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Music to Your Ears

My admission today is in no way meant to offend those readers who observe different holidays around this time of year. But, I just have to say it somewhere, and it might as well be here.

I love Christmas music. Love. It. I listen to it. All. Year. Long. I sing silly songs at the top of my voice – in the car; in the shower; while working at my desk; walking down the street. I don’t care what anyone thinks. It all just makes me happy, happy, happy.

We own more Christmas music than any other genre, a whole shelf dedicated to the stuff. Surprisingly, very little of it overlaps. We could likely play tunes for hours without hearing the same one twice.

That’s because a lot of it is weird, admittedly. The Reindeer Room. The Pet Shop Boys. French carols. Medieval music. When many folks visit during the holidays, they wonder when I’m actually going to start playing the Christmas music I crow about so much, even though I’ve been playing it all along.

This song is my latest obsession. I recorded it the other day, and I have no idea what it is called or where to get it. It’s a song that just can’t help but make anyone smile.

Is She Still a Slave to Bondage Tights?

Please forgive me, dear readers, for gabbing about pantyhose two days in a row on my blog. I know that many of you visit for the sheer randomness of it, and making it less random renders it more boring. However, the conclusion of the bondage tights saga is simply too good not to tell.

Well fortified with a meat breakfast of salami sandwiches, cheese and a full croissant with butter and jam, I decided to trek back to the department store this morning for the only pair of Wolford’s bondage tights remaining in this large city. The Wolford representative assured me of this only the night before when she directed me to one of two places that might have a pair. I found the smalls at the second place she sent me.

After tossing and turning all night over not buying them, I was ready to commit. Snow was streaming from the heavens as we left the hotel, what looked to my Southern eyes like an almost blizzard. Surely, the snowy loveliness meant that my mummified nylons would still be there?

We arrived at the full-to-bursting-with-humanity Ahlens and trudged to the hosiery section with the determination of starvation victims who hadn’t seen food in weeks. I rounded the corner and spotted the set of drawers that held my hose. I was almost home free.

Until I got there and saw a woman on her hands and knees holding my beloved package in her grubby hands. For close to ten minutes, she sat there on the floor, pawing through the drawers and comparing each and every pair to my bondage tights. She never found a pair that was equal, ponderously putting back each option in favor of my exquisite legwear.

I wanted to scream at her. Or, maybe I just wanted to scream in general. Getting ‘this close’ to having one of the sole remaining pairs of this gorgeous piece of fashion, only to have a  woman in a puffy blue jacket buy them right in front of me was more than I could bear.

Desperately, I started going through all of the drawers again, one by one, hoping for THE miracle – another pair, stuck somewhere, just for me. I am not a patient person, and I am absolutely not a shopper, but I became both in those few minutes, believing that my longing for the thing would make it materialize just for me.

It didn’t work.

Sometime during my minor public meltdown, puffy-jacket-lady decided not to purchase my bondage tights. I was too oblivious in my self-pitying agony to notice this fact. Another woman of Asian description was moving in for the kill. MTM, however, saw her put them back in the drawer at the exact same moment.

The outcome was better than a ‘hail Mary’ pass during the last five seconds of the fourth quarter of a football game between two major rivals, with the score tied and the championship determined by whether someone is on the other end of that spinning pigskin. MTM flung his whole person at that drawer, like the championship was riding on his catching those bondage tights in his hands. When he stood up, he held them out to me, winded and grinning from ear to ear.

And, we ran to the cash register and bought them as fast as we could.

The Sadistic Elusiveness of Bondage Tights

Okay. Okay. MTM dragged me through a sub zero graveyard yesterday, so I got to take him on a wild goose chase today. After we detoured through an architect-designed public library, where I sat. And sat. And sat.

And sat, while he took photos. Then, it was all about me and my latest obsession – Wolford’s Bondage Tights.

I first saw this exquisite piece of hosiery on my new bra quest in September. Practically across the store, a plastic leg stuck straight up in the air, wildly decorated with haphazard cross-hatches of black. Before I knew what had happened, I was standing in front of that leg, so eerily similar to the lamp in “A Christmas Story,” almost dismantling the display to deduce which stocking maker produced it so that I could buy myself a pair.

It was Wolford, a name synonymous with German nylon engineering. (Code for absurdly expensive.) With the resolve of a recovering addict, I walked away from those glorious pantyhose and kept that money firmly in my wallet.

And regretted every molecule of my steely resolve.

I saw them on display again yesterday, and I relapsed. I had to possess them. Had. To.

