Monday, August 20, 2012

THINKING OUTSIDE THE TACKLE BOX


As a (slightly) younger man I used to whip my hair back and forth, and maybe one day next year I will again. For now, though, a shorter 'do means a halt to the whiplash days.

Now I wave my hands back and forth, waiting for the polish on my nails to dry.

"Why do you paint your nails?" a friend asked the other day, and the answer came within seconds, when a pretty colleague at the Paragraph Factory walked by and said, "We've got to do a mani night with wine. Lots of wine."

Bingo. Chicks dig men who are in touch with their feminine side. As I've noted before in this space, I speak girl, fluently. And I do my nails. Mani night it is. Maybe we'll even drink some white zin.

Actually, I do my nails to quiet my hands; concentrating helps keep the hands from shaking like an eager bartender making his first martini. It's one step in learning how to write longhand again, something I lost after the stroke. I miss writing things out by hand; no matter how efficient a typist I become, it will not replace the joy of having a turn of phrase pop in my head and being able to writing it down, commit it to memory.

I've been thinking about memory today. Memory and memories, to be more specific. I've been reflecting on the way life used to be, on the little things that I miss and crave. The biggest loss is quiet. I miss comfortable silence, the sharing of a space with someone who doesn't need to fill the air with words, with noise. I didn't realize how much that quiet meant to me.

It seems strange, a chatterbox like me wishing for quiet. The contradiction is not lost on my thick skull. I'm sure I've driven more than a few people to drink and agony by not shutting my mouth. Maybe that's part of my need for silence; with it I can better appreciate karma and her first cousin, irony. I can embrace the wrong things I've done and get in a better space so I can do right the next time life blesses me.

Until then, I find solace when a small window opens and I'm able to enjoy the company of someone who prefers a quiet corner and a book to a boisterous party filled with sharp tongues and people who aren't half as funny as they think they are.

Waiting for that window to open, I turn to the tackle box filled with polish and brushes and files. I push cuticles and think about not thinking. Om: it's zen and the art of nail maintenance.

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