When you’re in high school, I’m pretty sure you have a license to change your entire persona over a 3 day weekend, and not just once – the possibilities are endless: Goth, glam, hip-hop, emo, band geek, jock, don’t mess with me or I’ll kick your a$$ ’cause I’m wearing steel toed boots (which btw can also effortlessly transition into the punk look paired with a graphic tee), surfer, skater, or full facial hair: I’m a dad and I don’t need any more accessories other than this beard look. I can remember being a full blown prep when I started my freshman year, complete with rolled jean shorts and striped Gap tees. But something about that President’s Day weekend in February of ’95 gave me pause to reflect on just exactly who I was, or more importantly (let’s be honest), who everyone else thought I was. So on Tuesday, after a weekend bicycle ride listening to NOFX on my walkman which immediately lead me to St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop & Kmart for a wardrobe makeover, I became a punk rock girl. Baggy jeans, white hanes t-shirts and skate shoes. I don’t remember anyone really looking at me differently in English class, because chances are, they were too consumed with what I was thinking about their Presidents’ Day transformation.
Wasn’t high school amazing in that way? It was like a 4 year long costume party.
I was thinking about this over the last few weeks, because as a matter of fact, I just went through another Presidents Day weekend makeover. Transitioning away from the whole “chemo patient” look which got pretty old, into more of a rootsy/boho/tree hugger look. Let me explain.
I began radiation a few weeks ago, more precisely it’s called Proton Therapy. I did not get past high school algebra (Anthropology major eh hem!) so I did not catch much of the very confusing information coming at me about triangulating beams, trigonometry angles and so forth. Frankly, it sounded a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wha wha wha! But what I did hear was this: No bra, no shaving of arm pits, no wearing of deodorant. For six weeks. A month and a half.
So let me get this straight – for the last 5 months, when I looked like a peruvian hairless dog, I would’ve cried tears of joy to see one measly under arm hair sprout; shoot, I probably would’ve even settled for a rogue chin whisker. But now that I finally have hair, you are telling me that I cannot shave my arm pits for 6 weeks?!?! Or wear deodorant? For the love of Pete!
If this weren’t about me, then this hilarious irony would be downright snortable. For the last 3 weeks, and for the following 3 weeks, 5 days a week, I get to lay down on my proton beam table under something called a gantry (It’s sort of like getting an MRI). And naturally, the technicians (there are 3 of them) are almost always male, almost always 30ish, and almost always cute. And every day, I get to show them my ever increasing commitment to my new treehugger look, by raising my arms over my head while they break every “personal space” rule by leaning down within inches of my ever growing/flourishing armpit area to
bury place their teeny tiny x-ray sticker on my skin. I keep thinking they might be one of those thoughtful, well meaning people who instead of casually saying “Would you care for a breath mint?” to the guy with the awful halitosis – they’re going to say “I heard Target is running a sale on razors and Secret, you should totally check it out!” But of course they don’t.
So we suffer silently together.
At least it’s not Florida in July.