I am sick. Again. Third time this year. For two days now the people on the other side of my wall are what I can only conclude as partaking in living room soccer and competitive weight lifting. They have been running and dropping things on my ceiling for almost two days. I will say nothing as the construction on my house starts promptly tomorrow at 7:00 am.
It has been a week and while my nose, chest and sinuses seem to be recovering, my stomach had decided it is its turn to behave badly. There is much to do at work and at home. I'm hitting my max-out line again. In short, short fuse.
I was walking my bike through the Leidseplein on my way home from one of the Albert Heijns that are open on Sundays with the ingredients I needed to make my Maximum Health soup. The plein was alive with people. The party never stops. Who should I see but two familiar faces parading through the crowd? Two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. . The sisters often show up at events, Gay Pride parades and the like. One time, Michael and I were lounging on a summer day in Volunteer Park in Seattle and a sister was being escorted for no apparent reason through the park by a plain-clothed friend. She was saying barely under her breath: "Look at me people. I spent over two hours on this make up. Look at me! " Seattleites can barely muster enthusiams at concerts (behaving like you are enjoying yourself is so uncool) and they sure as hell aren't going to look up from their Nylon magazines and Michael Chabon novels to acknowledge a person trying to make a spectacle of themselves.
The Sisters of Perpetual indulgence are part nun, part cirque du Soleil, part drag queen. I am sure any SOPI who might come upon this blog will totally disagree and scorn me for my ignorant description. These are men who dress up in nunnish prom dresses for the most part, paint their faces white and layer on top of that an elaborate schema of colorful glittery make up. Apparently there is a politcal/social bent to the group but I have never seen or heard of them doing anything other than show up at events where you'd expect such characters to show up. Some of them are often seen whizzing around on rollerblades.
When I saw the sisters I came up to them and instinctively said, "Jullie zijn Sisters van Perpetual Indulgence!" In an american accent one of them said, "That's right." Then I said, "Waar komen jullie vandaan?"" Then surprisingly, the same sister told me they were from San Fran. I don't konw why I was speaking to them in dutch or how this person understood me. I thought that they were only from Seattle but as Sister Mary Whatevs was quick to point out, they were from "Everywhere. We are international and are in 30 countries." This fact, however, was not being jubuliently proclaimed or celebrated. I was being corrected.
Then they both started looking over my head talking to each other as if, wishing as if, I was no longer there. Hey sisters of perpetual indulgence! I was trying to be nice!! You ain't no Paris and Nikki and I sure as shit am not some sort of irritating fan that needs to be shoo'd away. Don't need to cop a sisters of perpetual attitude with me.
So I biked away in a huff and then realized what a total loser I must have seemed like to them. A million miles away from glamorous in my little bike with my little bag of groceries looking like a housewife who gets drunk at noon on canned lite beer and a shot of Captain Morgan. Ok, Sisters, I forgive your Perpetual blowoff.
In winter, the days in Holland are even shorter than they are in Seattle. The rain comes in waves. Storms roll in off the ocean in strangely consistent intervals. This building has been quiet for the last two weeks. I was convinced that I would never be able to relax in this apartment with the tissue-paper walls. But these moments in the morning when the snooker hall is closed and the neighbors are asleep belong to me.
It's 7:30 in the morning, the sky is just barely lightening up a few shades. Charlotte's has relinquished her meager will to remain conscious. I'm sitting on my futon in front of CNN broadcasting raw footage of rioting and clashes with police in Pakistan. Char is sitting next to me which she has been doing more and more lately...this little animal that has been in my life for 11 years.
Last night, I stayed in and did my nails. I was in bed by about 10:00 on a saturday night and woke up this Sunday morning at 6:00 without an alarm. I have been working hard lately to get back into a natural rhythm because with it comes a deep sense of well being. There is so much "out there" to experiece. Action verbs: See. Do. Move. Go. But there is ust as much "in here" to experience as well. The idea of "missing out" has always ben a powerful motivator for me. Waking up this morning feeling totally relaxed and refreshed and present....I don't think there is any concert or museum or event or adventure that could make me better than how I feel right now.
I'll be ready to be back out there again soon. The Things to Look Forward To arrive, also in internvals, in the coming months. Balance comes in moments years and decades. Contentment for me always comes with this nagging pulse that it is fleeting. I remind myself how chaotic this year has been, how pergatorial last year was, and how unsustainable the last 10 years of my life were. One quiet Sunday morning can make up for almost all of that.