22FEB09 – Had an American Moment recently – nearly run down by the texting driver of an SUV as was I crossing a Target parking lot. Looked up, alarmed. Suddenly everything was visible, in focus. Commercial airliners streaking overhead, arriving at and departing from Ronald Reagan International approximately five minutes apart, each one carrying an estimated eight-thousand gallons of fuel. The river of package-laden consumers flowed forth from the mouth of the Best Buy, as panicked screams of multiple car alarms filled the air. Moments later, a friend of mine would confess that she flies so often she considers ‘In Flight’ magazine a viable shopping option.
Don’t tell anyone – I love getting my hair cut. There’s something so comforting about closing my eyes and letting the tender weight of cloth gently pin my arms and hands to my lap. I like the scratchy grip of tissue paper snug around my throat, the heat and gravity of an orbiting, invisible body invading my normally well-protected bubble. My favorite barber in Juneau had the endearing habit of humming unconnected singsong notes as she trimmed me back to humanity. I could count on Nina Simone or the soundtrack to Amelie to be playing softly in the background, a recording I find hypnotic. And how did she know I enjoy being spun in the chair? Left then right, my equilibrium momentarily lost in the woods. Every two weeks, I become the star of an imaginary 60s era astronaut training film.
There’s also nothing like a close shave and a fresh haircut. It’s a nod to respectability and while it lasts, there’s a kind of ‘plus’ on my balance sheet. I love the feeling of the clippers against the sides of my head as it vibrates my brain. I love the rolling claw of steel fingers against the back of my neck, shearing me like a sheep. Sounds odd, but I kinda look forward to having a strange pair of hands manipulate and tilt my head as needed. For those brief moments, I am a sculpture – albeit, one in which the same statue is described every two weeks. Off with the old, all is forgiven. During these moments in the chair I feel safe and protected, to the point that I’ve actually dosed off.
Deeper into the experience, I love getting my teeth x-rayed – the awkward gag of strange latex fingers working a hard plastic bit into place as I struggle to control my breathing, my eyes rolling back like a spooked horse, fingers gripped tight against the armrest. I find safety in the solid, restrictive pressure of the lead apron on my lap holding me down, and the way the tech flees the room in order to cook my skull. Looked at through the wrong kind of eyes, I suppose it’s a bit like having sex with technology.
(*clears throat, looks for way to end blog on graceful note, can’t find one, ends anyway.*)