Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Recycled Gift

About three weeks ago I had a major meltdown that included me throwing an Ugg across the room and lots of pouting. This meltdown was for two reasons:

1. Obvious lack of control over employment.

2. Obvious blame of this lack of control on my Uggs.

Obviously. I love my Uggs. They may be the best thing to ever happen to short people with jeans that are too long and drag in the snow. Circa three years ago, I used to sport pants with salt sunsets that would spread from the hems to the backs of my knees. Not anymore! Plus they are warm and cushy and when I sit at Starbucks typing, I am way less freezing. I also enjoy leg warmers, and Uggs are like leg warmer shoes. The problem with my Uggs is really a problem with me, and that I try to shove too much jean material in them instead of fully succumbing to the leggings trend. (A problem I blame on being too short for my jeans AND somehow having mutantly large calves disguised as normal calves.)

Anyway, pushing boot-cut jeans inside boots results in a bunching around the ankle that rubs uncomfortably. This is what I was obviously trying to explain three weeks ago.

Me: "UGH!!! I CAN'T GET IT!"

M: "What is going on over there?"

Me: "I can't get my stupid jeans under my feet."

M: "Your jeans are not supposed to go under your feet."

Me: "I KNOW. I'm trying to get them under so I can step on them inside my boot and they won't BUNCH UP! UGHHHHH!!!" (throwing Ugg)

There may have been more throwing and more Ughs (pun intended, thank you very much,) but M was completely ignoring me at this point.

This demonstration may seem like an overreaction to a stupid problem and just a delayed response to being unfairly fired. Which it was. UNTIL TODAY. When, on my four mile walk home, I felt that familiar rub at the back of my ankle. Reflecting upon the events of three weeks ago, I decided to suck it up and just keep walking. (In all honesty, what else was I going to do? It is one thing to throw a tantrum in front of your boyfriend. It is another to throw an Ugg into traffic.)

So I walked. And after a while my ankle felt fine. I got home, put my bag down, turned on the TV, checked my phone (because I can't hear it while I am walking) and then pulled off my boots. To find my ankles covered in blood. COVERED. As in, I had to WASH MY FEET TO FIND THE WOUND so I could apply bandages. I now have a dark stain on the outside of my left Ugg to prove the validity of my childish tantrum. So there, meltdown.

However, I am also scared that this is karmic retribution for my MOON BOOT rant yesterday. (FYI, the all-caps is not just because this should be read in a loud voice, but also because the actual brand is all-capped. Feel free to read it in a yelling voice though.) So, I'm sorry MOON BOOTS and MOON BOOT owner. You are less ridiculous because your footwear is large enough to account for even bell-bottomed jeans without injury.

I would like some more karmic gold stars to sway things back in my direction and avoid more blood, so bear with me as I talk about reincarnation on Ash Wednesday...irreverent? (I am raising my hand again and pointing to myself.) Anyway, if you can overlook the fact that the first time I saw It's A Wonderful Life, I shouted that they had stolen my idea that we all become stars after we die, I have always been partial to the idea of reincarnation. I like that what we do in this life informs the challenges we take on in the next, and that we are working towards perfect, but are never quite there. I like that elements from one life may be repeated or recycled in the next and we wouldn't even know.

For Father's Day a couple of years ago, I recycled some junk and made a reincarnated wind chime. Both of my parents are partial to wind chimes. If you are friends with my parents and you move into a new house or a new city, my parents will most likely give you a wind chime as a housewarming present. As mentioned previously, my dad is both an artist and a carpenter. He routinely gives new life to old elements. On several visits to Chicago, my dad wanted to visit a certain store near my apartment. This store did not even have a storefront. Or windows. It looked like a forgotten factory for things-no-one-wants-to-buy. On one visit we finally went in, and inside it looked like a warehouse for things-no-one-wants-to-buy. Like old nails, wood with holes in it, pieces of glass. My dad was in heaven.

A couple of months after this visit, I went back to the Forgotten Factory and bought a few old keys (the kind that might unlock the Secret Garden, not the kind that might unlock your neighbor's apartment) and a round piece of beveled wood. I drilled a few holes in the wood and painted it various colors in an abstract sort of design that I wasn't particularly happy with, so I painted the underside in happier yellow colors in a Pollock-esque abstract. I strung the keys on thread at varying heights through the holes and made sure they made noise when a wind came through. Or a fan. Or my breath at birthday-candle-wish speed.

The wind chime now hangs in my dad's home office. It is a musical reincarnation of several lives at once. The keys from cabinets or treasure chests or garden gates make notes beneath the wood from a banister or a table or a door frame. The Forgotten Factory closed a few months after my visit. It is now an Anthropologie. And every time I sift through their door knobs and hooks, I wonder if any of them came from that warehouse of things no one wanted.

So, karma, I believe in you. And so do my ankles.

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