And, they are nowhere to be found. Some singer wore them in a music video, and now bookies are taking bets on whether the company will produce another run, while yet another outfit is selling futures on the spring collection. It contains a similar looking pair called Hero – which I also liked but couldn’t find in my size, either.

In the very last store we visited, they had one pair. It was a small, concealed in a bottom drawer in the back of another set, surely stashed there by someone else who wants them as desperately as I. All night long, I have waffled back and forth about whether or not said small will fit my bulbous caboose.

Will I end up with my funky bondage tights? If I can get there before anyone else. If the smalls are still there. If they happen to fit. If I can wake up early enough to be at the store first. If I can forego breakfast to shed a few requisite ounces.

All of these ‘ifs’ are leaving me tied up in knots.

Architecture of Death

Just when I think being married to an architect couldn’t get more, ahem, entertaining, I am gobsmacked yet again. I spent the day yesterday riding a train to a remote suburb with MTM. We scurried along a grey stone wall, following it next to a road until it turned right into a gate of sorts, where the road opened up into what looked, to my untrained and tacky eyes, like Antarctica or that scene at the end of the movie “Alive,” where Aaron Neville sings “Ave Maria” as the cross comes into view on a range in the Andes. You know that place: where a plane crashed and they ate each other to stay alive.

MTM the architect took me to a graveyard. Not just any graveyard, mind you. A UNESCO World Heritage site graveyard. A Gunnar Asplund designed graveyard. (I didn’t know who the heck he was, either. Click on the link at his name if you are an ignorant non-architect like me.)

At the entrance to the graveyard is a cavernous sub-zero wind tunnel, I mean, a barren, snow-covered field with a massive stone cross set off-center and flanked by – dare I hope – a building. A modernist building that surely contained heat and some hot cocoa for me to enjoy while MTM flitted around snapping photos of screw details and blades of grass through the snow and handrails and the frame of the sky through a hole in the roof. When I finally dragged my frozen carcass to that building, I was devastated to learn that it did contain heat, off-limits heat for me – because it was the crematorium.  Who designs an inviting crematorium? Except an architect?

I steeled myself for more sub-zero wandering around outside, following MTM down a long drive that acted as – you guessed it – another wind tunnel. Only this time, there were trees on either side to break some of the gale. Or, to contribute to it. I don’t know which would be a more accurate descriptive.

Finally, we came to a snowy path through some trees. I could see a white building with a pointed roof through an archway. Again, my ice-addled brain longed for a hot drink, hopes that were crushed once more when I discovered the little building was a funeral chapel. About fifty photos later – of the outside; a funeral was actually going on inside, making it off-limits for eager architects, even ones that want to hang around until it’s over and pretend to be part of the mourning party just to get a glimpse of interior – we wandered through one of the cemetery ‘rooms.’ MTM glimpsed what he thought must be a significant burial site on the opposite side, and I, who could barely move any limb by this point, begrudgingly followed.

I made it to this amazing promontory, and who do I find buried there but Greta Garbo. Suddenly, this was the best idea MTM had ever had, taking me to see gorgeous Greta Garbo’s grave, with her signature in gold on the headstone. Hyperactively, I took too many photos of my own and gabbed so much that I’m sure I disrupted her alone time.

I forgot that I was freezing. I didn’t want hot cocoa. The wind chill no longer touched me. I stood in the face of acting greatness, and I think it made me appreciate the architecture.

Maybe a little bit.

Fear of the Andra

After an insufferable night of tossing and turning, I’ve awakened thinking I have the right name. Finally.

In Swedish, the word ‘andra’ means ‘other.’ Consequently, I see my name everywhere, not really being used as a name, but as a regularly recurring word. In signs at the museum. In names of stores. In menus. Other. Other. Other.

I’ve always felt like an Other. Perhaps it’s a strange thing to admit, that I haven’t always felt like I fit anywhere, an almost excruciating sense of not belonging. Sometimes, it just starts with saying my name – Andra – and getting back a reeking Not Andra; a “your name is ‘other’ than what I want it to be.”

Oppressive foreignness – disconnectedness from others – not belonging anywhere – all are simmering insecurities I’ve always feared yet known profoundly. Most people choose not to experience the other because it is easier, safer. Because it is unknown and must remain unknown.

Has seeing my name everywhere finally given me a sense of belonging? Not really. But it has made me understand – for the first time – the true reason why ‘Andra’ isn’t such an odd name for me. I no longer fear the Other, because the Other is me.



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