258.0: Things to do in the off-season.
I’ve been thinking about Miley Cyrus — how I like her music even though everyone seems to hate her headlines, which I admit are really terrifying and absurd. But I also think about how she’s still a decent actress and a decent person overall when she’s not crazy. You should see her on Jimmy Fallon. Unlike other celebrity “bad girls,” she seems to have it more together.
It’s weird that I’m thinking about her, because I’m attaching this never-to-be-sent to a Katy Perry song. A song that I haven’t thought about in a while and only recently thought back to again because of RQ guy.
Who, by the way, was in town.
But I’ll get to that later.
My hair is… halfway-long. Here I’ve been all this time thinking that it was already long, but no, it’s only “halfway-long.”
"It’s just getting there," he’d said.
"He" being the guy at the hair products section of the Sephora that I strolled into recently. I’ve escalated the makeup usage beyond just the occasional, Linc. Now I’m dabbling it on every so often. The thing of makeup I ended up getting at Sephora is what is called, apparently (because I still don’t know much about these things), liquid makeup because, well, it’s liquid.
It comes out of a tube (like toothpaste, I guess — toothpaste for your face) and you just spread a little bit of it around your face. I do it on the morning of days that I want to have makeup. It has SPF. And a gal at Sephora had to press a high-techy gadget of some sort (which made me feel even more clueless about all things makeup) to my face to detect my color complexion (or something; she matched the beep-beep-accompanied response on the gadget to the tube of makeup she picked out for me).
As for the guy in the hair products section, for starters, Linc, I didn’t even know that Sephora sold anything besides makeup. This was how rarely I ever went to that store. But this is how retail gets you: they sell you the one thing you really wanted to buy, but then little desires inside of you start to compound and suddenly you’re thinking that you may as well look around as long as you’re here. And I thought that well, if I can touch up my face, maybe there’s something that I can do about my hair, too.
I was surprised at how down-to-earth the hair products guy was. For one thing, he kept laughing (kindly) at my reaction whenever he’d squeeze samples of product onto my hand. “Can you feel how light the material is?” he would begin, and then with what seemed to me like a kind chuckle he would add, “You’re like, ‘what the hell is this crap’?”
When he asked me what kind of shampoo I used, I confessed: “Whatever’s on sale. Right now I’m working through a big bottle of KIrkland Signature. You know, those huge shampoo bottles you get for really cheap…
"… at Costco," we finished together.
(“We finished together.” Something about that sounds dirty, and makes me think of RQ guy — who I’ve been thinking about a lot, by the way. To such degree that he has overshadowed you — one imaginary boyfriend for another.)
Then the hair products guy started explaining this and that about this and that product that they had on the shelves, although he made it a point to say, “But the stuff you’re using now is perfectly fine. If you’re working your way through that bottle, finish it.” (Of course, having been in customer service myself for a long time, and now a business major, I’m quite aware that this is a “relationship building” tactic to hedge against the loss of a sale.)
His observation — replete with reaching out to briefly tug at what I had thought were one of the longer strands of hair — was surprising because it already seemed like I had long hair. You can tell by my reaction that I don’t often let my hair grow out. But now I am and at various times I either feel good about it or I don’t. The more hair there is, the more there is to manage. Washing it can take forever. Also, it’s an attention whore — constantly in need of brushing or some other adjustment. And yet, providing all that attention, doing all that work, makes me feel good, somehow — the same way that I don’t really need makeup, yet it adds something intangibly positive to my life that puts a spring in my step.
I don’t just want to touch up the exterior, though. I want to take care of my insides as well as how often I pay attention to how I look on the outside. The first thing that came to mind was that I need to eat more fruits and vegetables. I don’t actually know why that was the first thing that came to mind. It just seemed to make sense and felt natural. To tell you the truth, a couple of weeks ago I was eating a lot of Domino’s pizza, which has amazing buttery crust, but of course I know that it is not all that healthy. I hesitate to ponder what all of that butter, carbs, and processing was doing to my insides and how over time it was all creeping outward waiting to age/kill me prematurely, or something.
Have you heard of Farm Fresh To You? Recently, they were tabling on campus and I became intrigued by this notion of having produce delivered to your doorstep. Because I overthink everything, I had a conversation with the guy at the table that lasted nearly fifteen minutes and then I went away and didn’t come back until almost an hour and a half later. In the time that had lapsed, I thought about why I couldn’t just get the produce myself at the grocery store, and the answer was that I am lazy — which was not an expression of self-pity, at least not in this life-stage (I may have felt bad about it a few years ago), but rather it was an admission of truth: I’m lazy about buying produce and to motivate myself into eating better I needed to sign up for this delivery thing. So I did.
