Monday, March 18, 2019

The Rest is Herstory

If we established anything this weekend, it's that I'm not hermit material.

I'm not talking about just living alone and away from people, even though I'll admit that's what I thought a hermit was until Saturday night.

It began innocently enough. Mr. Wright and I had plans to have dinner and see a play with Pru and Beau. No big deal. Then Beau asks if we mind if he brings a work cohort. Of course we don't mind. Next he shares that his friend is a former Benedictine monk. Well, as long as he knows he's breaking bread with a band of heathens, I'm fine with it.

But then, after we dodge green-wearing drunks wandering away from Shamrock the Block to get to Peter Chang's, we get the full story. He wasn't just a Benedictine monk, he was a hermit. As in, living away from society. Whoa. And he was part of a hermitage that was silent. As in, zero talking.

And even that's not the reason I'm not hermit material.

It was when he explained about the one meal, two snacks a day rule that I knew with the utmost certainty that I was not cut out for the hermetic life.

Go without three square meals a day plus snacks in service of religious beliefs? Don't make me laugh.

Why, just last week I said something to Mac about our healthy appetites and she was quick with the facts. "You can eat more than I can," she reminded me. She wasn't wrong.

Just yesterday, Mr. Wright and I drove out to the Kilmarnock Inn to have brunch with my favorite sister, her family and my parents, a meal planned to celebrate my Mom's birthday the day before. Now, mind you, we were meeting at 10:30 for brunch, but we had to be up at an ungodly 8 a.m. to make the drive.

So naturally, we had breakfast before we left. As I'm diving into my Stack the Votes (a plate of four enormous pancakes with bacon), I casually mention having had breakfast earlier and Mom laughs in surprise. "Karen!" she says, like I need a good scolding.

I remind her, not for the first time given the length of our relationship, that I can't function for three hours from waking up to having my pancakes placed in front of me, so I did the logical thing and ate first.

What's the fuss about?

I might also point out that after Beau's buddy explained hermit life, he also reminded us that he'd abandoned it. The fascinating part was that apparently being a hermit, even for only a while, gives you a lifetime pass to stay at a monastery should you ever want to.

That's because being a monk, even short-term, makes you a monk forever.

When presented with such unlikely information, all I can say is, pass the scallion bubble pancake.

Unfortunately, the ex-hermit couldn't accompany us to see "In My Chair" at Cadence Theater because the show was sold out, so after a stop at Bar Solita for dessert - in my case, double chocolate cake and Tawny Port - he thanked us for a delightful evening and vanished back to California and the IT security world.

The play we'd come to see had grown out of a TED talk actress and make-up artist Eva deVirgilis had created. Seems every time she has a woman in her makeup chair, the first thing the woman does is apologize.

For her bad hair, for the bags under her eyes, for her thin lips, for everything she can think of that's not perfect about her. Eva calls this "sorryosis" and set out around the globe to talk to women about changing beauty standards, self-esteem and body image.

And, just for the record, I hadn't even realized we were into fourth wave feminism.

Then she came back to take to the stage and make women aware of what she'd been told. She did it through vignettes using the accents and comments of women in her chair. She did it through the arguments she has with her un-confident inner self, who she nicknamed Norma after normative discontent. She did it through interactions with the audience.

Along the way, she shared her life story, including the part where she had to put up with a controlling boyfriend before meeting the love of the life, who also happened to be sitting in the front row that night, cheering her on.

Once during a Patriots' game, she'd asked him if he'd ever been body shamed, but he said no, other than being called short (which he is), he never had. I can't imagine there's a woman who hasn't been body shamed at least once in her life and probably more often than that.

Eva touched on many related issues, probably none so important as when she talked about accepting compliments, something many women, myself included, do poorly. "A compliment is a tiny gift someone brought to you," she explained. "Why would you drop kick it?"

Why, indeed? I had to admit, there's no good answer for that and I left hoping that's one bad habit I can unlearn.

Last night, Mr. Wright and I closed out the James River Film Festival by strolling over to Gallery 5 for the Silent Music Revival, but only after chowing down on fish tacos at Tarrant's Back Door. Don't tell my Mom, but it was technically my fourth meal of the day.

The thing is, when your first is at 8:15 and your second at 11 a.m., you've got to have something in the afternoon to tide you over until tacos show up at 7:30, am I right?

Life in the hermitage, clearly not for me.

Showing tonight was Jean Vigo's "Zero for Conduct," a 1933 French short film that was immediately banned for its content, with live music provided by the Wimps, whose lounge-like '60s vibe somehow made for the ideal accompaniment to French boys tying up their teacher, trashing their dormitory and marching through the streets victoriously.

Vigo was moved to make the film because of the repressive days he'd spent in a boarding school where he suffered with mean teachers. frequent punishments and, wait for it, insufficient food.

There you have it. Deny a person food and they might make a subversive film or they could return to the dark underbelly of IT security. Either way, they're hungry.

I'm better off just eating as frequently as possible. As for apologizing for my appetite, no sorryosis here.

No comments:

Post a Comment