Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A cottage of one's own.

Virginia Woolf left a note for her husband, placed a large stone in her pocket, and drowned herself. Had it been late December, instead of March, that note might have said, "Fuck Christmas, Leonard. You deal with it."

I thought of Virginia yesterday, after I wisely swapped picking though the clearance rack at closing time, for picking through White Point beach rocks at low tide.

Placing a large, interesting rock in my pocket, I thought, wouldn't it be my fucking luck to slip and hit my head, accidentally drowning, two days before Christmas.

A tragedy, yes, I look terrible with wet hair – but the good news is – I can swim like a fish, or at least better than Virginia Woolf.

Besides, now that everything is wrapped, Adopt-a-Family looked after, teachers' gifts done, house decorated, groceries purchased, gifts shipped west, coaches gifts homebaked then delivered, bills paid, floors scrubbed, a backlog of work completed, furnace half filled... why the fuck would I kill myself now?

Monday night was a different story.

Monday night found me dropping Jack at hockey practice, leaving 2 hours to run around looking for perfect last-minute gifts with a drained bank account, an egg nog ass, and a deflated spirit. I dashed into strip mall after strip mall, until I finally saw the light. A neon light.

It said Princess Nails.

I wandered into a warm sea of masked Korean faces. Language barrier aside, they took one look at me and pointed to a row of pedicure chairs.

Within minutes, my feet were soaking in warm, soapy water and I was flipping though People magazine in a vibrating chair. It dawned on me that I hadn't done anything nice for myself in a long time. I hadn't treated myself to a pedicure in over a year; a manicure in the last decade; and I haven't had the time or energy to hit a tennis ball, or the gym, in months. I was fat, tired, pale, old, and feeling like a broke and broken loser in a deep, ugly rut.

It was about then, a tiny, masked Korean man wandered over. He picked up my hand and said, in broken English, "Too much stress. You must relax the mind."

No shit Jackie Chan, I thought, and started to cry.

He walked away, returned with his manicure instruments, and proceeded to carve away my cuticles, buffer my jagged edges, and massage my dry claws with warm lotion. I sat silent as he went about his job, speaking in a quiet voice about a book called "Life Before Death" or "Live Before Dying" or something like that. He said I should read it. He went on to say that money kills people because we waste so much time and energy worrying about never having enough. He said I needed to calm my insides. His kind eyes cut through my soul. I hadn't said a word.

I left Princess Nails a bargain $35 dollars (plus tips) lighter, with pretty toes and the weight of the world shifted off of my shoulders, ever so slightly.

Raising the internal white flag and heading to White Point is my Christmas gift to myself. The tag said: You cannot do it all, all the time.

Sometimes you just have to pull the goalie, fill your pockets with interesting stones and keep walking. You should go.
Princess Nails
is at 278 Lacewood Drive next to Nubody's for Women in Clayton Park. 443- 9992. Ask for Shawn, or he'll just find you.