when i was working at calvin klein in the late 90’s in the garment district of new york, there were a lot of rules. there was only one font used (futura light), all post it notes had to be white…no pink, blue or yellow ones, there were no metal paper clips and only white flowers were allowed on your desk. (i once received red roses for valentine’s day and had to hide them under my table until i could sneak them out at the end of the day.) desks were neat and you did not have framed family photos or stuffies or excess decor cluttering up your cubicle. everyone spoke in tones so low that you could always hear the click clack of heels as people walked down the spare white hallway with ebony floors. if you happened to end up in the elevator with calvin, you were not supposed to speak to him. and it was rumored that his assistant had a special brown pantone chip that he used to color match when adding milk to calvin’s coffee (i never saw the pantone chip first hand.) there were also a lot of unspoken rules… everyone wore shades of gray and black with maybe some hits of white. make-up and jewelry were both minimal… a simple cuff or metal hair clip was noted and daring.
and then guilia arrived. guilia was from a small town in southern italy and she designed handbags for cK. she had twinkly brown eyes as big as bambi’s and a cheeky, warm smile. guilia would wear shocking bright blue or red tights with her black, mini, swing dresses. guilia would speak LOUD italian on the phone with leather vendors or factory representatives and when she would get frustrated, she would wave her hands around and say, “BASTA!” meaning “enough.” i think that was the single most important thing i learned, while working at calvin.
“BASTA!” i say to my kids when they are bickering at dinner. “BASTA!” i say to my first husband when he is trying to explain the intricacies of my car to me (like how to turn the air conditioning on when i am two blocks away.) “BASTA!” i say to hank when he is making that whiny, wimpy-wompy sound particular to frenchies. “BASTA!” i say to myself when i keep dipping into the halloween candy (YES - i still have it.)
“BASTA!” i said to mother nature when it snowed AGAIN in the second half of may and completely messed up my kids’ (really MY) soccer schedule last week. they were supposed to have try-out camp for two hours each afternoon, at the same time, in the same place… which was a minor miracle. i was supposed to have two hours to myself to eat halloween candy, or do something else important. instead, the camps were moved inside to this soccer complex that is pretty far from my house, especially with early evening traffic. their windows were no longer the same and they weren’t even back to back so we spent nearly FOUR hours each afternoon at the soccer place. we had a one hour break between their camps to squish in dinner so we ate each night at the only restaurant in the area… a sports bar called the depot. the first night we started with pretzels and queso, which was pretty awesome. we ordered it again the second night, but it didn’t go down as well (we finished it anyway.) the third night we had to move on to a mini taco app. by the fourth night we were really stretching to find something to eat that we hadn’t already tried. “BASTA!” we say now to the depot.
* we are now officially in our first week of summer in boulder and mother nature is still throwing down crazy weather… slushy snow-rain, giant hail balls, sideways wind-rain… “BASTA! BASTA! BASTA!”