So. I get my hair cut in Seattle. There's a true confession! I don't tell anyone because the few times I have tested the waters with this disclosure, mentioning casually over dinner that I go to Seattle every 6 weeks to visit Anthony, to receive absolution and indulgences, the response is something like, or exactly like, this: you are such a Prima Donna!
And that may be true. I'll have to think about that sometime. But I doubt being seen as a self-indulgent and narcissistic will deter me. The experience is far too nourishing. Yesterday, in a fit of utter hedonistic abandon, I had my fingers and toes groomed and painted, too. They assure me this act is entirely legal in the state of Washington but it feels so good, is so fine, and is so completely decadent, how could it possibly be legal? As I write, my fingertips flash with gleaming tips of ebony, soothing my soul yet stirring little tiny sparks within me that crackle and sparkle in the wake of my keyboard. Anthony the hairdresser and his colleagues seek, find, and sort out some of my higher, heart felt, fondest, and most secret of expressions. Wasn't there a show tune about this? Doris Day? I Enjoy Being a Girl.
Women never painted in the Renaissance; they did not decorate the Pharaoh's tombs nor were they allowed to sculpt the angels for the great bridges in Europe. Women necessarily moved to other forms of expression early on; their home, their hobbies, certainly their children and some, themselves. Their jewelry, their shoes, their colors and their make up all became channels through which they expressed their fondest beliefs about the beauty around them, about what happened today, about what they want or what they are hoping for tomorrow. Hair and nails and clothes? It's all expression. They are just trying to have a word with you.
And just as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and all the other American patriots who crafted the White Paper behind the US of A would assert, you cannot deny anyone their expression; politically or but especially otherwise. You cannot deny a woman her expression and her thoughts about the glory of the universe and of life around her because it's just not American. (Please insert the tiniest of winks here.) So be careful when you start throwing that Prima Donna stuff around. And thus with perfectly cut, smooth shiny hair and silky fingers and toes, I adjourned to Pike Street and set out to walk that eternal flame of unconditional love and understanding, the market. Can't we understand much of everything about a people and where they live by what they are selling and buying at the market?
I have never been to a market anywhere in the world where I have not gained a higher and better appreciation for people and how they really live and what they have to do each day in their life in that community. The market knows all and tells all. I recall the Muslim women in the south of France on a hot summer's day, studiously examining the frilly, fussy, lacy, gaudy-colored lingerie--they in their dark, large head scarves and chin to toes woolen chadors and dresses. I remember, distinctly, the tiny, tiny wizened Vietnamese woman who had split rice sacks in two, sewn on handles and stood at the market in Dalat selling her rice sack shopping bags, for 11 cents USD; the market in Moscow, Russia with thousands of cheap replicas of Soviet military uniforms and gear, obviously mass-produced in China. And the market in Hilo, Hawaii where the Japanese sell exotic fruits they grow in their back yards; the handfuls of violets for sale at the market in Notting Hill in London....
I prowled along First Street in that bad ass car of mine, looking for a parking place, the moon roof gliding open to the effervescent Seattle sky just as Spencer Davis rocked the car's sound system with Gimme Some Lovin'. I turned into the market at the brass pig and waited while the Asian tourists in front of me driving a mini-van with Florida plates sorted an entire family out and back in the van again; then crept along, resuming my search for a parking place, stopping dead in the middle of the street for the jaywalking artist who jumped off the curb into the fray of the Pike Street Market, scurrying across the scree of comings and goings to his stall lugging canvases and easels. It was worth it because as he touched down on the opposite curb, he turned and flashed me an over-the-shoulder smile, mouthing a little tiny 'thanks'. I found my spot St. Anthony does it again! got out of the car and walked in the perfect 63 degree Seattle air, cool and frothy. Wearing flip flops.
I never wear flip flips in public. Just don't do it. But on this day, at least for one time I had something to say, and on this perfect morning, this peridot of all mornings, I was going to say it.
The 'Kan EWA