Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Who Moved My Tiara?

A few years ago I ran into an old classmate at an airport. I was on my way back from a client site and she was on her way out of town. I was wearing a black crew neck sweater, blue jeans and slightly high heeled black boots. My hair was in a low ponytail with a side part and my only makeup was a pinkish nude lipstick. She was wearing a short skirt, a deep V sweater with a peekaboo bra and makeup that screamed for attention. She recognized me immediately. I didn’t recognize her.

Over coffee we caught up on the intervening years. We both had decent jobs and boyfriends but while I was still pretty much the same she had gone from wallflower to consummate party girl. We were as different then as we had been years before in high school except her pendulum had firmly swung from one end to the other. It was an interesting phenomenon.

She wasn’t the only one either. Over the years I have noticed that half the people I run into either seem to be trying to recapture their high school glory days or compensate for the fact that they didn’t make as much of an impression as they would have liked back then. Sometimes I wonder how many people are still stuck in those years. How many times do we do things because we feel we should or to impress others?

Last night I turned down two offers to go out, came home and unclogged the bathtub drain. Yes, glamorous. I had noticed in the morning in the shower a small pool of water cheerfully nipping at my toes. After I had peeled myself off the ceiling I knew I had to do something and fast. For whatever reason, I am happy as a newborn seal in a drawn bath but the idea of standing around even in 1 inch water when I am showering makes me shudder. (It is one of those delightful inconsistencies that make me, me. Or so I like to believe.) Of course, in keeping with my ignorance of all things domestic I had absolutely no idea what to do and I didn’t get much time to research online at work. So, my first order of business on coming home was to log on and try to figure out where to go from there.

I poured myself a drink, kicked off my shoes, dropped my tote and laptop onto a chair and cozied up to the glowing screen with a box of bon bons I save for special occasions. No reason why one can’t be comfortable as she makes her foray into the jungle of cleaning products. A few soft taps and swishes of the mouse later I was deep in literature on drains and pipes. What a fascinating world! I never knew it existed. After an hour of being immersed in the world of drains and clogs which somehow led to a 5-page article on the one thousand and one uses of baking soda (the little overachiever!) which in turn led to a website offering homemade recipes for salt scrubs and bath bombs which led to a few excited minutes with my credit card ordering supplies for making my own personal care products (it looked like fun) I reluctantly pulled myself away from the screen and made a quick run to the store for supplies. Later, I ate yummy Chinese food directly from the take out containers in-between pouring cleaner down the drain and chatting with a friend on the phone as I half-watched Gilmore Girls and Supernatural on WB. The evening flew by. And then I realized that it had been just as much fun as last Tuesday night with John. (No reflection on John!)

Some days I feel disgruntled about life, some days I feel impatient, restless. And then there are days like these when I feel grateful. High school was good to me but popularity was neither something I sought nor rejected. Maybe that’s why I have moved on. I feel glad that I am propelled by neither the need to relive my youth nor to make up for it and staying in can be as much fun as going out ... because the worst kind of regret? Is the regret of time misspent.

4 Comments:

Blogger Reviewer "Devil" Extraordinaire said...

High school was good to me but popularity was neither something I sought nor rejected[

WOW ! I am astounded by our similarity on that front. In high school and college, my best friends included the geeks as well as the riot squad. I felt absolutely at home in both groups without ever feeling a need to "fit in".

On a different note, after seeing how teenagers and some adults dress these days, I feel high school should have a Coco Chanel -101 class.

Lesson 1 : Less is More
Lesson 2 : Look in the mirror and take one thing off
.
.
.
Lesson 101: Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future

I would also throw the Mae West adage into the syllabus - "I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I'm a woman... but loose enough to show I'm a lady"

3/01/2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger cherchezlafemme said...

You must be my fashion twin. I know every single one of those quotes and I love the Mae West one.

3/01/2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger Reviewer "Devil" Extraordinaire said...

Well, thanks for the compliment.

I do have my own adage. it is called WWHBD - What Would Humphrey Bogart Do?

Men, when faced with a fashion conundrum like "Should I wear pleated khakis?", should ask themselves "What would Humphrey Bogart do?" (Of course, he wouldn't be caught dead in those).

Clearly, I am born in the wrong era. Oh...well.

3/02/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Anderson said...

Were are definitely from different nations born at different times and brought up in different circumstances...

I am amazed with how much you remind me of me...We may be worlds apart, but we are sooo like in thought!!

6/29/2006 8:16 PM  

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