Sunday, August 3, 2014

Keeping Down Appearances

On warm mornings I wear my pajamas to walk to the mailbox; if it's cooler I'll sling on my bathrobe. If it's night and I'm throwing a mouse's corpse into the meadow, what's the problem if I do it in my briefs and Maidenform? In winter I work outside wearing ludicrously paint-stained sweatshirts, hunter-orange stocking caps, and holey gloves. If my hiking clothes are possibly poison-ivied or full of ticks or chiggers or mud, I'll strip down on the stoop before entering the house. Can't do that in the city.

In the city I had to comb my hair and put on a bra and clean clothes that matched before I left my  apartment building, or children would point and laugh. And I amused  my fellow urban dwellers with my white T-shirts that somehow almost always turned a faint pink, broadcasting the fact that I did my own laundry and was a moron. Heck, I wasn't throwing away good T-shirts because they turned a little bit pink!

I like living here because it allows for appearance improvisation. There's no sense washing my hair if I'm cramming on a ball cap to clean the garage that day. But then if I must go to the hardware store for something, I'll pretend I don't have greasy hat hair, and  -- I don't feel judged, because most everyone looks just like me. Except middle-class moms, who put on yoga clothes in the morning and wear them everywhere, dawn to dusk, because from any one point it'd be a 15-mile trip to go home and change. See, we have our reasons.

Except on Saturday night and on Sunday. Then, if you're gonna see people, you have to clean up. Paradoxically, those are the times that city people get to be slobs.

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