Growth takes time unless you’re my nails.

We are all limited as to what kind of goals we can set for ourselves right now. My fitness routine is restricted to what I can do with a yoga mat, a set of 8-pound weights, and the hangboard we mounted above our bedroom door frame last month. It seems iffy to be leaving our neck of the woods to do some moderate-distance cycling. Even if we go for 4-hour walks, I’m finding that I’ve been spending most of my time on the couch, perfecting that ass groove.

A gif of Homer Simpson shifting around on the couch.

If only I had the inspiration to tackle a new art project.

The most inspiring person I’ve seen in the past week is my across-the-street neighbour who comes outside on his front porch to toot his gold vuvuzela every day at 7pm. Obviously, I can’t hear his masterful vuvzelling, but I can appreciate how he surveys his surroundings when he comes out, “I hope nobody sees me do this,” then gets in position.

I know the point is to thank all the health care workers and that many people are creating their own noise of thanks. To me, it looks like it’s just this one guy tooting away.

I’ve already mentioned having fingernails for the first time in more than a decade. So, I made what I thought was the laziest possible goal: grow them longer than ever before. This would have been a reasonable challenge if I wanted to give up a nail biting habit.

I’ve never been a nail biter.

A gray cat with greenish yellow eyes licks my fingertips. My fingernails are slightly long.

They grow like weeds even if I don’t lift a finger. Especially if I don’t lift a finger! Therein lies the problem: they’re starting to get in the way. They’re so long that I have to hit the backspace key with the side of my pinky finger. If I don’t trim them, I’ll be typing with my knuckles by next week.

Besides, this is how spear-like my pinkies were in high school:

LauraCokeNails

Mom, with her constant quest for an argument, thought: “Laura has coke nails. I am okay with this.”

Despite what my previous post implied, Mom wasn’t all bad. I can’t think of a time when she took issue with my physical appearance, which is more than what I can say for my friends’ parents.  Sure, she wished I’d dressed in less baggy clothes and worn more than one colour (dark blue), but she never thought to turn that into an argument.

My friends routinely got into trouble with their parents for doing something as tame as colour their hair a shade or two darker than their natural colour. I’m grateful that my personal style was on Mom’s short list of things she did not give a fuck about.

Mom did refer to my nails as weapons, and I should have treated them as such. Like most ASL users, I’ve nicked my beautiful face using my beautiful language more than once. It was in Grade 9 Physical Education class, though, when I stabbed myself in the thigh so hard with my pinky nail that blood started to trickle down my leg. This happened while I was practicing dribbling a basketball, which gives you an idea of how coordinated I was.

I have no fucking idea how I explained the situation to the teacher, who was weirdly fond of the bitchy students in my class.

“I’m sorry, I cannot sport.”

“Of course not, you’re a 13-year-old with coke nails.”

As a deaf mainstream student–and a nonathletic one at that– PE was the worst class. It was nearly impossible to follow an interpreter while on the move, and many times, there would be no interpreter at all. Whenever the interpreting department was short-staffed, the school’s solution was to pull an interpreter or two from someone’s PE or Art class. The better solution would have been to give me the option to sit out PE.

(Sadly, many deaf kids don’t get an interpreter at all in school.)

PE was a lot of awkward running around feeling lost, and not even knowing how to play many of the sports. I couldn’t redeem myself to the other students with brilliant displays of athleticism. I was just that loser sitting on the bench, applying pressure to her self-inflicted thigh wound while everybody else mastered dribbling.

Mom helped me cultivate my talons by depriving me of housework. She didn’t like me doing housework, only because I could never meet her standards, and I was completely fine with this. I just sat my ass on the couch, drowning in my oversize dark blue clothes, and watched tv until my fingernails grew over the edge of the armrest, all the way down to the carpet, snaking their way through the legs of the coffee table, and into the Guinness Book of World Records Specifically Set by Highly Unmotivated Teens.

My Wolverine days are over for good. It’s time for me to move on to bigger ambitions, such as seeing how long I can go without… washing my hair?

Suggestions are welcome.

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