TIME AND OTHER NONSENSE
Sometimes you gotta share the truth, even when it’s embarrassing as all hell. Remember back in the late 60s and early 70s when everyone of a certain age was smoking? And I don’t mean tobacco. I mean pot. Grass. Weed. Whatever you called it, virtually everyone was doing the stuff. Rolling joints, passing the stash. Experiencing mellow, and the hungry horrors. Man, that weed was groovy. Laid back and cool.
Everyone but me. To this day, it is literally impossible for me to chill. I am the most uptight chick on the planet. Back then, I really was trying to get high. It’s not that I didn’t try. I mean, I tried to dig that scene as much as anyone. But the truth was, I couldn’t inhale. I could not force my lungs to breathe in that grey smoke, that foreign material that might as well have been composed of neon red lights screaming: STOP! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT $200!
So now you understand why I wasn’t, shall we say, the most popular girl in town. In fact, I had to be one of the most lame, nerdy, geeky kids in school. They didn’t use those terms then. Those are 80s, 90s, and new millennium words. What were the words? Uncool. Uptight. Weird. One of the smart kids – social death for a girl. Okay, and for purposes of full disclosure, I was a theater kid too. I could emote. I could debate. I looked ahead and tried to ignore the eye rolls and snickers behind my back as I dressed like a hippie but somehow never pulled off the look. A virgin in the days of the sexual revolution, scared to death of any contact with a male creature. A girl who didn’t go out in the woods to party, to drink and get smashed or laid. A complete social flop.
While I’m admitting to my teenage indiscretions, I’ll skip to my late 50s and say that it was only a few years ago that I first and ever rode in a limousine. Nowadays, people hire limos for 12 year old birthday parties, for crying out loud! Girls have ridden in limos six times by the time they are sixteen! But somehow, that doesn’t seem quite so bad because my 60s hide an even worse secret…
Here is the embarrassing thing I want to admit today. Last week was the first time ever – ever! – that I had a manicure in a salon. My daughter was in town and she wanted to treat me to a facial or a massage, neither of which I have ever experienced before. But I couldn’t bear either one. The manicure seemed the most mild, the least invasive of all the choices. The most true to my body, to those lungs that couldn’t inhale, to that girl who was too uptight to get high, and who never got her groove on.
I chose Bora Not So Boring Pink nail polish. An all-dolled-up 57 year old woman who was probably a Victoria’s Secret model only last year scrubbed my hands, arms, and nails and chattered nonstop while I realized just how short, plain and overweight I really am. I’m a senior citizen with wrinkles! It was like being in middle school again. But I have to admit, she was quite nice and didn’t mention my frumpiness. She acted like my new BFF! She pretended my nails weren’t so ugly as I imagined them to be, and she polished them till they gleamed with Bora Not So Boring Pink.
I spent a few days staring at my newly pretty hands. And attended a wedding where not one person even mentioned my nails. What’s with that? Now the polish is beginning to wear off at the tips, and I am returning to my real self. The one who never inhaled because her lungs refused to allow foreign objects to invade. The one who went to proms in the back of Dad’s old car. The one who was afraid to walk into an upscale day spa just down the street. So uncool, chipping nail polish is. Reminds me of my high school days. Maybe next week, once the blisters on my over-danced wedding feet heal, I’ll walk back and ask for a touch up. We’ll see. I don’t know. Will think about it.
Good post, CFJ. I appreciate your dry, self-deprecating wit. As former member of the uptight, nerd crowd I feel your pain. LOL. Life is so much better now than high school. And congratulations on getting a manicure. Next time, try gel. It lasts about 2 weeks with no chipping. 🙂
Thank you, Marianne. Anyone who has (or had) a Star Fleet Academy bumper sticker on her car is a kindred spirit for sure! Next time, I’ll try the gel. Live long and prosper. CF
Sound like you were a parent’s dream teenager! Really doesn’t matter what it is, it’s time to do a few firsts. Manicured nails are as good first as any. Good blog post!
Thank you, Marilyn. When you say I was a parent’s dream, you miss the part where I say how much I tried to fit in! In fact, I gave my mother a hard time, a very hard time. As all good teenagers do to their parents, though we come to regret it. CF
It ain’t always about what everyone else was doing – or at least what the so-called ‘really cool’ kids were doing – Hell, I wanted to be in with the radicals – we even put together the underground newspaper ‘Naked and Screaming’ in my middle-class, suburban, Ward & June Cleaver, Republican single-family house one time – but underneath it all it was about trying to become someone a lot of us were scared to admit to wanting to be…someone who once was a timid child exploring a strange, awesome, and threatening world…a world that began in the crib and somehow landed us in the halls of high school, adolescence, the 60’s, and a thing called ‘real life’…
And it doesn’t matter that you decided to do what you did – or didn’t do…what mattered is you decided and did what you felt was right…
And you still live that way to this day. That’s how you became who you are…your kids should show that to you, if you’ve any doubts…they are every bit what you were then but maybe – just maybe – a notch or two above and beyond.
Your mother did a pretty good job, I’d say – and I’d say that not just to your kids, mind you, but to you, too, my friend. Mama tried…
And I’m sure if anyone noticed your nails it was only after they felt your presence and sensed the love and intellect they’d been touched by if only for a moment.
At least you have nails to paint…me? I either cut them so far back it looks like I don’t have any or they look so ragged you’d swear I had chewed them off one by one.
And, you have two wonderful, strong, independent, smart, determined children…and a pretty good book to your credit, too…
Thank you, James. I’ve had my successes, as you nicely point out. CF