I had an humbling experience earlier this week when I ventured out to Lowe’s to study the delightful selection of weather stripping. Such a mundane shopping trip was not exactly my bag, but desperate times call for desperate measures. (I have spaces under my doors a python could sliver through.)
While wandering up and down and aisles, feeling lost and underwhelmed, I wandered onto the aisle that contained a bank of hanging wall mirrors.
I took one look at the person approaching me and thought, “How can someone let herself go out in public dressed like that ?” The woman waddling straight toward me was a mess. She had on some kind of stretch pants and a pink Mississippi State tee shirt smeared with mud – or was it chocolate?” I didn’t care to find out.
I spoke to her in passing and she smiled back at me and mumbled something. As I turned to retrace my steps, I noticed that she did the same and even peaked back at me. Was this frump of a woman stalking me or what?
I glanced back to negatively judge her some more, and low and behold, I saw she was carrying my handbag and had my sunglasses hanging from the neck of her shirt. What the…? I crept closer and was struck by how much she looked like my grandmother. Suddenly I realized with horror, she was me!
I’ve heard of people looking like a million bucks, but I was looking more like the national deficit! How had I sunk so low? And when did it happen?
I was a very cool 90s kind of woman who read “Dress for Success” and had a different suit for every day of the week. I wouldn’t have been caught dead without my shoes and handbags cut from the same animal. This woman of the new mellinium was wearing socks with plastic sandals for Pete’s sake – Beyond tacky!
I can still recall when I was young and in love with fashion, fast cars, and men who drove them. I would look at my teachers and the parents of my friends and think “Man oh man. I hope I never get that old!”
They drove sensible cars, talked about lawnmowers and prescription drugs, listened to the car radio, and dressed like they were perpetually on their way to a funeral. Surely my generation would be forever hip..
Funny thing is, I still feel like I’m 21…well, maybe 32. I still try to buy my clothes in the junior department but have caved because they’ve grown terribly uncomfortable. I guess I’m officially a Missy now – whatever that means. And embarrassing my children doesn’t even give me the satisfaction it did 20 years ago.
Right then and there, in the middle of Lowe’s, I had a melt down. I think I actually began sobbing for my lost youth. People were looking at me strangely, like I might be a candidate for a straight jacket.
I made a monumental decision to defrump myself. I would go home and get rid of all my familiar, but frumpy clothes. I called my unfrumpy friend, Marie, and asked her if she would train with me for a half marathon.
Now, this girl is three months younger than me but she rides her bike, goes on exhaustive nature hikes, plays golf and is getting her masters. She also shops legitimately in the junior section. We grew up together, but somehow she maintained her savoir-faire when mine was blunted by too many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and murder mysteries.
So we’re going to begin as soon as she completes her comps next month. In the meantime, I stopped by Walmart and bought a pack of Reese’s and James Patterson’s latest novel. I could afford to be a frump for another day or two.