Now with special sauce.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Re: I Remember Christmas

I remember Christmas growing up. I remember the excitement as the end of school drew near. I remember baking cookies, holiday parties in elementary school classrooms and buying silly little erasers at "Santa Shop" for all my cousin's presents. I remember walking home from the busstop, smelling the chimneys in my neighborhood, each step getting closer to my Christmas vacation. When I arrived, the fake fireplace was plugged in, and though I knew it wasn't real, it felt toastier somehow! I remember going to bed the night before Christmas, overtaken with the giddiness of the surprises I would wake to find. I might even strain my ears to try to catch sounds of the big guy sneaking around with our presents down there. My brother and I would creep out of our beds at some ungodly hour. We would sneak past my mother's room and down the stairs, being careful to avoid the top one that squeaked. I know we wanted to see the treasures that Santa had brought us while we slept, but I also remember not wanting to see them all right away. I couldn't wait to look through the darkness, still on the staircase, squinting my eyes to make out the shapes of the piles of goodies sitting at the foot of the fireplace. Which pile was mine? Which was my brothers? I would be filled with shear excitement, my heart leaping at the possibilties that lay in the shadows. I would sneak down for a glimpse, and then return upstairs to ponder what awaited me. Mom would hear our restlessness and make us wait as she got up and went down before us to see the looks on our faces. I recall certain Christmas mornings as if they all happened the same year, though I know that is not right. I remember my first cabbage patch doll, the pink stirrup pants I wanted so desperately, and a girl Snoopy doll that Santa had set up inside the door to the fridge on my little kitchen/stove playset. After the mystery of what toys had made up the shadows in that early morning light, I would then become anxious to go to my Grandma's and see all my cousins and aunts and uncles. I would select my favorite present and off we would go. Once there, we would eat, laugh, and play. My cousins and I would put on little pagents to show to the parents (would you guess I was always the shy one?). We didn't all get to see eachother all the time, so this was a special day. It was one of the rare times we were all together, sharing our excitement and love. ..>

I remember how things changed as we got older, as well they should. The pagents had long since come to an end. Since graduating from college and since losing my Grandma, so much has changed on Christmas for me. My relationships with my cousins, while important, have been overshadowed by an amazing and unique circle of friends. I still do my best to see my mother and brother over the holidays, but I rarely get to see all my cousins and their parents. One thing that I always try to do is give a quick call to my closest friends, perhaps hear their voice for a second and wish them well.

I remember this Christmas. Before noon, I received about 6 text messages that said "Merry Christmas". I won't explain how many of them were from that same amazing group of friends. Let me just say that it scares me a little. I definitely don't always send out Christmas cards, and have been known to mass email a greeting or two, but I am nervous for these new methods of reaching out and touching someone.

I enjoy the internet and use it probably too much sometimes. I have gotten to know some people better because of the internet, and know some people nearly well without ever having met them. I can express myself via email/IM/or blog in ways I might not have been able to come right out and say face to to face or on the phone. I'm sure I don't need to tell you the wonders of the internet. What scares me is that some people use it as a substitution for genuine contact.

I have never been a huge fan of text messaging, first because I don't have unlimited texts, and have to pay per message sent/received after a small amount. I use it from time to time, and it definitely can be handy, but when minutes are free and both parties could hear eachother's voices, I just don't understand texting. Obviously I am one of the few that feel that way.

The problem is that so much can be misunderstood on instant messages, texts, or emails. Without hearing the proper inflection, without knowing the sense of humor of the person I am talking to, and them not knowing mine can sometimes cause problems. Confusion tends to arise on a regular basis even when you know eachother REALLY well. Does this mean we shouldn't use this technology? Not at all! I just don't think we should rely on them to have real conversations about important things that should be discussed in a way that both parties can fully appreciate what the other has to say. It shouldn't all be one way...and then the other...and then back again. We tend to feel good that we can get our points across without being interrupted using these methods. Sure, that can be beneficial, but it can't be the end all be all. I have heard of people ending relationships, working, and otherwise, over email. This has actually happened to me, though it isn't how I would have liked for things to happen. I have listened to friends explain their main source of communication with a new potential significant other being through texts. I have been concerned about the future of our connections if things continue along these lines. Regardless of the text messages I received that were, no doubt, a function of selecting all contacts in their phonebooks and clicking "send", I called everyone as I had originally intended. I had to leave a few voicemails, but that doesn't bother me.

