16 June 2005

40-foot ceilings

rudi has been cutting my hair for nine years. I sit myself down in the black vinyl chair and she works her magic while we talktalktalk. she speaks freely about her life and the usual salon drama in a choppy staccato I find hard to resist. awhile back, we were discussing her big move into an old high school that had been converted into loft spaces. I was delighted to hear that many of the original fixtures of the school had been put to creative use. some of the living spaces had the wall-sized original chalkboards and red metal lockers. rudi, however, had taken up residence in the space that used to be the gymnasium. she excitedly told me about how her floors still had the painted lines from the basketball court and because it had once been an old gym, it had a wonderfully open and spacious feeling to it. her words fluttered around me and I felt my envy and fascination grow to epic proportions. I was already attempting to decorate the space in my mind. I wondered what that might be like, transforming part of an old high school gymnasium into a personable, livable space. so I asked her about it and she abruptly stopped her snipping and looked at me.

"hello, hi. FORTY-FOOT CEILINGS."

she continued on with her sharp little scissors and started in on a different topic.

and I've always thought, yes. yes, that kind of sums up certain life situations. as in, hey lady on the street, you really think you can pull off those bright orange hot pants? hello, hi. FORTY-FOOT CEILINGS. as in, you really think you can fit your car into that parking space, homie? hello, hi. FORTY-FOOT CEILINGS. as in, you think we can keep this house in a less-than-disastrous condition for more than three seconds? HELLO, HI. FORTY-FOOT CEILINGS.

10 comments:

  1. sounds so familiar that type of conversation - and you wrote it so well - i like the way you write it like you're right there. the idea of you already decorating the space in your head - sounds so familiar to me - i do the same - in fact i do alot of that just before i fall asleep - i had to laugh at your exact thoughts.

    on the subject - 40-foot ceilings - i've had a few of those in my life - ha - they are pretty funny when they happen. what was i thinking?

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  2. I am so loving this post. I think I've got myself a new catchphrase. :D Thanks!

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  3. totally know what you mean. I always wanted to live in a school actually partially b/c I love learning and there's some type of mystery there, and odd sort of quietness, stillness, and peacefullness that's not suppose to be there after everyone has left. I wanted a room to myself, and/or access to the stage and sound system so I can dance my heart out! and not get yelled at for making noise. I loved my high school. All of its hallways were covered in paintings from local people who have since passed or local artists, I'm sure some have to be from people outside of the area. I have always felt fortunate going to a high school that was a mini art gallery or museum to some extent. The principal at the time put a great emphasis on fine arts and equality.

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  4. That would be my dream house! A basketball court for the living room. Watch a little TV and occasionally loft a soft jumper from the couch to the rim! I love that catch phrase, though!

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  5. so poetic. Thanks for sharing!
    We have a friend who bought an abandoned elementary school to use as his home. It is sooooooo friggin cool. (literally, it costs a million $ to heat in the winter) I would die and go to heaven if I got that opportunity!

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  6. this post is awesome, made me laugh. you're a great story teller..

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  7. Ha you have totally started something.
    I'm so fitting that into my daily conversation :) AND you are such a GREAT writer. I love it. You really need to have a column!

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  8. Seriously funny.
    Insightful.
    "Can you have that back on my desk before you leave today?"
    Hello. Hi. 40 foot ceilings.
    "I told you to leave a piece of cake for your brother. Can't you just eat one piece?"
    Hello. Hi. 40 foot ceilings.
    "You don't have to make that CD perfect, Lane will never notice the difference if you put that song there or that song there ... aren't you wasting your time?"
    Hello. Hi. 40 foot ceilings.

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  9. You all should hear how Rudi originally said it, and how Andrea now has adopted it as her own. "Hello? Hi! FORTY-FOOT CEILINGS!!!" As in, sheesh, don't you know? What are you, stupid?

    Andrea drove me crazy for a whole month after that first fateful day Rudi uttered the phrase. If Rudi only knew....

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