VIEWPOINT: Let’s Redefine What Is “Essential”

Practicing cutting the dog’s hair before attempting mine.

“Step it up and shut it down,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in a coronavirus press conference yesterday (Tuesday). “Or we will shut it down.”

He was speaking about the nonessential businesses in Los Angeles. Governor Gavin Newsom also chimed in, asking most businesses to shut—but surprisingly he deemed pot shops as essential.

Now I don’t want to debate about whether smoking dope or consuming medicinal pot is essential, but I think it’s time to take a second look at other businesses that many of us know are essential.

Leg waxing is absolutely essential. When I wore shorts outside the other day, one of my neighbors took a double take. She was a phone call away from reporting a Yeti to animal services.

Women know there are do-it-yourself wax packages, which can be picked up at drugstores (which are open because they are essential). But just as I wouldn’t try to add any kind of fluid to my car (fortunately garages are still deemed essential), I know that hot strips of wax can be dangerous.

After dropping one on the floor, wrong side down, and then scrapping it up, only for the dog getting stuck in it, and my husband threatening to put the whole thing on YouTube (but he was laughing too hard to video) made me realize how “essential” waxing services should be considered. For the foreseeable future I will be wearing long pants.

Hair dye and haircuts—absolutely essential services. Once again there are different over-the-counter dyes/tints. First, do I go lighter or darker? Since I’m not sure what my real color is anymore, does it matter?

The instructions on the box of dye recommend gloves—difficult to find during this medical emergency. Then there’s a certain art to applying the stuff. I dropped the bottle in my sink, and normally I wouldn’t have thought twice about using toilet paper or paper towels to clean it up, but…I can proudly say “I am not a hoarder.”

Here’s a thought: maybe we could dye the coronavirus? Then we’d know who has it and who to avoid.

As far as cutting my own hair, I used to practice on my Barbie. She’s been bald for decades. I also have two dogs and nail scissors, and as soon as I get a straight trim on one of them, I’ll give it a go. I own a hat.

Then there’s exercise – essential. Gyms are closed, parks are closed, but online activities are increasing. My daughter has hooked me up with pure barre online. A cross between yoga, ballet and strength training, it can best be described as an hour of pure torture in the comfort of my own living room.

The lithe 20-year-olds leading the exercises on my computer screen are in excellent shape. They wear form-fitting, exercise outfits and short tops that display toned arms and legs, and a nicely muscled abdominal area.

The reason their stomach muscles are so defined is this exercise involves about 15 minutes of straight ab workouts. These women are pros and have been doing this every day of their adult lives.

I gamely try to keep up—but after being pregnant three times (one a cesarean), I’ve discovered those muscles have migrated to some other part of my body. I’m not sure where. As we know from a physics law of conservation, “mass can neither be created nor destroyed” but can be rearranged in space.

I skipped class today, I ached everywhere, and it had nothing to do with a virus, but rather I have now awoken muscles that have lain dormant since college.  They are not happy.

Now my daughter tells me we’ll try a yoga on-line class tonight. I would like to tell her I have a meeting, but…

You may see me on the street, hunched over, sore from trying to do new exercises, streaks in the hair (what’s left of it) and brown-dyed hands, muttering about redefining the word “essential.”

In the meantime, I leave you with the latest social greeting: “Stay Safe.” And if my attempts at home grooming are any indication, the home may not be the safest place to be.


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3 Responses to VIEWPOINT: Let’s Redefine What Is “Essential”

  1. Nina Kudd says:

    Delightful, Sue!
    Keep it up!
    Luckily our mayor isn’t smart enough to figure out how to shut humor down!

  2. Mary M Petersen says:

    That was great! I laughed out loud numerous times. It seems to me that it points up an essential part of getting through this strange, exasperating time–keep your sense of humor.

  3. Rosalie says:

    Thank you for the laughs, Sue! We needed this!

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