My husband wants this caviar

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Or caveat. Whatever.

After reading my bag lady post, he told me I sound like I’m down-and-out or something.

I tried to explain to him that the underlying meaning of post was priorities.

And right now, mine are not pulling an ensamble together to look good every day. Which actually is rather ironic, because when I graduated from high school, my mock election awards were “Miss Seventeen Magazine” and “Most likely to marry a politician.” Miss Seventeen not because I was a fashion victim per se, but I sure did like the trappings of fashion that fit in with my style. The other award I sort of took offense to. I remember pondering why wouldn’t it be “most likely to BE a politician”? I thought it was sexist. Maybe I still do. Funny from an all-girls school. Funnier still because when my daughter graduated from an all-girls school and not one student or teacher at the graduation spoke about the possibility of motherhood as a goal, I completely took offense to that. I’m just a mental (oxi)moron. But I digress.

Okay, so sure, I can pull it together. And I often do. I have to stand and sing in front of church full of folks on Sunday, and on those days, it is my priority to fix myself up. If I’m going out on the rare date night with my always pressed spouse, I pull it together for that, too. I like to look nice. I like clothes. And I love shoes. I really do. (I hear all the women reading this singing … “Hello! Who doesn’t?”)

BUT …. it’s just that I’d rather take what little time I do have and sit down and write about what a bag lady I am, instead of put on mascara or something. And if I put on the mascara instead, perhaps I’d have nothing to write about. AND I’d just wash the mascara down the drain at the end of the day anyway and not have a lot to show for it. But at least if I’m a bag lady, I get a story. And for me, that’s icing on the fish eggs.

So here's a picture of me. With my husband back in the 80s. When we won the Publishers Clearing house Sweepstakes.

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Here’s your bag, lady.

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(Insert photo of me. If I had the nerve to actually take a photo of myself today.)

Today I ran into an old friend from high school. I noticed her at the other end of the counter at Starbucks just as the cashier was handing me a bag containing a delicious salted caramel square.

I was all smiles, happy to see her. We chit chatted about the stuff of life. The kind of stuff you can cover while waiting for a grande-non-fat-two-pump-with-whip mocha.

I spoke to her sunglass-covered eyes as she spoke to my progressive lens +2.5 magnified-wrinkled eyes. I’m not gonna lie. The thought that I should suck it up and buy some decent prescription sunglasses did cross my mind. But since I have to change my prescription yearly, that’s not likely to happen. She’s always a welcoming joy. She’s so down to earth. She too now has a son in college. Attending Harvard. She was a smart kid. He’s obviously a chip off the old block.

As I was leaving, I got a glimpse of my reflection in the door.

And I thought: I am not a chip off the old block.

I am a bag lady.

Seriously.

Coat missing a button (I’d like to say it just fell off), hot pink gloves, red plaid hat. Not a stitch of makeup. Nice. Walking to my dirty 11-year-old van that I’m going to drive until it falls apart (because I want to).

My parents would never be so disheveled. Ever. My mother would never consider leaving the house without makeup and her hair done. And she would never not match. If her coat was missing a button, she’d either sew it right on, or wear a different coat. And my dad. He’s pretty close to perfect. He’s no hairspray-using Jim Bob Duggar, but his hair is always in place. (He’s carried the same comb in his pocket since 1957.) And his car would never be dirty. Or old. (Unless of course it was a 1957 Chevy that’s covered and spotless in his garage.)

I had to chuckle. Although my parents have had great influence on my personality and my creativity, perhaps media has had an even deeper subconscious influence on me than I ever thought … at least on my sense of style. I was a one-person walking sociology project. Life imitating art. (Even though I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be the other way around.) At least it’s art I love.