(May 6, 2010 – 2:38 am)
“Andale! Andale! Arriba!,” I vividly remember thinking as my plane sat on the tarmac and the pilot awaited the Tower’s A-OK to begin taxiing down Southwest’s runway. We’d only been at the airport for maybe thirty minutes at the most and I still considered that thirty minutes too long. Suffice it to say, I’m not the ideal caliber of traveller you’d want seated next to you on an international flight bound for twelve hours into the future. Luckily, this was a domestic flight and our projected airtime was a mere forty-five minutes. Typically, I’d prefer to spend that time watching 3/4th of a single episode of True Blood, but alas, I had no say in the matter this time around.
“Thank the Gods that created Jacob from Twilight,” I mentally declared as our Captain’s voice flooded the cabin to communicate our impending ascent. ”We’d be there in no time,” I thought, and I’m this much closer to fulfilling my search for a Panda Express. It was early afternoon and I hadn’t eaten breaksfast, so I was severely famished. ”God, let there be a Panda or a WokMaster somewhere in the Food Court.” Shoot, I would have even settled for one of those sketchy Chinese “restaurants” that also sell donuts. At that point, I didn’t care. I just wanted anything edible even if I was ingesting high amounts of MSG. I decided to leave my worry at the door. Who cares if I was sabotaging both my health and the possibility of achieving Vin Diesel’s glistening physique. I’d worry about that on Tuesday morning, after I returned to my smog-filled regular existence in La La Land. Besides, I’m sure there’s MSG in the oil slathered all over his gargantuan pecs.
As I loosened my seat’s clunky lapbelt, I pondered how desperate I may or may not be for wondering whether the Captain sounded either handsome or just cute. I decided it was in my best interest to keep that little introspection private, well, at the time at least. I feared the possible mentioning of such a thing laughably foolish and, ultimately, validation of my Jennifer Love Hewitt-esque desperation. I didn’t need to deal with all that extra anxiety. Besides, I had better things to do like nursing my Diet Coke. But betwen you and me, I did spend a good thirty minutes digesting that contemplation. My train of thought was only broken twice, first, when the Flight Attendant came around to collect trash and, secondly, when the Captain’s voice once again filled the air. This time I concluded that he sounded married. ”Yeah, he’s definitely taken and he’s probably been married for a half a decade,” I muttered irritated. I wasn’t up for a fruitless challenge. Well, not on an empty stomach. “I’ve got to get my mind focused and sharp, ” I thought, “if I’m going to track down some desert Orange Chicken. I’ll need to put my ‘gay-me’ face on.” I take my food consumption, seriously. A little too seriously if you ask any of my Subway sandwichmakers. Nonetheless, in that short amount of time, I also managed to carve out a moment to thank the same Gods for both birthing Steve Jobs for gifting me with my iPod Touch- apparently useful when you need a soundtrack to follow your increasing infatuation with a faceless aviator- and for the mother and father who procreated to give us the Guy who came up with the idea to distribute in-flight peanuts. P.S. I highly recommend my Honeymoon in Bora Bora playlist. I’ll upload the track listings later on iTunes for your listening pleasure.
If you haven’t concluded thus far, I might have a slight disposition that periodically renders me impatient and restless and honestly, that’s saying it kindly . Thankfully, the couple next to me probably knew exactly what they were dealing with and either 1.) fell asleep or 2.) feigned falling asleep so they didn’t have to experience me. I’m sure it helped them that English clearly wasn’t their first language. Conversely, it didn’t help me out all that much. What I did take away from that experience is learning that the social construct of Personal Space must not be a commonly practiced concept outside of the West. Under normal circumstances, I’m a nice guy. Actually, an exceptional guy, I like to think. I’m certain my mother and even my therapist would concur. I’m sure if those seats could have fully reclined like the couch in the latter’s office, it would have been a completely different kind of flight experience for me. Kidding aside, I’m usually pleasant, just not when I’m trapped in a dry, sterile cabin 10,000 feet in the air. Prison Break in the friendly skies isn’t ideally how I’d like to spend my Saturday afternoon. Solving crossword puzzles like the one our flight-chaperone Danny (co-owner of Studio DNA) worked on -with my borrowed pen mind you and which I have yet to receive back- is more up my alley. Although, come to think of it, it could have been worth the casting “seat” effort trying to figure out who onboard would play hottie Wentworth Miller’s role.
Of course, you may have picked up on my tendency to embellish my stories. My masterpieces if you will. I consider this my creative license. I’m very much an artist. It’s just that my art isn’t relegated to a canvas or bobby pins. Luckily, it came in handy when I sat down to write this blog. If I’ve managed to hold your attention thus far, then you can actually thank my parents for this. My mother’s actually got a Facebook Wall, which I highly encourage you to flood my praises on. If only they had bothered to keep me as an only child, then I wouldn’t have had to fight for their attention. . .and their rigid love. Did I just write that? A kid tells one silly story about seeing a shirtless Matt Damon (ala School Ties) and a dragon in the tulip garden and people start to judge. This blog is a direct consequence of that struggle. Oye.
