the Play mode

When we were young pre-teens my sister and I would watch the movie Top Gun over and over again… repeatedly playing that *VHS movie so many times  that I am sure the tape finally got too thin to watch. We came to a point in our Top Gun phase that we knew that movie by heart, we could say the lines by rote and quote it when it seemed necessary. There came a point when certain scenes became boring, so we could fast forward through the boring scenes and skip ahead to our favorites. This is the in the days before you could go to scene selection or skip chapter by chapter. This was when you had to watch every scene in fast motion, or if you were rewinding you would get the joy of watching it move backward. Our favorite scene, the scene we ALWAYS fast fowarded to was the Volley ball scene. (All the women of the Top Gun generation know this particular scene!) This is the scene when Ice man (Val Kilmer) poses for the perfect ‘bump’ shirtless and beautiful. I can still see it in my minds eye. I can’t tell you how often we skipped ahead to see Val with no shirt, but I can tell you that’s probably the place in the tape that broke first. I mention this because life sometimes feels like I am a player in a movie that was being fast forwarded and paused at certain scenes. Today, we got up, ran through the motions of getting showered, dressed and fed, then Tim and I hopped on the motorbike and raced down to Sick Kids for a meeting with the Psychologist, (results were good – that’s another post), then we raced home. I grabbed Kaleb and went running back out the door to make sure we had our shopping done for the week. We ran through the list in record time and I had him home in time for his nap, at which point I ran to the subway station and hopped the train to my next location. THE SPA! This is the point in the movie that everything returns to normal speed. I walked in and the motion stopped, the music slowed and as I lay down to receive a hot stone massage I felt the tension of the day melt away. After the massage my facial began, I was totally relaxed, barely conscious actually. The music was playing softly, every muscle relaxed, my face being treated to all the things that is great about being a woman… and then I hear the faintest whisper ‘Laurie, what’s your pain tolerance?’.. hear the screeching sound of the tape coming to a complete stop… listen closely and you might here the tape rip! My once relaxed muscles tightened and my closed eyes opened, bright light filled the room and … I laughed. What? She covered my eyes again with the cloth and said ‘it’s time for the extraction, what is your pain tolerance.’

Now, I have had a facial before, I know about this part of the facial, the part where they get all those nasty, tiny little white heads or  black heads that usually rest in the creases of the nose area. I have had this done before. However, never has it been called “THE EXTRACTION” before, and never have I had to worry about my pain tolerance? Was my face so awful that they were calling for new recruits to help with the terrifying OP?  She told me to relax and I smirked at her. Easy to say when your the one wielding a weapon on the poor unsuspecting victim on your table! I clenched my hands together, feeling very much like I might need to pay her when this was done for another hot stone massage to relax after this. She began the process, a couple sharp pushes near my nose and it was done… I kept waiting for her to start again, I mean, surly she wouldn’t call it an extraction unless there was some serious crud to extract right? Asking a woman at the spa what her pain tolerance is (unless she’s there to be waxed of course) is just not on… unless you plan to bring on the pain! Am I right?

The tape picked up again here, the skipping stopped and normal play resumed as continued to massage my face, my head and neck. After all was said I done she got me into the infrared sauna and there I sat for next 45 minutes to relax and shake off the ‘toxins’ of life. I spent the time in the sauna realizing that I don’t ever relax, this is a new concept to me, sitting for three hours doing nothing but being rubbed down and treated to some general pampering (minus the war zone scene). Even in the sauna I had to actually force myself to sit and enjoy rather than check the time, my email, respond to voice mails. When did I become this woman who just doesn’t relax? That’s not me at all!

The sauna ended, I showered, opened the door to the main room in the salon and it’s like someone had their finger resting just above the fast forward button again. I could hear the noise of the street, the faint and distant music at Dundas Square, the sirens to the west of us, and the general hustle and bustle of life outside this building. I payed the girl, said thank you and dared to turn on my phone which started alarming me about people who needed attention. I stopped just outside the building and looked around for a moment, (the person seems to have decided on one last moment before the fast forward gets hit). I feel different, rested, relaxed, seperate from the craziness for this last moment. I walk to the lights and the realize how late I am for dinner at my parents in-laws place, the kids and Tim are already there. I pick up the pace, weaving through people to get to the Eaton Center station, I pass by the musicians, I see the street preformers and smile at the Spiderman doing his poses, and couldn’t help but wish that Josh was there to see this, I walked past the doors that hold the memorial to the shooting that happened there just one week ago.

Life is in fast forward… everyday is people moving around at absurd rates of speed, none stopping for too long to think about the time when the play button was actually being used. I miss the play button, I miss living the moment as it happens, not just remembering it, but living it. Days like today (or yesterday now) are rare and beautiful (despite the extractions) and it reminded me to try a little harder to live in the play mode, allowing the tape to play at it’s normal pace, not trying to skip the boring scenes or the ‘been there done that’ scenes and not trying to rewind and pause at the ‘volleyball scenes’. My guess is, all the fast forwarding and rewinding wrecks the tape faster than just letting it play through.

*VHS – an ancient form of movie that requires tape, is housed in a large rectangle, takes loads of space on the shelf, frequently unwinds, breaks or skips, and ALWAYS ages the person who actually admits to using it!


Published by lauriehaughton

Author & Photographer

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