I knew better when I did it. I knew I shouldn’t have walked out of the house wearing those pants, that shirt, those flip-flops, with my hair unkempt. I thought I could get away with it. I mean, I’m not famous and don’t have to worry about paparazzi stalking me. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I was busted.
If you want to run into people you haven’t seen in a long time – make a quick run to, say, the post office at 8:00 on a Saturday morning to mail a package. No one will be there, you think, which is weird because your ego can’t possibly believe that you’re the only person who mails packages early on a Saturday. (Hel-lo…the post office is open then to serve customers…all of them…not just yours truly.)
Why did I think I could dash in to the Stop and Shop and grab the ingredients for a cake I’d promised to bake and get out without running into an old boyfriend and a gossipy old acquaintance? I know she can’t wait to tell folks how raggedy I looked. And he’s probably wondering what happened and relieved that we didn’t work out. (He and I broke up while I was still in my putting-my-best-fashion-foot-forward stage.)
I should have cut those sweatpants up to make cleaning cloths a long time ago – they were so stretched out of shape. And the shirt, why do I persist in wearing that particular shirt? I got a stain on it the first time I wore it but loved it so, I’ve been in deep denial that the stain isn’t as large and visible as it is.
Tacky-tacky. Of course, I’d run into a program officer from a foundation with whom I’m trying to get a contract when I dash up the hill in my around-the-house clothes to pick up my husband from the train station.
In each of these instances, I looked “tore up from the floor up.” Sometimes I can pull it all together so well that I look good to myself. Not these times, however.
My mother reared me better. “Don’t leave the house without looking presentable,” she always admonished. She told us to get up, take a shower, and put on your face for the day so that you’ll be ready for unexpected company or a spontaneous adventure or regular old chore. My mother plans her casual looks with the same attention that she gives her dress up clothes. (She has style and a deep fashion sensibility – two traits she didn’t pass on to me.)
But did I listen to my mother? No-ooo! And that’s why I was caught taking the garbage out in my robe with my fa-la-ja-la-pas bouncing freely by a former student who just happened to be driving down my street and, of course, noticed me and jumped out of her car to hug me and catch up. At 7:00 in the friggin’ morning! Oh, joy!
I’m gon’ learn or I’ll have to not give a hoot. (Who am I kidding? I’m gon’ learn to leave the house more presentable ‘cause I’ve run into and scared too many people making my mad dash(es).)