I used to fight with the wind. Literally. “Brother Wind” to be exact. (For those of you just tuning in, I grew up on a California commune, with people named Pink Heart and Apricot).
At first, I’d ask Brother Wind politely to please respect the great effort that went into sweeping up large piles of leaves and dried wisteria from the cracked concrete patio of my childhood home.
But alas, my dreams were dashed repeatedly by Brother Wind and his erratic ways, as he rudely scattered freshly-swept debris back into the corners I just cleaned.
When courtesy and reason didn’t work with Wind, I’d try pleading, often with a tear or two. If I was refused his pity, I’d sweep faster, in an I’ll-show-you-Brother-Wind I too can act like an asshole. Yet, when Brother Wind still showed no sympathy for my early OCD, I’d get pissed and blow back – waving my broom at the sky, cursing Brother Wind and his chaotic behavior!
Throughout my adolescence, I repeatedly took on the elements, yelling furiously above the howling weather. Until…finally…Brother Wind would break into a faint breeze. There I’d stand and stare at the tranquil treetops, believing for a moment that he heard me. Perhaps Brother Wind felt ashamed for picking on a small child…or maybe my Sicilian temper temporarily scared the wind right out of him.
For the past year, I’ve made multiple trips to Manhattan for work, during which I’ve been introduced to many things foreign to a California girl – namely extreme weather. I also grew up in New Orleans, so I’m accustomed to high heat – but freezing temperatures and snow storms have not been on my radar, until recently.
One day, on my way to work, in the thick of this past record-breaking winter, I encountered my first blizzard. Until then, I had a rather romantic notion of snow: gentle pretty snowflakes you see on Target commercials, where people wearing cute hats twirl around, with open arms…or snow that settles softly on windowsills, as people pass Hot Toddies inside a log cabin, warmed by a lovely fireplace…
This particular snow hardly invited me to dance in my cozy cap. This snow was violent and painful. Strong gusts of wind battered me with large beads of ice from every angle, as I wrestled with the Wind to keep my feet on the ground, in a tug of war with my umbrella.
After calling the storm a ‘son of a bitch’, I finally got my inverted umbrella to close (praise god – I was moments away from pulling a Mary Poppins). Once the umbrella was shut, I held it in front of my face, and used what little surface it offered to protect me from Mother Nature’s full-body microdermabrasion. The snow hurt every part of me, including my eyeballs – it felt more like sand, beating the mascara off my lashes, and transferring it down my cheeks. (I’ve since learned East Coasters often wear sunglasses or goggles during such conditions).
Despite my Grandmother encouraging me to add rubber boots to my winter wardrobe, I brushed off her warnings, thinking I’d simply walk around any puddles I might encounter once the weather turned cold. That day, I discovered these ‘puddles’ are in fact deep dark dirty pools of brown (and occasionally yellow) slush, where I had to guess which step would least saturate my calf. Needless to say, I ruined a pair of ‘water resistant’ suede boots. Guess Grandmother knows best…
At some point, I peeked from behind my collapsed umbrella, just in time to see a man fall in front of me. While crossing the street, he slipped on the icy asphalt, and landed hard on his bum. I stumbled in his direction, to offer a hand, but immediately he was up, walking away like nothing happened.
Huh… Such a mature way to handle an accident: get up and move on.
A few days before, on my way to a big job, while starring at my phone (not knowing where I was going), I ran inside Bloomingdales to use the restroom, and missed a step down to the cosmetics section. I fell flat on my hands and knees, in front of the Clarins counter – good thing I was wearing gloves and avoided scuffed palms, just before a high-end hand job!
Besides my ridiculous reactions to Brother Wind, nothing puts me more in a tizzy than technology – and that day my smart phone decided to act like a smart ass. It kept shutting off, despite a full battery (I’m convinced cold weather is the culprit), and it refused me access to Google Maps, which left me lost (again), and late for an important date with VOGUE.
On all fours, I reached for the lotion bottle and lip balm that had flown from my bag, and quickly gathered the rest of me. Instead of laughing at myself, I stormed up the escalator, avoiding eye contact, in an attempt to decrease my feelings of powerlessness, by stomping up the stairs.
But back to the winter storm story… when I saw the man fall, and recalled my trip to Bloomingdales, I realized something I’ve learned over and over in life: IT AIN’T PERSONAL.
As I peered around through thick snow, I noticed everyone’s eyes were squinting and postures hunched. Brother Wind was raining on every person’s parade. And Mother Nature wasn’t setting out to punish anyone personally – occasionally she shits on everyone in sight!
I’m beginning to believe things are as random as they are destined.
Sure, it may seem glamorous to report to work on Madison Ave, and slip on shoe-art for Tamara Mellon, founder of Jimmy Choo – but the journey to the destination is rarely what we expect.
Hopefully next time I’ll be wiser in the presence of Wind. And maybe some day I’ll be able to flow…even when life blows.
Happy Summer everybody!
With every part and all my heart,
*Hope you enjoy the new site and updated images. My wonderful and talented friend, Randi Schultz put the puppy together: firstname.lastname@example.org.