. I wander the market aimlessly and I go shoe shopping. None of the specifics of my day diverge from the plan I made up in my head. Almost everything happened that I thought would. The sun was out and I had a smile on my face. It was a nice, normal, ordinary day. I suppose I can’t really complain.