Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Brides of Others

Two friends of mine are getting married at the end of next month and their caterer just went out of business. Yikes! I thought maybe I should pick up my wedding dress from the store because you just never know.
Who could abandon such a beautiful
bride in produce?
Reader, you may have noticed that the only picture in this post is a stolen flickr shot of some stranger’s bride bear left among the melons at Albertson’s. I’m not a highly superstitious person, though if I have the option not to walk under a ladder, I’ll take it. Just in case I do wind up wearing this gown someday, I’ll keep it a surprise. I will say that if the dress were a Netflix movie I would describe it as retro, feel-good, and independent.
Well, "independent" except that when I got the dress home and decided to try it on for an audience of cats, I couldn’t zip the bodice myself. I remembered that bridesmaids perform more than merely ornamental or folkloric functions (wasn’t that how bridesmaids got their jobs? To confuse the evil spirits as to which woman was the bride? Though how evil spirits could confuse irredeemable satiny Pepto Bismol confections with the white dress that's clearly the star, I’m not sure.) I held up my dress as best I could and smiled at the cats and at the mirror. In an alternate universe, I’m getting married in this dress on Saturday. (In both universes, my shoulders look pretty good. I’ve been working out).
While I was trying my dress on, the right side of my face was still numb from a filling that morning. Of course, if I read in a short story that a character waited until she was partially anaesthetized to pick up a wedding dress she no longer needs, I might be tempted to roll my eyes. Dulling the pain! I'd snark at the book. How clever! As it was, I had Vaseline clumped on my lips, and I was hoping my speech could be understood.
My new dentist, Dr. Crump, sometimes refers to himself in third person as “Crump” (as in “remember, Crump said to brush those back teeth with extra care.”) I sat through hours of sordid dental and orthodontic work when I was a kid.  I don’t remember liking it (except for aesthetic moments like choosing the color of my retainers: tie-dye with extra glitter!). But I don’t remember feeling as panicked as I did during this most recent visit. Crump is very kind. He asked me several times, “You’re feeling no sensation?”
My tooth looked borderline OK on the xray, so much so that Crump debated whether to go for the filling now or just keep the tooth under observation. Once he removed my old, leaking sealant, though, he said the decay just “mushroomed” and was close to the nerve. He switched to a slower drill that he described as “more discriminating.” I'm sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Easy Mark? Moi?

This fancy little boot is coming to the office
with me. Solid gold! (OK, it's a hollow
ornament, but really as fabulous as that long
ago TV show).
Esteemed readers, this kickin' glitter mini-boot is many things I can't resist: 1. It’s in the shape of footwear. 2. It’s sparkly. 3. It’s tiny.  4. I wasn’t looking for it. Rather, it found me in a little shop on Hamilton a few days ago.
Other dangers: I had just finished a run, so endorphins were involved. Also: I had actual cash money on hand (I feel more confident when I set out for a run if I have a slurpee fund on my person.) 
I had just run to Donut Parade, my first visit to this fine establishment. My running partner and I scarfed down homemade maple bars. The place closes up by noon on Saturdays, 1 p.m. on weekdays, so there’s none of this dawdling till the afternoon. You get your treats in the morning, or you pout and go to Safeway.
According to the menu, there were maple bacon bars for sale, but one of the friendly servers told us that we’d have to be there by 9am if we wanted those. (We arrived by 10:45, which is not late in my book, but I fear I keep a different kind of book than most people in this town). 
Running partner and I were sweaty from the summer morning heat. We sat at the counter. I swiveled my bar stool. Donut Parade was first described to me by a pastor friend as a “salt of the earth” kind of place. Tacked up on the paneled walls are pictures of donuts colored by kids and handwritten signs, including one with a call ahead number. (Could it be? I could sleep in AND have my maple bacon bar? Noted for next time!) The place has a clean but bedraggled bathroom you have to cross through the pantry to reach. This is the Pacific Northwest, so there's also an espresso machine.
I sipped my americano and tongued the creamy maple patina off my pliant donut in a way I hoped was not against the wholesome spirit of the place. Competitive swimming was on TV angled from the wall. One of the best ideas ever: Eating fresh donuts while watching other people exercise.
So in a post-donut stupor, I found myself faced with this gold Christmas ornament that could be rigged for an unconventional gift tag. Clearly, I needed it. I couldn’t fit this treasure in the small, zippered pocket of my Camelback, so I carried home my new booty (sorry!) in a black plastic bag as if it were a wad of dog poop.
I maintain a little menagerie in my office window, mostly of the cat and matryoshka inspired objects, but little gold boot will fit right in. I wonder if there’s a pseudo-Catholic part of me that can’t get her fill of relics. In my office, I have a couple of ceramic busts on my desk and a styrofoam model head and glitter skull on my file cabinet. This sparkle boot is just another disembodied part. 
I’m having an iPhoto crisis at the moment (Genuis bar, hold a place for me!), but I’ve got some shaky photos of relics from my recent trip to Europe, including the fingerbone of St. Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. I'm struck by the idea that just a fraction of a holy body still has miraculous power (it's that holy!). 
This also makes me think of the story of Jesus healing people with his clothes (this blog can't take two steps without running into Jesus these days. And how does that make me feel?)
If you have your Bibles handy, turn to Matthew 14 and follow along. In the Matthew version, Jesus has just fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish and then, in the very same chapter, walked on water. There's plenty of action/adventure in this chapter already, but then we get another episode that's quieter and moves me with its simplicity. I'll cut and paste from the KJV (It's the Bible of my youth, and I still prefer its sound): 34. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.