So, the flight wasn’t nearly as bad as I’ve made it out to seem. There was plenty to be thankful for (i.e. Diet Coke) and even an impromptu birthday serenade complete with our Flight Attendance call buttons serving as concert lighters. That should have been my first clue that we were all in for a rockstar of a weekend. It was clear that the next couple of days were going to be anything but ordinary. The hipsters may have had their Coachella, but God willing, I was going to have my Oribe Backstage Event! I’m apparently impatient, restless, AND jealous.
Okay, so you must be asking yourself what does all of this nonsense have to do with Oribe? Everything my dear, everything! In order for you to truly understand how affected I was by this weekend, you have to grasp how unaffected I expected to be. My mind was focusing on all of the inconsequential filler that dampen us on a daily basis that I didn’t realize that I had closed myself off to really living and loving the moment. Being in the present and building what I wanted for myself all generated from this kernel of awareness. It was in this mental space that I saw what Oribe meant for my fellow event goers and what he, in turn, meant for me. He awakened a sense of possibility that had always been there, but needed a plane ride to set free. It was through his care-free attitude and notion to experiment that made me let go of whatever fears I harboured inside. Now, I’m not going to use this forum to discuss the details of what exactly transpired. I’ll leave that to my travel-mates Aubrey, Dane, Amy, and Summer. What I’m choosing to focus on is the consciousness that experiencing an event like this opens up for those that care to see it.
When I walked into The Palms Casino, I envisioned that I would be thrusted into a scene right out of a George Romero zombie flick. I expected it to be filled with all sorts of Walking Dead characters. And I did see that. There were plenty of people clinging for dear life to their slot machines. Sadly, when you can count the number of senior citizens lugging around oxygen tanks on the back of motorized scooters in a smoky casino on more than one hand, then you’ve seen it all. But even among all that ridiculousness, every so often, I’d see something a little different. I’d see anomalies. . .artists. . .seemingly brimming with infectious energy. At that moment, I knew I was in the midst of something special.
When we gathered our first day and the Master himself took the stage, the ride officially began. I and artists alike converged into the hotel’s Rain Nightclub to celebrate a man and his art. Whether you were a hair artist, a salon owner, or a salon manager, the fever was undeniable and contagious. If you’ve seen the movie Powder, then you’ll remember one of the final scenes where he’s running through the field and, in the blink of an eye, transforms into this streak of radiant light energy that fills the meadow? Well, it was this type of vibrational energy that pulsed through the venue that evening. It was a cumulative effort and it was astonishing to know that we created it. Regardless of what brought us all there, we were all meant to be there to experience exactly what we were experiencing. In the end, we all took something different from this weekend. There were surely some who realized that even though they’ve been around for years and feel like they’ve seen it all, there’s always still more to learn. It’s this constant evolution that keeps them on the playing field. I took comfort in that and I came away with the realization that we are all beings, whether creative or not, that can always learn from one another. It’s from this inspiration that we can do incredible things. Do what you love, practice hard, and everything will fall into place. It might not always happen the way you envision it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t manifest what you desire. It just might come in different packaging! Mine just happened to come in an Oribe box.
Between the rockstar theatrics on stage, the gorgeous hairstyles, and the extraordinary hands-on opportunity, I saw an inpenetrable joy that filled that room. Seemingly nothing or no one could adversely affect their moment to shine. They were in their element. Experimenting, learning, taking and giving advice. It was all available to them, if they sought it. I didn’t seek it, but , in the end, I got it. We were bombarded with visual stimulation from every which way. From our eyes to our ears with rich colors, sounds and textures. It was a cornucopia for our senses. A feast rightfully fit to give thanks for what Oribe brought to the hair industry. And with this blog, I give thanks for what Oribe brought to me.
I’ve often heard “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Now for the 87% of those that travel there each year, I’m sure that’s likely the case, but for me, I can hardly say that was my experience. By 9:45 pm Monday night -nearly 57 hours after we first laid foot in Sin City- I was headed home exhausted, but renewed with a sense of vigor that I didn’t expect. As I snuggled into my seat, I couldn’t help but think that I was bringing something home that would linger with me for a lifetime. And for 55% of those 87%, I’m sure that “something special” could have easily been cured with a shot of penicillin, but, thankfully, I went home not having to worry about making an appointment to see my doctor. I came back inspired to be a better person, not only for myself, but as a stand for the people I work with. Now, I think that’s something worth acknowledging outside of Vegas.