Waterworks

 

 

The other day when I went to get a haircut, I was feeling grand. My day was going along just fine and I had no complaints. It was good, you know?

 

And then I arrived at the salon. I was about ten minutes early, so I grabbed a book of photos from a rack and settled in. Within seconds, I realized the book I was perusing contained photographs of international aid installations and personnel. Some of the photos were beautiful. Some were devastatingly harsh. It occurred to me that I should simply return the book to its spot on the rack and find something more banal. But I didn’t. I thought that perhaps I had chosen that book for a reason, and that its contents deserved acknowledgement. So I kept turning pages, studying photos and reading captions. Before I realized it, I was quietly bawling. I looked up and two other patrons, both seated nearby, were staring at me.

 

People don’t be going to fancy hair salons on Melrose Avenue to cry. They also don’t be going there to see other people crying. But hey – at least I was quiet. My tears lasted only a few minutes, then someone came to tell me I should change into a smock, as my appointment was nigh. I was so grateful for the timing, I nearly hugged the messenger.

 

After getting color applied to my hair (and a fantastic conversation with Fernando, the colorist), it was time to have my hair washed. “Little Mama” is so good at this, y’all, that I look forward to seeing her as much as I do to getting my hair did. At some point, as Little Mama was massaging my scalp, I looked up at her and told her what a blessing it is to be touched so kindly by another human being. She commenced to tell me about how she has to read clients, in order to know when they’re receptive to a few extra minutes of scalp massaging, as not everyone cares for it. As she spoke, I fought back fresh tears. Her words gave me focus and allowed me to really listen to her and not drown in the wellspring of emotions I was having. She soon finished her job and I moved on to see my stylist, Carla.

 

I’ve been going to Carla for at least a decade and I love catching up with her. She’s a good, decent person and she is also immensely talented. (She ain’t cheap, either, so I only see her a few times a year.) By the time she had finished working her magic, I was ready to stroll the avenue to my car and make the drive home.

 

Sometimes I know I’m emotional. Sometimes it sneaks up on me. And once the pump is primed on my tear ducts, it’s hard to stem the flow! The other day reminded me of this and as challenging as it was, it was also pretty wonderful. I am susceptible to the pain brought on by harsh imagery. I am also susceptible to the joy brought on by human connection. I am able to soar so very high because I am able to sink so very low. It’s reciprocal. My emotions are just rigged that way.

 

One last thing… Just as I was about to leave Melrose Avenue to walk down a side street toward my car, three cute-as-could-be Japanese tourists asked if I’d take their photo. The three girls posed before a painted wall and I snapped a couple of pics. After thanking me profusely, I walked away. But not before hearing their joyful giggles when they saw the photos of themselves. As their laughter faded behind me, I realized I was smiling wide enough to let bugs in. And that’s when sweet tears began to fall once more…

Ugh.

 

 

 

Have you ever had one of those days where the challenges were lined up like dominoes, and yet you couldn’t knock over a single one? A day where you just kept turning around to find another domino, boxing you in? Ugh.

 

Yesterday was boxing me in, I tell ya. And no matter how I tried to stay positive, to move on to something else, I just kept hitting those dominoes. And nothing would give. Nothing.

 

It worries me that this is going to be one of those weeks. And y’all – I may not be woman enough to handle it. Yes – I can get things done, but I really don’t want to do it through tears and snot and looking like a glazed doughnut has smeared on my danged face. A little decorum would be nice.

 

But maybe this isn’t the week for decorum. Maybe I’m just going to have to face the struggles and keep pushing against that first domino, hoping it will wobble. That really is how it feels, you know. Like I can make it, if only I can handle one task, one challenge. If I can just get through that, maybe the rest will truly fall into place. Maybe.

 

And so I push…

Heroes

 

 

I’d been waiting to watch it. My friend Betro was waiting, too, so that we could watch together: the Kate Bush documentary that recently aired on BBC. A buddy had sent a copy from the UK and Betro and I wanted to make it an occasion.

 

When we finally sat down together, our focus on the television screen, neither of us had any idea what to expect. Betro pressed play…

 

Do you have heroes? Do you have people whose talents you admire, if not downright envy? Is there someone in the world you look up to? Someone you don’t actually know, yet you’re grateful for?

 

Kate Bush is one such person for me. And while I have her entire musical catalog in my possession, I can’t say I’ve ever known much about her. Her personal life has never been a topic of conversation in my little world. And I’m not so stalkerish as to wonder where she lives or how she goes about her day-to-day existence. All I’ve cared about is the music. Her songs have provided refuge and entertainment. I’ve listened to her music when I’ve felt alone and when I’ve wanted to dance. I’ve depended on her talents for inspiration and comfort. Again and again, her music has been there for me.

 

When the documentary ended, I covered my face with my hands, to enclose my tears. I finally looked up and saw Betro doing the same. It seemed we were both profoundly affected by the Kate Bush doc. Our ensuing conversation covered not only our feelings about the documentary, but also our personal histories with the music of Kate Bush. We talked about how we perceived her talents and choices. We talked about our own life choices. And fear. How there’s far too much of it. How it cripples.

 

And we talked about how grateful we are that some folks find a way to move through their own fear (if they have it) and produce beauty in this world. About how our tears were joyful. About how nice it was to be able to share our thoughts and feelings together.

 

Heroes sometimes wear uniforms. Sometimes they stand high above the rest of us. More often than not, however, they look just like us. Doing their best to get along in this world with what they’ve got. Make no mistake – they are not without fear. Like us, their thoughts occasionally run to the perceived pain of failure. But unlike many of us, they go ahead and try to make their lives into – something.

 

Thank goodness.

Laughter! Tears! Flashmob!

 

 

The final movement of Beethoven’s 9th is beautiful in its own right. When it gets Primo Flashmob Treatment, well, let’s just say I shed many a joyous tear while laughing raucously. I hope you do, too.