# of pages written: 6, and I feel good about them
# of days left to write 1st draft: 117
The other day my friend Stefan and I were having a rather impassioned (impassioned on my end, at least) discussion of intimate female grooming, and I was arguing that the porn industry has perpetuated a false notion of what the private styling habits are for normal women. This topic then morphed into a discussion of high maintenance versus low maintenance girls.
“I always think high maintenance means rich girls,” Stefan said.
“No. It means girls who wear a lot of make-up and use fancy bath products and spend a long time getting ready,” I said.
“Oh, yeah. My ex-girlfriend was like that.”
“I think I’m medium-maintenance,” I said. “Nikki, though, she’s very low-maintenance. She just combs her hair, throws on some clothes, and is ready to go. She doesn’t wear any make-up, ever.”
“Why would she?” Stefan asked. “She’s really cute without it.”
If you maintain something, like a motorcycle, you are caring for it and keeping it in good working order so that it performs at its optimum level. Motorcycle maintenance means you pay attention to strange noises, routinely check the engine, replace parts when needed, and that you are careful not to do things you know might harm the motorcycle, like riding for too long in extreme heat.
If we think about maintenance that way, Nikki is actually very high-maintenance. She works hard to care for herself, pay attention to her needs, and keep everything in good working order – mind, body, and soul.
It’s a running joke at our house that whenever we sit down to dinner, Nikki will say, “this is very healthy for you.” Nikki is careful about what she puts into her body. She rarely eats sugar, she eats tons of fresh fruit and vegetables, and she will often admonish me for not eating enough protein.
She’s also interested in maintaining her mind – she’s been much more diligent about reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance than I have. And she maintains her soul. She meditates regularly and reads spiritual books. She is in tune with her body and thoughts and emotions – she listens to herself. And it’s not only her mind, body, and soul that she’s maintaining. She also works at maintaining her relationships, her household, her finances.
In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the narrator’s friends, Silvia and John, don’t know anything about their own motorcycle. When something is wrong, they take it to a mechanic; they just don’t want to deal with the hassle of learning how to maintain it. The narrator finds this both frustrating and fascinating, especially now that they have all embarked on a cross-country bike ride.
I think that a lot of people are the same way with themselves. Oh, sure, they know they should eat better, or read more, or try to think about deeper thoughts, but it all seems like a hassle – they don’t have time for it. They don’t listen to the warning signs, and they don’t do things that could prevent larger problems on down the road. Then, when something does brakes down, they don’t know how to fix it on their own.
I still think I’m medium-maintenance, even with this new definition. I try to eat healthy and exercise – I’ve definitely been doing more of both ever since I moved to Cape Cod – but I still eat ice cream every day, and I’m getting ready to go drink a beer. I read and listen to podcasts to improve my mind, but I also sometimes watch bad movies or spend time on facebook. So I’m not totally high-maintenance yet.
And the hardest component is maintenance of the soul. How, exactly, do you do that? What are the tools you need? How can you listen for funny noises that might signify a problem? Maybe it differs for everyone. Maintanence of the soul can mean meditating, writing in a journal, taking a quiet walk, riding a motorcycle, talking to a friend, doing math, watching the moonrise, praying, crying, laughing, breathing, being…
I suppose I’m trying a little bit of everything to figure out the best method of soul-maintenance for me.
It has just occurred to me that Stefan and I did not discuss the strange, female-intimate-maintenance strategy of vajazzling. What a missed opportunity! I feel a discussion on this topic can only help to improve the maintenance of my mind!