I’ve been good about eating the stuff. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s perishable and I want to eat it all before it goes bad. That is how I am staying on track. But what has really been helping is that Clara and I are trying to lose weight before her wedding next month. When she proposed a vegan-based diet to me, I struggled to put on supportive airs. In that moment only managed to generate what was seemingly believable conviction but then, once I got my first delivery, suddenly it became a much more tangible goal. Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and limiting my intake of animal products — essentially being vegan — all the time might not be a diet that I follow for any time beyond the scope of this wedding (I would miss eggs and dairy too much) but at least it’s a start.
I’m back on Facebook.
Yeah, I know. Insert eye-roll here.
This happened on Sunday. It happened because there were some pictures that I wanted from Clara to use for her wedding, and the only copies she had of them were on her Facebook account.
But there is also a legitimate function to keeping Facebook: I have family all over the place. I’m talking cousins — lots of them — but also aunts, uncles, and Ma. Yeah. Ma. She’s a Facebook regular. My fifty-something mom is hooked on social media.
"I noticed that you caved," RQ guy texted me the other day, "and I liked it."
What a bitch.
That is the entirety of our friendship: sarcastic text messages to each other — well, that was the entirety until last week. I’ll get to that later.
Besides RQ guy dropping into town, I have been consumed with school. The temp assignments have unfortunately dried up lately. I have not heard a peep from my recruiter. This is good news and bad news, because I don’t get tired as easily and I can focus on that elusive goal of getting A’s in all of my classes while actually understanding, processing, and even empathizing with the material and not just taking the class just for the grade. It’s also bad news because, well, I don’t get paid. I’ve been lucky that Pop and Ma are helping me out with extra cash. But the unglamorous thing about being a college student again at this age is that you spend a lot more time worrying about money, and I feel very insecure about not getting a steady paycheck.
One night, I came home and I was putting down my backpack and liberating my aching feet from my sneakers when Clara, who was settled comfortably on the living room sofa while the TV was tuned to some Netflix show, said to me with a yawn, “I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”
It’s not only that I have just been secluding myself in the library to do my homework. (By the way, while studying I have crossed paths with some of my classmates, who have, kindly, given me a hard time about taking the material so seriously. I think their reasoning is that these are introductory undergrad classes and that the real work lies down the road. I get it. I probably should be taking it easy right now so that I don’t burn out when I get to the upper division coursework. But… I dunno. Maybe it’s because I was raised in vigorously stereotypical “model minority” ways to do well in school — even though I didn’t do that well in college, the first time. But I just feel compelled to be serious about every class, that whatever I learn in one class is going to help me in another, throughout the major, possibly in all of life.)
I’ve also been keeping busy with church. Alas, God has seen fit to make me earn my keep in a way that gets in the way of communing with my faith family, so there are a few key church-related events that I will have to miss this month. My heart is legitimately broken, Linc.
Last week, RQ guy stormed into town.
(At this point, I have got to give him a better pseudonym. Maybe I’ll name him John. Ha, ha, ha. He would love that. Or hate that. Either way, he’d probably bother me about that.)
RQ guy’s actual visit isn’t as dramatic as writing that he “stormed into town,” but the feeling he left behind for me feels that way.
Later, at the conclusion of his visit when he boarded his plane on the way back to Chicago, I confessed to him that after our first coffee meeting, I felt a little bit deflated.
"I was headed back to campus," I’d told him, "and everything just felt weird. I felt disconnected from downtown. Downtown, man. Where everything is happening. It was a beautiful day, too. The sun was out. It’s like something was reminding me, Dude, you’ve lived in San Francisco for thirteen years and it’s awesome. And yet, something about seeing you made my life feel incredibly dull. Am I too young to have a mid-life crisis?”
"Yes," RQ said, with characteristic frankness. But then he added kindly: "Don’t think of it as a mid-life crisis, though. Think of it as a wakeup call. What do you want to do next?"
Be your boyfriend, I thought to myself but did not dare say out loud.
So much went through my mind during the week of RQ guy’s visit that this section of this never-to-be-sent will need to be its own epistle, Linc. I will write it soon, just not now. In the meantime, you seem to have gone quiet again after the noisily anticipated announcement of your contract renewal that had followed another period of quiet. You really know how to keep a low profile; coincidentally, when I dragged Spencer with me to have drinks with RQ guy on Friday night, her conclusion was that he seemed low-key. In the next never-to-be-sent, I’ll write about how RQ guy seems to be just as imaginary as you are. But like they say, Linc — you never forget your first.