I don't have the same things to look forward to on Christmas as I did when I was younger. So much has changed. I continue to look forward to having a moment to speak to my closest friends and wish them well, even if it is to their voicemail. While there can be no substitute for face to face relationships, I hope we can all communicate in as personal ways as possible with eachother rather than all of the new methods that make it so easy to "make the effort" in just a few clicks on a keypad, especially on important holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Steamroom Rebels...

There aren't many things in life I enjoy in quite the same way I cherish my time in the steamroom at the gym. It's warm, dare I say "hot"? It's moist, dare I say "wet"? The dampened heat blankets my entire body like no bathtub I have ever found. It seeps in through my nostrils, gently coating my throat in loving moisture and makes its way into my lungs. I breathe shallow at first, getting used to the new sensation. Once my breaths are deeper I smile and relax into the darkness and think...or not. The only way I can explain the sensation is to say that it feels like an amazing hot bath for your insides as well as out. The sign warns to limit your time in the steamroom, but I rarely do. I'm just a rebel like that.
The steamroom in my gym is not coed, so the women tend to take some liberties I personally wish they'd rethink. To begin with, most women are entirely freer with their bodies than I ever will be. I am not so closed-minded that I think everyone should be as painfully modest as myself. I realize I am on the entire other end of that spectrum. I walk in with a towel around me, and I keep it there until I am in the shower, and then back on again until I am done changing in the little private changing room. Alright, so let's just leave my strange inhibitions out of this. Basically I am fine with the nude female form freely roaming about around me, though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly baffled by their level of comfort. What I am not fine with, and what baffles me even more, are the ladies who freely flop their nakedness on the benches everyone sits on. It takes only moments being inside the room for every inch of your body to become as moist as the drops of water falling from the ceiling. Wouldn't you want to sit ON something? Yet there I sit in my towel, surrounded by women of every shape and size, lying all around me. Sometimes they splay themselves. Luckily it's often too steamy to really be affected by this. So there I sit, doing my best to stop contemplating why I am so damned shy, when someone walks in with loofa mitts on and she is now rubbing them all over her entire body. I can just picture her little skin flakes floating to the floor and sticking to the dampness. People come in there with lotions, and pumice, doing things they have NO business doing in a public steamroom! Before anyone out there is thinking this is, in any way, erotic, bare in mind this ain't no playboy mansion steamroom. There are rules that instruct women not to do any personal grooming in the steamroom. Evidently, like my staying in much longer than the limited time recommended, these women are rebels too. Tonight it was just one woman and myself. This woman lay splayed out, boobs sagging under her arms, and she hoists her foot up to her knee and starts sloughing. She sloughs and sloughs. I sit there, trying to think...or not think...and all I can think is how her fowl foot grime is just gonna be hanging out after she goes. I imagine it falling on her droopy boobs and wonder why she would even want to do that in here. All I can hear is the sloughing. Not only that, she is grunting and sighing. Don't get me wrong, I feel feels damn good in there, worthy of a sigh or a groan if no one was there, but I can control myself. So she grunts, sighs, and sloughs. She continues this on the other foot, and then begins anew on the original foot. She may start to bleed all over the steamroom, for all the public sloughing she feels it necessary to do. I guess she'd feel fine with that too. Where do they draw the line? Let's cut our toenails together, and shave our legs...enema anyone? There are just some things that should be left at home. It isn't like you can't loofa away the top layer of your skin in the privacy of your own shower. Then you can rub and rub and rub to your hearts content, and I don't have to watch it. It is because of the rebellion of this "no personal grooming" rule that my own rebellion of lingering too long in the moistened air gets cut short. I try to remain as long as I can, but in the busier moments at the gym, I would just rather not have to deal with the other rebels.