(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.
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.