Run Ins

It never fails. It’s like a cruel cosmic universe gotta happen: you run into someone you haven’t seen in years when you look like shit. And when last they saw you, you were the shit. This is how I feel in this, the 20th year since my high school graduation. Twenty friggin’ years. I have kept in touch (purposefully) with literally a handful of people. Thanks to Facebook, though, I am now in “contact” with people I don’t remember, barely remember, kinda sorta remember, and those fuckers who I remember all too well but have mentally forgiven yet still want to forget.

This week has found me especially dowdy (more run down looking than usual). My hair has been pulled into a disorderly ponytail. I have not picked up a container of gloss or mascara. I’m pretty sure today’s black pants were also Monday’s black pants. And there’s only so much that Gain good smellin’ spray to mask the funk of your clothes can do to mask the funk of your clothes. I’m almost certain I smell like said Gain freshener over musk. And maybe not in that order.

So, it only makes sense that this would be the week that I run into someone from high school who recognizes me immediately.

She was so excited. She grabbed my hands and beamed, “It’s so good to see you outside of Facebook!” Um, right. Listen, sister, I slightly remember you, I think I even remember your name (though I won’t dare risk it) but um, that’s about it. I’m glad you’re still alive, but right now, I’m in the middle of undone hair, Gain, musk, and not giving a damn, so, if you don’t mind I’ll be on my way. And then she has to ask about the reunion and if I’m going and wasn’t the price too high and why do the activities suck and who appointed that committee? Um, again, I am so not in the mood. I am managing to get to work at 6:45 every morning when just a mere five months ago I couldn’t seem to get in by 9:30. You are crushing my groove.

I do know what bothered me, though. It wasn’t the hour of the day or her excitement at that hour of the day. It was that I looked so stereotypical, every bit of an unkempt, ill sleeping, messy house having, tired mother of three. A mother of three who spends hours on her girls’ hair but then has no time left for her own and opts for the wretched, unruly ponytail whether she hates that it makes her look five years older and tired or not. And then she said it. What I was hoping to avoid because it’s usually such a disingenuous statement: “You look so good!” Bitch. Please.

Even the best intentions when this is said make it an awful thing to say when the person knows it to be untrue. Lying heifer. It’s a small talk mistake. An air filler. A casually uttered phrase that has far-reaching consequences. You look so good. As compared to what? I didn’t get fat. I have all my teeth. Outside of that, what are you using to qualify how good I look because if you were truly looking at me you would see that I look like absolute shit. Sure, it’s not her fault that I look this way. But to pretend that I look good when I know that she knows that I have to know I don’t is just dumb. It’s different when you know you look semi-decent and the person says you look good. Then it can slide because there’s some almost partially threadbare truth to it.

But me? This morning? Crapola. And I wonder now if she was being facetious. And no, I don’t need comments about how she may have really liked my natural hair or thought my boots were cute. It’s my blog and I’ll be cynical if I want. She’s a bold faced lying liar.

I wanted to say I had been sick and didn’t have any more leave and had to go to work, even looking this bad. I wanted sympathy for the way I looked. I wanted to ask if she has children. But then it hit me: having children should not be, and is not the reason, why I look the way I do today. There is no exclusive club of Moms Who Are Haggard Because Their Children Exist. Too often I fall back on being unable to keep myself together because I’m too tired in relation to the children’s needs. The problem really lies with the fact that I have lost the desire to be as awesome all the time on the outside as I know I am on the inside. I have lost the desire to put my best self forward when I leave home and may run into lying wenches who say I look good. I need to regain it. It needs to be there regularly, not just when I’m going out with daddy or friends or going to a reunion to pretend that that’s the way I always look (because now there is one more person in the world who knows for sure that that is indeed not how I always look). But, where did it go in the first place?

So. Right about now I need a Gazoo-like character to appear on my shoulder and zap up an anti-laziness device. Wait. Didn’t most of Gazoo’s attempts to help end in making the situation worse? Dammit. I’m on my own.


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