One-sy

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I have a new onesy. It’s a fleece-lined sweat suit that you step into and zip up. It’s olive-green and zips past your collar-bone, your nose, and all the way up to the tip of your head. They include a warning label that plainly states: “don’t keep the zipper closed over extended periods of time.” That same label also warns against skateboarding, lighting cigarettes, and trying to watch movies with the zipper fully closed.

I bought it because someone at the dog run has one. She showed me hers while we shared a patch of sunshine. She said it kept her warm on a cold day. After talking with her, I knew I needed a onesy, too.

It arrived at my door on Wednesday. As I pulled it from its package, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was entering a whole new era of my experience as human being. I held something special in my arms. I am one of a small tribe. The few. The proud. The blessed onesy wearers.

I can wear it anywhere. Over pajamas, tights and dresses, pants and sweaters. And though it makes me look like a pregnant, green Stay-puff marshmallow man, when I step into it, it’s like stepping into an entirely different dimension. I float down the street, impervious to the fickle winds of nature. I disappear into its folds a wanton caterpillar in need of coffee, and emerge a butterfly in a wrinkled skirt.

When I wear it, I am invincible and invisible. Like a superhero with a secret.

I put my dating profile back up. I was feeling lonely. It’s somehow comforting to watch the numbers crawl up as so and so looks at me and so and so likes me and so and so wants to know how I’m feeling today. I’ve always been amazed at marketing and packaging in the digital age. How a hundred words can draw a picture of me that makes a picture of someone else want to manifest me in physical form. How the mere mention of sock puppets can lead a man to love the idea of me. The subtle essence of “us” slips through the nerve endings of the internet. I touch and am touched by a onesy-less stranger who lives next door and worlds away.

I consider wearing the onesy to a first date. Imagine: it’s a blustery evening in the cold heart of winter. I cast a shadow from the doorway of a cozy bar. I’m a bundle, a mystery, a uni-colored being wobbling towards a candlelit table. My date, handsome, sophisticated, divorced with one child, and nervous, glances up from his New Yorker magazine as he sips his brandy by the gaslit fire. He looks at me, he looks at his watch, looks at me again and sighs with an air of sad resignation.

– Here goes another hour of my life, he thinks, his mortality never more present than this moment where he hoped to find love and instead, finds a short green blob approaching the thoughtfully selected romantic corner.

He is not prepared for the warm-hearted, winter-time striptease about to take place before his very eyes.

Finger by finger, my hands are released from their striped gloves. The scarf unwinds, the outer jacket seductively falls to the floor, and then the zipper, that white industrial zipper, comes undone, inch by impossible inch, and I step towards him, make-up intact, hair artfully askew, prettily attired in a dress and boots – I’ll have to figure out how to get the onesy over the boots – a vision to his weary and cynical eyes.

My onesy is an extra small, in case you’re considering buying one. I’m 5’2″. The legs are long and the crotch bends towards the tips of my knees, but the top part is a perfect fit. It has four pockets, two of them so deep that I could carry the entire contents of my New York City-sized bag in them – if I don’t mind jiggling and scratching and listing to one side.

I am so pleased with the onesy that I’m telling everyone that they need a onesy, too. My neighbor commented on it in the hallway yesterday. And I’ve been threatening to wear it to work. Triumphant comfort. It’s like traveling in a cozy shell.

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Saturday was a special day.

My best friend gave birth to her daughter. The baby emerged healthy from her mother’s womb in a beautiful package, shedding one form for another. Not long ago, she was a collection of cells splitting and churning and plotting their next move. And then she was a little being, channeled from nature’s own imagination. Now she’s her own person, caretaker of her own light.

Around the same time my tiny friend was pulled into the outside world, my writing partner Slash Coleman birthed his new one-man show in front of an audience. It’s based on his memoir The Bohemian Love Diaries about chasing love, finding love, watching love slip through his desperate fingertips. In writing the piece, words split, mountains of ideas sprouted, and a the story emerged. I had the honor of stepping in to direct his performance.

All this was happening while I was at work. On a cold evening in the middle of the city as my dog snuggled in her bed at home. Thousands of people were eating dinner, drinking at bars, fighting, loving, flirting as the world spun on. My one friend labored, moments away from holding her baby in her arms. My other friend presented his newborn piece to an audience for the first time.

In the moments between 6 and 10:30 p.m., the metaphoric implications of my onesy became clear.

To shed a onesy that has kept me warm and dry, is like shedding a skin. If I can peel away a cocoon of my own making (actually the making of someone in China), why can’t I shed the mortal body that houses the intangible essence of being some people call a soul. If we take away our skin, there’s blood and muscle and goo, but if we could crack ourselves open, burrow into the folds and bends of our brains and hearts, what would we find?

I imagine a spark of light, vulnerable and strong. A thing of beauty so small and quick that, like a snowflake or a butterfly, it hides worlds of secrets. It lives for a moment and then it transforms into something new.

I could be wrong, of course.

But I could be right.

For my next experiment, I will sleep in the onesy to see if, when I emerge in the morning, I’m an entirely different person.

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5 thoughts on “One-sy

  1. Love it! I finAlly got a smartphone and can now read emails easier. You are an amazing writer and I love your onesy story!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • You are the crux of my onesy history. Though the ski onesy we bought in L.A. was only worn once – by my friend who was working on a cold day on a out door movie set.

      I was weak. I didn’t have the the guts to wear that onesy. But now, I’m a whole new person!

  2. Congrats to your friend on the birth…

    I do NOT need a onesy – my daughter has a “hello kitty” one that as soon as a leaf fell off the oak tree out the back has been about the only thing she wears about the house – she is known to pop to the shop at the end of our road in it on weekend mornings when she declares an overwhelming need for a sausage sandwich too. Again trust me – I do not need a onesy 🙂

  3. Brilliant. Had I read this before our coffee date, the entire morning might have been overtaken with onesy chatter. It sounds inviting, healing. Bravo for your gusto!

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