The Puley Report: Week Two
We're not talking about a subtle layering of lavender highlighter,
swept gently across the
brow bone ... nor a delicate dusting of lid color,
the shade of summer lilacs picked fresh from Grandma's flower garden
... but purple, like the
Kool-Aid. Technically, the name
of the shadow is
"Velvet Crush," and it's been rattling around in the bottom of her
makeup basket since 1998. She bought it accidentally, the
year she moved to California -- in the
false light of the Alameda Walgreen's Cosmetics Department she mistook
the color for silvery-gray, which she needed to match a suit
jacket she'd just bought for job interviewing (and yes, she used to
match her eyeshadow to her clothing) -- but until now she's never
actually worn it.
Today she's got it smeared on both her top and bottom lids,
with a full complement of black liner and the usual four coats of
She's got her hair pulled into two short pigtails, one on each side of
her head. Ordinarily she believes that forty-something year old
women are too old for pigtails ... actually, she
thinks anyone over the age of TWELVE is too old for pigtails ... but
today she's got to admit that they're making her feel
sort of sassy and sporty. It was hot in the kitchen earlier
this morning, while she was making macaroni salad, and on a whim
she decided to pull her hair back into 'tails. They looked so
unexpectedly not-completely-terrible -- so Marcia
Brady on HRT -- that she decided to leave them
in. Even better: she's wearing the pigtails tucked behind her
ears ... a fact that would no doubt have
her former junior high school Bible Camp counselor experiencing a MAJOR
(Flashback to Camp Lilly Dell Dunes, June 1970 ...
Walkers' Mother: "Wouldn't
you prefer to wear your hair OVER
your ears, dear?"
Walker's Mother (reaching
forward and pulling little bits of
hair over the
tops of Secra's ears): "There. Isn't that better?"
this way, with her Alfred E. Neumann ears in full
undisguised display, makes her feel brave and
defiant, on top of feeling sassy and sporty
and ever-so-slightly macaroni-splattered.
It's an interesting gumbo of emotions.
she did a
thorough binge-and-purge of her bedroom closet -- ostensibly to
convince her husband that she's spending her
'productively,' but in reality to make room for all of the new stuff
she ordered online, just before she quit her job -- and during the
binge-and-purge she discovered a
pink polka-dot T-shirt she'd completely forgotten about. It
had the tags dangling from the collar. She's
wearing it today, along with a pair of pink shorts she
rescued from the Goodwill bag. (She can't seem to decide
which clothes to keep and which clothes to give away, right now.
Work clothes? Or play clothes? Fat
clothes? Or skinny clothes? Tasteful classics that
will stand the test of time? Or Clown College rejects?)
She's accessorized this dazzling *ensemb* with bare feet (huge
Band-Aid on the left big toe, of course) and the dangly abalone
earrings she bought on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, last time she and
David took Jamyi there to visit.
She knows she looks silly. She knows
that if Matt Lauer himself were to knock on the apartment door right
now, she wouldn't answer.
She also knows that she hasn't felt this good in a couple of
Next week ... or the week after next, maybe, or the
week after that ... the job-search efforts begin in earnest. She's
still OK for money, even after paying the rent and the cable and a
monstrous cell phone bill (who knew that downloading all those Cyndi
Lauper ring tones could be
so expensive?), but this state of temporary
solvency isn't going to last much longer. Eventually she's
going to need the security of a regular paycheck rolling in again.
And tomorrow is her first 'real' appointment with the doctor; the
appointment, hopefully, where The Healing
Begins. More on this soon.
the meantime, though, she is enjoying another week or two of
Sleeping in until the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. every morning, and then
catching a nap, two hours later.
Reading the stack of books next to the bed.
Drinking fresh-squeezed juice, made from oranges picked from
the tree in her mother-in-law's backyard. Taking her shower
in the middle of the afternoon, if she feels like it. (Or not
taking one at all, if she DOESN'T feel like it.) Cooking.
Cleaning. Screening her calls. Sitting
outside by the swimming pool with her laptop, pretending to write The
Great American Novel (while in reality she's tinkering with her
résumé). Walking up the street to Blockbuster to
pay her late fees,
stopping at Foster's Freeze for a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone.
Experimenting with silly clothing and makeup combinations.
Listening to music. Not listening to
music. Going for hours, sometimes days, without saying a word
to another human
in the quiet, both
inside and out.
It's not a permanent *fix* to her problems, of course.
real work is just around the corner, and she knows it. But
for the moment, all of this peace and quiet and introspection and
navel-gazing has been like balm to her frazzled soul. She
feels something inside of her loosening up, just the tiniest bit ... as
though she might be on the cusp of The Next
Important Phase of Her Life. It feels sort of OK, actually.
Although -- just between you and me and the bathroom
mirror -- the purple eyeshadow has GOT to go.
to throw a rock?