Postcard from Maui

Before dawn, the crashing waves popped like fireworks, snapping and fizzing out into raucous birdsong that ultimately woke us. Then, a leaf blower. Then coffee. The beach rolled out ahead of us, as soft as Berber carpet, and we laid upon it while the sun, like a god, made us bronze. Near sunset we scaled the craggy rocks that broke the beach in two and, for a little while, observed the human animal in its habitat au naturel. When we snorkeled, we saw a single fish–it was alone, skimming along the scalloped seafloor, its body so clear you could see right through it. It wasn’t any kind of metaphor–I assured you of that, and as the sun fell behind the island, I memorized your face in its honey glow.

Postcard from Maui

The soapy-clean scent of lavender thickens the air here. In the woods, a rooster crows again and again, but no one answers. Our car exhales a long breath of smoke into the nearby clouds and we let her rest from the long ride up. Cars snake along the switchbacks to the mountaintop slowly, like toys. Below us, the island’s waist tapers where the north and south shores long to touch one another. Beyond that, I can’t really say what there is. Some water, then nothing.

Postcard from Maui

Surfing is the oldest form of matrimony known to humankind. The surfer’s relationship to the wave is one of interdependence: without the surfer, the wave has no purpose; without the wave, the surfer has no purpose. It’s a precarious but happy marriage. Beneath this lurks a secret. For while the wave will lift you up and carry you to shore, it does so because it knows more often than not, you’ll fall into its open mouth. It wants to taste you, even for a second. Even though you taste very, very salty.

Postcard from Maui

The horizon dissipated into fog, the way an Etch-a-Sketch loses its marks with just a simple shake: the island was there, then gone. Then the ocean was gone. Then the trees fuzzed in and out of clarity like uncertain ghosts. And then rain: thick braids of it rolling in the street. When it stopped, we’d found the lava fields where the red stain of lavablood had long been dried. In the tide pools, crabs assessed us guardedly. They were wise to be so cautious. When the mountain goats appeared on the path, they pretended we weren’t there. In another context, a workshop participant would claim this metaphor was too heavy handed to come at the end of the tale.

Postcard from Maui

The ocean in my mouth is a salty, salty pretzel. I fell into the wave and you laughed, then fell under yourself. The ocean’s essentially an equalizer that way. On a nearby island, rain fell in a billow of sheer curtain. A three-legged dog chased a stick on the beach while we swam, then skipped into the surf. The sun overhead dimmed for a romantic dinner somewhere; we were not invited. Our feet disappeared into slippers of sand. We wore them like dance shoes. We wore them like fins.

Alotta Vagaga

On Monday Beau and I went to the Lady Gaga show in Richmond. It was awesome.

I know that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Gaga, and those who think she’s gaga. I’m clearly in the first camp, but don’t disparage those who won’t join me (so do me the same respect by not leaving your snarky comments here).

The show opened with a short film starring Gaga, called Who Shot Candy Warhol? Gaga combs her hair with a Hello Kitty brush while answering an interviewer’s questions. The whole thing is very Truffaut, until somebody gets shot! In the heart! Gaga appeared onstage in all her pant(y)less glory and sang Paparazzi. And she danced. And she was actually singing while she danced. It was impressive, and authentic, and fun.

Gaga is an ethusiastic performer. After each number, she’d chit chat with the audience, telling us how wonderful her fans were and how excited she was to be there. I think she kind of got off on being on stage, though, because while singing, she’d intermittently shout, “Scream!” And the audience would scream. Or “Hold your guns in the air and shoot ’em” (during “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich”). She loved telling us what to do…and then watching us do it.

The show was sparse, stripped down. The set was almost austere as far as pop shows go, and she only had three back up dancers, three men who’d been traveling with her for two years. The biggest set piece was a real scooter they pushed her in on before she sang “LoveGame.”

Yes. She wore the bubble dress, for a while. She wore it while she played the lucite piano and sang stripped down (pun intended) versions of “Brown Eyes” and “Poker Face.”

Although the show was fun, it was short. No opening act (yay!). She didn’t sing all the songs on her album (losers included “Paper Gangsta” and “I Like It Rough”). But she gave 110% to what she did do, and, like a honest-to-real diva, she showed up 60 minutes late for the show.

But, she said she was sorry.