Saturday, August 26, 2006, 6:36 PM
Not counting colorful homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk I walk across each day, doggie yelping in a mostly ultra-conservative business environment, and the horn player a few doors down in my apartment building, I lead a pretty boring life. There’s a malfunctioning clothes washer in the laundry room that does this loud slamming thump that vibrates the floor every once in a while. The first time I heard it, I thought we were having an earthquake.
Lately, the hardest decisions I face each day are what to wear and what to eat. Sometimes makeup gives me fits, too. Should I go with the white eyeliner behind my black rims, or endure contact lenses with no eyeliner? I’m the pits at getting contact lenses into my eyes and when I’m successful, the lenses usually bother me all day because my eyes don’t want to produce enough moisture to make contact lense-wear comfortable. It sucks because I hate wearing glasses. I have a small nose arch and eyeglasses tend to slide down my nose. It’s annoying and makes me feel old with an oily nose.
I’ve thought about eye laser surgery, too. Lots of times. Around here, eye laser and cosmetic surgery top pizza and burger ads. Well, except for cars, maybe. I go to sleep at night dreaming about microderm abrasion, the not-so-meritable idea of hair wefts, and shiny black BMWs with opaque windows. And about how Keanu Reeves is looking to get married, but I’m pretty sure he wants a kid out of the deal. Plus, he smokes.
Anyway, I saw a magazine article on laser eye surgery once. There was a photo of someone’s eye being forcibly held open by some kind of black contraption that included a head harness. You know, to keep your head still when the laser thing goes to work. With me, they’d have to include sedation and body restraints. Just the thought of it makes my toes curl, which gives me foot cramp. So even if I did determine I was brave and/or nuts enough to get the laser eye surgery, the foot cramping would kill me. There’s not much worse than a foot cramp.
I’m sad that I probably won’t be going home for the holidays, so I don’t think about it much. But I know it’s there. The thing is, home doesn’t feel like home anymore. I don’t want to go back to the too-familiar place where I feel like a stranger. I don’t want to suffer through airport security, another plane passenger who farts during a three-and-a-half-hour flight, or lost luggage.
The first time I went back home (for Buddy) after moving out here, I had a crying breakdown in the airport’s public restroom because I had to come back and I didn’t want to come back. The sight of Los Angeles from the airplane was claustrophobic. From the air, it doesn’t look like there’s an inch of untouched land. It feels like I’m a giant looking down on a kid’s Lincoln Log building project that’s overrun the house and spread out into the front and back yards. And into other yards, as far as I can see, just on and on and on.
The second time I went home (for Christmas) was bittersweet because I almost didn't make it and when I did, I felt like I was standing in the wrong pair of shoes. Everything was familiar. I even had my old car back and drove it between Oogie’s and Ken’s house like I used to do when I lived there. Like riding a bike, man. And then I figured out what's worse than a foot cramp: being somewhere you no longer belong and feeling heartsick about it.
I’d like to start a new holiday tradition with my family. I don’t know what that might be yet, but it’ll probably involve airport security and smelly airplane passengers.