Seated around the lunch table, filling out a dating questionnaire:
Miranda: "Age? Check box. Twenty to twenty-five, twenty-five to thirty. Ah. Here we go. Thirty to thirty four."
Charlotte: (referencing Carrie) "Nuh uh. Not after next week. Birthday girl here turns thirty-five."
Miranda: "So check the one thirty-five to forty-four."
Samantha: (to Carrie) "Honey, welcome to my box."
The. Perfect. Place.
To relax and unwind. To listen to babbling brook CD #5 while a raven-robed masseuse works out all of life's kinks. To walk around in a terricloth wrap around, sans makeup, and not have to apologize to the populace.
And, apparently, to contemplate one's own mortality.
Soooooo...Thursday I visited the Jasmine Spa in Little 5 Points to spend a graciously given Christmas gift of a facial/massage, and, as is custom, to ensure they "provide the best service possible," I was asked to fill out a standard questionnaire.
Address? Let's just say I'm from around these parts.
Age? (Check box.)
Ah. Here I am. 25-30.
Okkkkkk...Email? Jesus God they are going to crowd my already sated inbox.
Contact Telephone? 770-35... WAAAAAAIT. Did that age box just say 25-30?
Ho - lee - shit.
Prepare for meltdown--cause ladies and gentlemen it just hit me--THIS GIRL is about to jump a box. AND, AS OF THIS MOMENT, I AM COMPLETELY UNPREPARED FOR IT.
Hands quaking, eyes abulge, I dare a stare at the next marker of my life.
There it is, plain as day, black and white and any other cliched descriptor for something that is as plain as Stephani Germanotta with no makeup:
the 31-40 box.
31 to fucking 40?
I know at this moment the spa lights dimmed. The babbling brook ceased, kindly, to give due credence to my inner monologue, which went a lil' something like this: "Ohmeegodohmeegodohmeegod. I have exactly two months to write a national best-seller, sell my first feature length screenplay, lose 10 pounds, learn French, move to the Appian Way, get a personal stylist, steam-clean my couches, vacuum my car, and get my short film edited."
Not necessarily in that order.
I addressed the woman behind the counter: "Turns out, I might not have time for this massage."
While on the table, a man's hands kneading my back like the fresh-baked bread I crafted Wednesday, (Was it Wednesday? Oh Jesus! MY MIND IS GOING! Damned impending new box!) I simply could not let it go.
"Alright Miss Greer. If I could get you to flip over for me..."
"Flip over. Yes. Because I must be DONE on one side. Cooked halfway through. Ooooohhhhh it's the end. Of my life. Of my youth. Of my promise and optimism and properly-functioning anatomy. It's all downhill from here. Everything's degenerating. I can feeeeel it."
"Ummm...Miss Greer? I'm going to need you to release me from this strangle hold so I can continue your massage."
"Oh. Yes. Of course. Sorry."
"Nice arm bar though."
'Where'd you learn that?"
Strangle hold. Seems in my panic I attempted to vice grip the masseuse. In retrospect, it may have been an attempt to either 1. prolong the massage or 2. vice grip my life steadfastly into the 25-30 box, where everything seems the safer, more comfortable, more forgiving.
You can rebound from just about anything in your 20s. Heartbreak. Smoking. That brief stint with Veganism. But with the 31-40 box comes expectation. And I just don't know if I can handle that.
In your 30s you are supposed to have everything figured out. The house. The job. The spouse and kids thing. Got it. Nailed it. Secure. That's what's supposed to happen. That's what's inside the box...
Thing is though, I've never lived inside the box.
Most of my life I've spent outside, leaving the box for long intervals to go do whatever I damn well pleased or, occasionally, returning to the site of the box in an attempt to figure it out, to puzzle and solve my wayinto the box where everyone else seemed so comfy cozy. Heaven knows that's where my parents wanted me. And the inhabitants of the box certainly appear happy from the outside. But, try as I might, I would bore of the tast of figuring a way into the impenetrable cube of normalcy and would return to practicing my Mad Madame Mimm impersonation or dancing to "Diamonds and Pearls" on the giant piece of lumber on that abandoned lot on my street.
A few years ago, my stepmom Tana got me a bag with a nekkid dancing heathen on it (one guess as to who that heathen is supposed to be) and beneath me are written these words: "When I am grown up I will understand how BEAUTIFUL it is to administrate my life effectively. Until then I will continue to torch all correspondence that bores me and to DANCE NAKED over the remnants of the still glowing embers."
I like that.
Perhaps one day I WILL learn to administrate my life effectively. It may even happen in the 31-40 box. But, for the moment, I feel the need to start a blaze and dance over the embers.
"I'm the hideous, magnificent, marvelous, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad Madame Mimm."