Saturday, May 1, 2004

Me Day

Yesterday I got in the car and headed out to the office for a quiet Friday of minute-writing and note-transcribing. I knew I had to get my nails done at some time or other during the course of the day, so that they would be fresh-filled and smooth for the Living Sober Spring Follies (tonight!), and while I drove down the hill I considered whether I should stop and get my nails done on the way and be late to work, or if I should leave work early to get my nails done before going to the gym, or if I should take an offsite lunch-hour from work in the middle of the day. And suddenly it occurred to me, "I'm not going to work today!"

I had to justify this sudden idea somewhat, so I thought about how much sick leave and comp time I have saved up, and thought about how I haven't been accomplishing much this week and what would make today any different, and thought about how nobody else was going to be in today and nobody was expecting me and nobody needed me for anything in particular... but the real reason was that I simply couldn't bear the idea of wasting another beautiful day (and it was gorgeous out yesterday) sitting at my desk doing nothing. So I took a Personal Necessity Day... because I personally needed to have some Me Time.

So I parked the car, got some cash, and went to get my nails done. While I was having my acrylics filled in, I toyed with the idea of adding a pedicure to the bill, as pedicures are pretty much the ne plus ultra of personal pampering. But I don't like the idea of strange women touching my feet, nor do I care for the image of sitting high up in a vibrating throne while little Asian women crouch below, so I decided against it.

Afterward I window-shopped my way up Lakeshore Avenue, stopping for a long time at The Juniper Tree, purveyors of luxurious scented girly things, bath salts and lotions and perfumes and candles and jewelry and little satin makeup bags and so on and so forth, so I could get some nice hand-cream that would perhaps mask the smell of fresh acrylic on my hands. I stop in there often searching for gifts, as they have the most interesting little tchotchkes like sculptured soaps and poodle-shaped purses and feathered fans, but this time I concentrated on Me, opening and sniffing pretty much every vial and bottle and jar in the shop (except those that were labeled as containing substances to which I am allergic, like lavender or freesia or hibiscus).

I ended up buying a 3.5-ounce tube of L'épi de Provence verbena hand crème with 20% shea butter (whatever the hell that is, but it smells delicious and has accented Es in it), and a tiny 1-ounce bottle of the most divine fragrance, called Voluspa #4, which contains essences of white linden, blond tabac absolute, fresh-cut tuberose, red grapefruit, and tonka bean (whatever the hell that is) and comes in an adorable embroidered sage-green satin sachet-bag with a matching green crystal heart charm at the end of the drawstring.

I have never been much of a scent-wearer, as I am allergic to several commercially-produced colognes and never smell good in the ones to which I am not allergic. But since I adore odors and fragrances I will often try on something promising and wait a little while to see how it smells on me, disappointed when it ends up smelling like detergent or musk or gin; then summer before last I was out shopping on Union Square (collecting shopping-bags, really, but I made a small purchase for each one) and found the most exquisite scent at Sephora which smelled even better on me than it did in the bottle, called Fleurs de Chocolat Lucia, made up of chocolate and orange essences. Ever since, I have been attracted to these out-of-the-way perfumes made of pure essences without musks or chemicals or allergens. They tend to be rather expensive, so I don't have a lot of them, but I appreciate the ones I have greatly... even though I still seldom wear them.

But to return to the story, I continued on up the street, smelling wonderfully of verbena and linden and whatnot (with only the tiniest undertone of drying acrylic), stopping off here and there in a favorite shop or investigating a new shop I've never seen before, traveling the lengths of the parralel shopping districts of Lakeshore and Grand Avenues. I ended up buying a couple of blouses at my favorite consignment shop, Collectible Designs, and a couple of books at my favorite used bookstore, Walden's Pond, before I started suffering a bit from hunger. On the way back to the car to drop off my purchases, I started weighing my lunch options... but discarded almost all of them because they were sit-down restaurants and I hate eating in sit-down restaurants alone. So I decided to get into the car and drive over to Piedmont Avenue for a mortadella-on-rosemary-focaccia sandwich at A.G. Ferrari Delicatessen and to continue my lovely window-shopping in another venue.

The sandwich was absolutely delicious, as was the peach iced tea and hazelnut meringue cookie I had with it. Then I worked both sides of the street, stopping in pretty much every shop on the way. I bought a CZ ring in once place, a diamonte crescent-moon brooch in another, and touched and sniffed and fondled a lot of lovely things in between. I spent a total of two hours there, finally getting tired of walking and looking at things around 4:30. I had an appointment to meet Caroline at her house at 5:15 in order to change the light bulbs in her bed-sitting room, which are just out of her reach when standing on a barstool, and I intended to go to the gym afterward, so I thought I would take the extra time and stop in the office to check the answering machine and email to see if I'd missed anything while running delinquent in the streets.

I had a moment of fright when I found there were eight messages on the machine, but once I listened to them and realized they were all for other people, and if I had been there in the office all the time I would have had to write all those messages down instead of just forwarding the voice-mails, as well as explaining to the callers why the person they were trying to reach isn't there on Fridays (I'm the only one who does work on Friday), I knew I had done the right thing in staying away.

So after that I changed Caroline's lightbulbs and chatted with her for a while, then went to the gym and performed my twenty minutes on the elliptical machine and twenty minutes on the treadmill (with a potty-break in between), watching the surpising amount of eye-candy that was in the gym that day. Then I stopped at Boston Market to pick up dinner, went home and ate with Grandmother, then ran out to Walnut Creek for an AA meeting that I don't normally attend but where I always meet many of my friends. Then I spent some time with my protege (who will be premiering at the Living Sober Follies tonight!), and got home a little before midnight.

And as I lay in bed going over the many simple pleasures of the day, I vowed to do this sort of thing more often. I get so wrapped up in my Have-to-do's, my job and errands and Court shows and service committments and obligations and chores, I forget to just let loose and enjoy myself a little bit... not to hide in my room with a movie or a book but to go out and see people and try new things and feel many sensations. And as I started to drift off into a very deep sleep, I remembered to thank God for such a wonderful day, and the sudden inspiration to have Me Day instead of just wasting my time at work as usual.

I still smelled really nice, too.

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