Busto- and Lip-Inflated
Blow-Arriba Dolls
Pero unfortunately, less than twenty-four hours after my latest solemn vows to be ABOVE IT ALL, in the ritzy (I mean: YSL, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Ron Herman, D&G, ad nauseum) shop windows I caught a glimpse of myself bajo las despiadadas luces fluorescentes del mall and harshly judged myself as wanting. Al mirarme con ojo crítico (what other kind do I have, la neta?), I looked haggard. ¡Mi peor fobia! Definitely not hip. Mis cabellos, my dizque crowning gloria de rulos castaños, de repente se miraban straggly, almost dweedly. Peor, of no color found en la naturaleza. What is that orange? OMG: hay que poner a Raimundo Riojas, mi peluquero, on speed-dial. Joder. Para colmo me sentía, de repente, horribly underdressed compared to the multitudes of teensy, coltish O.C. Asian or (equally teensy pero tambien) pneumatically busto- and lip-inflated, blow-arriba dolls, las blonde, suburban socialite housewives who frequent South Coast Plaza.

I cursed my need for gafas (even if Prada), really, hay que admitirlo, pretty much 24/7 now. Porque me parece que me ofuscan mi "mejor" feature: los ojos. Bueno, at least they used to be. Digo, mi best feature. I also cursed my indigo velvet DKNY pants, inherited from Tommy McGhee (pareja de Raphy), which I always thought made me look so louche, digámoslo, tan directamente hot in Argentina. Pero ayer, in those South Coast Plaza store vitrinas, I saw them for what they are: baggy in the nalga and then falling unfashionably straight, casi PEG-legged. Uf! ¡Chale! Definitivamente out y poco flattering.

What was I thinking? Los había estado guardando. I'd hung on, clung on to them cual náufrago a life raft durante los dos años of my discontent, of my metabolic slowdown and concomitante blimpificación, debida a las fucking beta-blockers (único grave error del otherwise superlative Dr. Scott: recetarme esas malditas pahtishas). I had been waiting, biding my time till I could once again pull them on in all their baggy glory y sentirme sylphlike, sexy. Like I did in the southern hemisphere. Y ahora, I can. Que health diet, yoga, cero martini lunches y sobre todo, sobre todo, mis health walks, three, four, a veces five times a week. Five kilometers de speed walking y hasta running, in little bursts (a esto lo llaman interval training, me lo dijo mi advisee la Elaine McGlaughlin, experta runner: debo recordarlo) until my lungs swell to bursting and words combine and rub and jostle, exploding in my brain, sentidos y poros abienos to the sight of a sudden, whirling hawk, a startling whiff of damp skunk grass, or to pods and buds everywhere abriéndose en la too-early primavera last winter y ahora, a las curled brown leaves scuttling underfoot en la extrema sequedad de lo que se llama invierno aquí en SoCal these days.

I can pull those velvet trousers on again. They slip on with ease, not digging or clinging anywhere. You'd, think I'd be satisfied. Sobre la luna, de hecho, ¿no? Pero you know me: me miré en esos fucking funhouse mirror shop windows and just thought: ugh. Me veo como alguna especie de weird Tyrolian troll.

Anygüey, another bajón: todos los sit-down restaurants have departed South Coast Plaza. Años ha desapareció the Magic Pan, the San Francisco-based creperie that for years soothingly me recordaba los student days, en la UC-Irvine, cuando iba a South Coast Plaza con mi amiga Eisa Saucedo, just to ogle las para nosotras then untouchable (OK, except for Judy's! También long-gone . . .) vitrinas and lunch on creamed-spinach crepes. Ayer vinimos a descubrir que Troquet has also closed. Just recently. ¡Coño! I mean, that restaurant was an institution.

Pierre teorizó que maybe it was giving people los willies --- giving off vaguely rasquache vibes, you know --- la idea de frecuentar un ritzy, sit-down restó in a mall. Anygüey, Troquet had been there for years, for aeons sin que la gente tuviera esa asociación. Pero a mí se me hace que the mall's days are numbered, ¿qué no? Quiero decir malls in general. Como institución. Los shopping, como les dicen en Argentina. Y este thought me pone bien melancólica, somehow.

--- From Scenes from la
Cuenca de Los Angeles

Susana Chávez-Silverman
©2010 University of Wisconsin Press
Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH