Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homage to sweatpants, my mother & the cold temps

 First, a little Haiku for a chilly day:

Air so cold, skin aches
leaves us trapped inside our homes
life slows, sweatpants rule

Second, a little anecdote:

Several years ago, before I had my daughter and I still lived out east, I was visiting my mom here in Minnesota during the winter months. Sub-zero temperatures were moving through and I was dressed, I thought, appropriately in jeans over long underwear. I felt rather snug and warm, encased in fabric from head to toe. My mom, however, had some issue with my clothing choice. She of the "my way is the only correct way" mindset, is intensely anti-denim in the winter. It's too cold next to your skin, she says. Which is why I chose long underwear to insulate me from the icy interior of my jeans. But that was oddly and inexplicably irrelevant to her.

So she says to me, in her finest irritated, critical and verging on angry voice, "Don't you own any sweatpants?" Because sweatpants, preferably purchased for no more than $9.99/pair, is her go to choice of bottoms on a frigid, winter day.

And I responded, with as much disdain and condescension as I could muster, "Mom, I don't wear sweatpants out in public."

I was perfectly comfortable, god-damnit, why did she have to harass me about my choice of pants? Even if I didn't have the essential base layer under my denim, what was it to her? It's no skin off her ass if I'm cold, right?

And here it is, 12+ years later, and 13 degrees below zero outside and when I finally showered and got dressed at 2 o'clock this afternoon to run to the pet store, what do you suppose I wore? Sweatpants.

Cheers to you, ma, and your cranky, old-lady ways. If she knew what I spent for my fleecie sweatpants, however, she'd most certainly have something (critical) to say about that. There is no pleasing that woman. Be warm, friends, in your jeans, as well as in your hearts.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sometimes I am invisible

Pretty close similarity
Sometimes I am invisible. I'm not exactly sure how or when it happens but it's true, on occasion I can become strangely transparent. I am like a ghost. Although I feel heavy and solid, the people around me don't seem to notice me. There is no acknowledgement of my presence. I watch their faces and their eyes are focused elsewhere and their posture bears no sign of the fact that I am standing just inches away. I can hear my voice speaking, feel the vibration in my head, yet my words pass unnoticed. Sometimes, the people who can't see me even begin talking while I am still speaking and this is what makes me realize I am obviously invisible.

Whenever this happens to me, I walk away confused and a little dejected. I am not sure how I should react. Should I try harder to be seen or should I accept my invisibility? Perhaps it's a sign that I should reel myself in, avert my eyes and hunch my shoulders, still my voice so that I am as small and quiet as I can be. I don't want to disturb anyone. Mostly I just shake my head and wonder why they can't see me.

There are other people, though, who definitely see me. I am so big and so bright to them, I see myself filling up their faces and overflowing out into the world. Some people can't help but see me and I think they see me even when I am not around. There are not that many people like this but there are enough to confirm for me that I am alive and real.

I wish I could use my invisibility more to my advantage, but it is so unpredictable that I just couldn't count on it for something like crime fighting or sneaking into someone's house just to see how they live. For now, I will have to stick with things the way they are. Whenever I need to know I really exist, I'll just spend time with my dog. He always knows I'm around.

But just a word of advice, for anyone else who has ever experienced this: if they can't see you, maybe they are not supposed to. Even if you were to make your presence known, they would never see you as you really are. Just go with it. Pretend you are a superhero. Maybe you really are.