Another non-li.st list about my day. I want to write more in this High Mom Diary, but I’m feeling lazy, so, without further ado, here are some thoughts/insights/experiences/etc. from my Tuesday:
I had a stoned epiphany tonight about Enrique and beauty.
Funny thing happened today. Well, I guess it technically happened at Ms. Mahogany’s baby shower last Friday, but the funny part happened today.
Enrique had taken a bunch of photos of the work crew at the shower, which was especially lovely because, per the success of my office coup, we’re moving offices sometime this week. So while this means saying goodbye to people we love and genuinely care for, for me, it also means closure with my high school nemesis. To be honest, I was quite surprised when she showed up to the baby shower because (1) she doesn’t really know Ms. Mahogany, and (2) she fucking hates me. But no, she walked in, sauntered passed me, and in a moment caught in the lens of Enrique’s camera, my face reflected my bemusement.
“You look slightly unhinged,” he told me this morning, as we sorted through the album he had posted on the shared drive. I couldn’t stop laughing at my eyes, my smirk, the painted expression of a woman with a lot of petty thoughts on her mind. I later emailed the photo of my face and the sole picture of Anaid to Mr. D, with the note, “Enrique says he loves how I’m slightly unhinged in the first photo, but it’s only because my nemesis walked right past! She smiles for him though…” Mr. D didn’t respond, but Enrique followed up with a close-up shot of Anaid and one line: “THAT’S a smile???!!!”
God, I wish I had Mark Bowden‘s gift of description. Or Enrique’s casually biting honesty. The Kelly Kapowski of my high school… no longer looks like Kelly Kapowski. In fact, she looks quite feral. The combination of her face and his caption had me laughing so hard a coworker had to shut the door. I’m not doing a good enough job explaining the hilarity of it, so I’ll update this post later with an addendum from Enrique. (Speaking of which, Enrique is totally complicit in my blog, just in case Ivanka’s reading and needs help understanding the word).
Anyway, it was hilarious, and I brought it up with Mr. D tonight, and he called Enrique’s email mean (which always makes me wonder if he ever really fucked Anaid, which I know he never did, although I could totally see how he could have once wanted to, because there was a time when she was Kelly Kapowski Hot). But anyway, I told him how I couldn’t stop laughing, and I asked if my Facebook post was petty. (The same photo of myself, after Anaid walked directly in front of me, her body turned away, face hidden from the camera, along with the caption: “That face you make when your nemesis walks past,” and customized mood: “feeling slightly unhinged, but in a harmless and friendly way.”
Ms. Mahogany saw the post and reprimanded me online, writing my name in caps locks, followed by an exclamation mark. My high school BFF wrote: “You’re bad” with two unhinged slanty face emojis and one “laughing in tears” emoji. I responded to my high school friend–but more broadly, to everyone looking at the post–with my meager justification: “The question literally haunted my dreams! For years, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and ask Mr. D why this person hated me, and even today, I have no answers. But I harbor no ill will! Just some slightly unhinged curiosity…”
I wanted to talk about Anaid tonight, but Mr. D was not trying to entertain me. He called her photo “unfortunate,” and I agreed but added, “Enrique just has a gift for taking truly awful photos of people.” To be fair, he also takes some great ones; he just has a knack for capturing reality’s stark ugliness. It’s a skill that suits the persona of a man who says things like “We’re all doomed,” when reading the news.
Enrique is like an Asian tourist with his camera. For instance, we celebrated the completion of one of our big work projects by taking the day off and getting stoned at the Reading Terminal Market last fall. After devouring Dienner’s roast chicken and contemplating the universe, we pottered around the various markets until his bulky camera bag almost knocked over a tray of overpriced essential oils. We could have been very high, or he might just be an obnoxious Asian tourist trapped in the body of a grizzled former journalist. Hard to say.
Anyway, Enrique takes God-awful photos of people. Including me. There’s one from the conference last month, and I look like a man undergoing an exorcism. This atrocious image is followed immediately by one of me looking more feminine, but also like a woman who has just farted herself into an orgasm. The only thing more embarrassing than my three chins is the fact that nothing in the keynote panel was even worthy of such ugly laughter.
But I digress. I’m drunk writing now. No longer stoned, but definitely tipsy… tipsy plus. Testing out some Ernest Hemingway shit. What was I writing about? Enrique as a photographer? He took a brutally horrific photo of the Duck from the baby shower, and it was so bad I felt guilty for laughing at it over the weekend.
I started thinking of beauty tonight. Of thoughts I’ve had since this weekend, when I began an essay (still unpublished) about race, gender, skin color, frenemies, interracial couples, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and some other scattered but somehow connected thoughts. I discussed some of them with Mr. D’s Jamaican-Indian-Chinese friend, Mr. T, who made a particularly insightful comment about race and perception, in which he said he never thought of himself as black until recently, in college, when he realized others perceived him as black, and then questioned whether that knowledge changed his perception of himself. (I’m going to interview him for a longer post on the topic).
Anyway, the bulk of my thoughts and conversation with Mr. T can basically be summarized in these two posts–the first of which is about Beyoncé. Then that got me thinking of Beyoncé, how her beauty is such a fundamental part of her appeal, and how she should have just kept it real and unapologetic with those Buzzfeed pictures.
When we drove down to the conference in February, I asked Enrique if he thought women shooed away from intellectual pursuits, or something along those lines. I’m drunkish now, but my question at the time had something to do with the Kardashian-esque-ness of my gender, to which Enrique responded: “beauty is easy power.”
Is that why I want to be beautiful? I guess that brings me to my next epiphany.