Monday, August 29, 2005

(from the East Coast) reflections

I’m typing at the desk in the hotel room and, as is often the case in these places, I am staring right into a large mirror, positioned directly in front of me.

I look up and I see waxed eyebrows (first waxing: March 05) and a toned and moisturized face (first concerted effort to look after it: August 05). Plus a few other interesting changes that I wont mention here.

As of last night, I am caught up with the New Yorkers. (First subscription to the New Yorker: August 74; first time caught up with the New Yorkers: August 05.) True, I have mounting pressures back home – a move, the beginning of a new semester, important personal issues to resolve – yet I could allow myself an evening of reading New Yorkers.

I am wondering why suddenly I am alerted to the pleasure of reading late and moisturizing early. Why it never struck me that this was a possibility, that indeed, many around me wax, moisturize, read New Yorkers, do pedicures and manicures (I have never had either), go for massages, listen to lectures on esoteric topics.

I had a vague idea that I should take care of my skin and I could read endless stories in magazines, but (apart from work and family obligations that everyone, of course, also has to worry about – some to a far greater extent than I) I was so busy chasing down projects and conniving how next to get the family over to Europe, that this other stuff just passed me by.

Small indulgence of self. It still seems sinful somehow, be it of mind or body. I remember being shocked when my man Jason told me five years ago that 87% of women my age color their hair. (He’s a persuasive fellow and so I broke down under his steady gaze). Really?

I had wondered if my inattentiveness here was the result of my being raised in post-war Poland. I don’t think so though. I am sure that every one of my women friends back in Warsaw moisturizes twice as much and as often as my friends here. People in Poland worry about their skin. And they read magazines (of the literary-cultural-political type) obsessively.

It’s me. I’m diffused and dilettantish and focused on a hundred different things in any given hour. If I indulge anything, it’s my inability to sit still. Taking care of skin and catching up on your subscriptions requires one to sit still.

It’s a wonder that I keep a blog – arguably the greatest of self-indulgences. Of course, blog birth: January 04. A recent addition to my daily routines. Right up there with very soft skin. God, does my skin look and feel soft and toned!