July 15, 1998

Views From Metropolis


Wendy M. Pfeiffer

Part 7 in a Series

It started with my toenails. Suddenly, after months of polishing, I wanted
to see them clean and natural. Now, I'm not eating dairy. I believe it's
a purification ritual of some sort--perhaps even genetically programmed to
occur at this stage in the development of any childless woman in her
mid-30's. Ah, but the process is "so L.A." that it's almost embarassing.
Can this place really be having this affect on me?

Things are so beautiful here. Each restaurant, bar, or public meeting
place is "designed" to create a mood or evoke a feeling. The beaches and
rolling hills are so beautiful that indoor environments must find a way to
compete, or remain empty. When asking a native to recommend a restaurant,
nail salon, or grocery store, one expects an aesthetic evaluation as part of
the discussion.

The first effect this environment had was to make me feel ugly. I've
struggled for months to reconcile my Silicon Valley business image to this
place. Makeup, hairstyles, clothing--all have changed six times since we
came here. Meanwhile, our lifestyle has slowed, calmed, turned inward to
the spirit and outward to nature. And one day, the red toenails clashed
with the clear blue sky. And the metamorphosis continued....

I can't bear to use hairspray or mousse this week. I've cut all my nails.
I do yoga with aromatherapy candles lit each night to focus on my
breathing. Only whole foods fill our cupboards--foods unchanged from the
way they grow. No animal products--America's meat and dairy processing
operations are so filthy and inhumane.

If it's not a purification process, perhaps it's fear. I've been watching my
mother battle the cumulative physical affects of a lifetime of poor habits.
Nick Nolte looked so old and strung out at Duke's this weekend. He's just
a few years older than I am! Jeff's father has reached an age where he is
forced to move from his retirement property because he is unable to
physically keep up with the basic maintenance. He's just a couple of
decades beyond us! I've seen some wrinkles around my eyes, and my joints
were starting to ache. I am afraid of aging in poor health!

Somehow, this is more, though. It is basic, instinctual, and feels so
easy. My energy is growing with each new day. My lower back no longer
hurts, and I can open jars without assistance. I need just five hours of
sleep each night, and my clothes are getting looser. I look forward to
exercise, to sex, to the sunshine. And still, I'm drawn to the ocean each
day, just to re-connect. Oh wow, could this yuppie become a hippie?

You know, fingernails and toenails are quite beautiful with their rounded
half-moons and smooth surfaces. My skin is clear without makeup, and my
hair looks so healthy and shiny. My neck isn't tight, my jaw doesn't hurt,
and my patience is improving. I wonder if I'm becoming one of the
"beautiful people"? Perhaps exposing myself has been the key all along.

Anyway, that's the view from here.

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