Serenity Now [ 2006-02-02, 6:37 p.m. ]

Construction is being done on the 8th floor, just below my office, and for the last three days there has been a constant and extremely loud drone, not unlike a sped-up jackhammer, making my ears bleed and my head pound. It's rattling my nerves a little, and makes me understand how new mothers go crazy when their babies won't stop crying or how those life-long New Yorkers go slowly crazy after living with street din for decades (I have a theory that living in New York will eventually make everyone go crazy; it's simply an equation of monthly rent divided by years in the city, multiplied by the coefficient of public transportation. I figure I've got another 15 years before I start losing my marbles).

Yesterday in particular I was feeling edgy and angry, and it took me until about 2pm to realize that the construction noise was not completely to blame. Perhaps my parents and their imminent arrival at my apartment (arrived half an hour ago, as I start this draft) had something to do with it...

It's a recurring theme on these pages, the ways in which my mother can knot me up with tension. When my parents visit together, which happens less frequently than my mother's quarterly " New York fixes," as she calls them, things are easier. Things are also more crowded. But generally easier, as my mom and dad are happy to go off on their own and explore and shop and eat and generally live it up, coming home at night to see us for dinner. Kent is not left alone with my mother while I am at work, nor does he have to take her to lunch or keep her entertained if I'm unavailable. ("This is where your mom and I had our date," he always says when we walk past Pastis. "You mom and I walked along this path..." he adds, in Central Park. Things are much easier since I returned to a corporate job and am free on Saturdays.)

The official reason for their visit is that my mother has a fitting on Friday. This makes her sound very fancy. I think she has gotten a fair amount of mileage out of the "I'm off to New York for a dress fitting" story. Next month is my brother's wedding, and she does have a fitting for the dress she is wearing to the wedding, although she is much more regular than she is fancy. She's having it made by the same designer who made my wedding dress, and who also made her Mother of the Bride outfit, and the designer is kind of fabulously fancy, but not famous or anything like that. My mom asked me to come with her to the fitting, so I am taking tomorrow off work and going with her to the ridiculously chic atelier on 81st Street, in which I last stood three years ago, wearing my wedding dress. (I say ridiculously chic not to make myself sound glam or posh or affected, but to emphasize how very out of place I always felt when I went to the designer's studio -- like a Muppet who stumbled onto the set of Breakfast at Tiffanys. But out of place in a really, really fun way -- in a "Yes, I'd love some tea and scones and don't mind me, I'll just browse your gorgeous books and vintage fashion magazines while you talk about Christian Dior patterns from 1958, and please can I just sleep here on your shag rug, just once?")

Have you ever run into your hairdresser away from the salon, perhaps on a Sloppy Ponytail Day, and felt downright apologetic? Afraid that he will look at you and raise an eyebrow or shake a head slowly, signifying disappointment that you - messy, imperfect, inadequately HUMAN you - have taken his Work out in public without proper styling? That you have let him down with that sad ponytail and visible roots? Well, that is sort of the apprehensive feeling I have about returning to visit the designer who made my wedding dress. Yes, her atelier is pretty and welcoming and looks like it could be in a magazine (and has, I discovered), but the last time she saw me, she was basically sending me down the aisle. I feel some sort of obligation to show her that three years later, I didn't mess it up. She made the dress, which as any bride knows is more than just a's the wrapping of the package, and I was delivered to my husband looking fresh and clean and pretty and bridal, with hair is a sleek chignon. And now...

I am a sloppy ponytail. Which is very cute and versatile, don't get me wrong! But three years ago I was agonizing over lip liner and eyebrow shaping. Lip gloss and tweezing get the job done.

I am 99.9999999% kidding, by the way. I am happy with a ponytail and happy in my marriage and happy to take a day off work to be a lady who lunches, even if that lunch is from Mangia on 57th, near Beck's office.

I am also a weensy bit jealous that my mom gets to have another dress made and I don't...were I not a bridesmaid I would loooooooove to spend a retarded amount of money on a custom dress, especially one not bogged down in all the pressure of being The Dress That Shall Live Forever In Memory And Photographs. But, with the money I am not spending on a custom dress, I can afford the new digital camera that I have decided is necessary to my happiness and well being.

If I already owned said camera, I would take it with me to the post atelier and take photos to document exactly how perfect the designer's studio is, and I would also take pictures of her fat little dog named Daisy. But the camera is in Amazon's pipeline right now, scrambling to get to me and deliver the much-coveted 7.1 megapixels.

During fittings for my wedding dress, I remember the designer referring to her yoga instructor, and she told me that she and a few of her friends hired a private yoga instructor who would come to their apartments � they rotated who hosted � and teach a class of 3 or 4 people. At the time I heard bwah bwah bwah I can afford a private yoga teacher bwah bwah bwah my apartment is big enough for a yoga class bwah bwah bwah. My recently rediscovered love of yoga has suddenly fetched that memory from the tangle of wedding preparations and delivered it straight to the front of my thoughts, where it sits, taunting me with the dream that is a Private Yoga Instructor.

[If my friend Caroline had a blog, she would have already written about this, but she doesn't so I am stealing. Ha!]

First of all, the Private Yoga Instructor would absolutely be male. I really like the female yoga instructors at my studio, but they are more like camp counselors and I want the drill sergeant. They are also so, so tiny and lightweight that when they push or pull me into alignment I am reminded of those nature shows in which the little bird lives happily atop the hippopotamus. But what the female instructors primarily lack is the opportunity for yogadultery.

If you do not know what yogadultery is, it goes something like this:

"Is it okay if I lie on top of you? I've only ever done this to one person before."

"Sure, go ahead."

Breathing... breathing...

"You okay under there?"

"I'm great."

"Helps to have a 230 lb man on you, doesn't it?"

Breathing... breathing...

"I'm just going to tilt your tailbone now, okay?"

"Yep. All we need now is a camera."

"Yeah, that would be fun."

Breathing... breathing...

"You're doing great."


(peels himself off me)

"Did that help?"

"It was fantastic."

"Was it better than the time I sat on you?"

"Um, I think so. Thanks."


And... SCENE. Keep up the good work! Again, nice to meet you!

The end.

The idea of being able to have yogadultery in my own private space is enticing. It could not be in my apartment, however, because I would have a coronary trying to get the floors clean enough.

My mother, aka She Who Does Everything Right And Better Than You ,Yes Even You, has of course been doing yoga since Nuala first hit the stores, circa Early 21 st Century Yoga Craze. She will usually do a few stretches and poses at night as she watches television � sitting or laying ones, not headstands and whatnot � which tends to make Kent very uncomfortable when we visit in the summer and she is wearing shorts and a little tank top. But, the advantage to having a SuperMom who does yoga is that if at any point during their visit this weekend, my parents start to stress me out, I can just go to yoga, and they will not be insulted or feel like I am ditching them.

I told my mom I was going to class tonight, and she Blackberried:

Which seems to indicate that this weekend will be easier than I thought, and perhaps I did not need 3 glasses of wine last night after all. Ooops.

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