I’m at my parents’ house this weekend in Peoria. I enjoy being here and spending time – there is little responsibility and it’s a lot of good food and laughing.
Today we took my car in for tire rotation and oil change, went to the post office, drove to a Kohl’s because they had a dri-fit shirt half off, installed a huge rug pad in the home office, and sat out on the patio talking.
I need to parent-brag a moment. When I woke up this morning at nine my dad had already taken my car in to get cleaned and then brought it back. He never said anything, but later that day I noticed it was shiny.
For lunch we went to the country club where my folks belong. Since it was in the upper 80s we ate outside on a terrace overlooking the Illinois river.
Before we left to go to lunch I changed into a polo and nice shorts. I had a upscale pair of summer shoes that looked okay in shorts, but I realized I had left them in Chicago. All I had with me were dress shoes and New Balance running shoes.
By the way, I wear size 13-14 shoes and get them wide if possible. My feet are big and my second toe is bigger than your pinky. Yep.
I’ve been going to this country club my whole life and, as soon as I realized I didn’t have the right shoes I became anxious.
The embarrassment of someone I know seeing me in sneakers was really scary to me. I was ashamed of my shoes.
I know how crazy this is. First, nobody is looking at my feet. Second, sneakers are fine. Third, people have better things to do than judge my clothing. My sister was making fun of me when I told her I didn’t want to go because I had gym shoes. She assured me it was fine and that I should give a shit what people thought anyway.
“I know this,” I replied. “But I do.”
On the drive to the club we passed a woman and her husband/boyfriend riding their bikes on a sidewalk. The woman was making slight head bobbing movements while pedaling like if she was trying to get up a hill with great effort. When I looked at her more closely I noticed she had taken her t-shirt and rolled it up to the bottom of her bra line and tied it off. Also, she had a bit of a belly (not huge) that was spilling over the front of her shorts.
I instantly thought, “This woman is happier than me.” I said so to my parents and sister in the car. I explained how she was doing something that many people would be ashamed of, namely having an extra few pounds around the stomach, and riding around with it hanging out.
Since everyone looked at me blankly I kept going.
“I didn’t even want to come because I only had running shoes. I was embarrassed to walk into a country club with ‘less than’ appropriate shoes. She has a little bit of stomach fat and doesn’t care if anyone sees it while she bikes. That’s freedom.”
I don’t even have a belly, per se, and I wouldn’t even walk around without a shirt. If I’m a beach I will, but that’s about it. And I’d really rather not even then.
They disagreed and said that she might just be a nutty broad who is out of touch with reality. Maybe. Or, she just accepts her body as it is. Or, she displays it because she wants to draw attention to her fat for some odd reason. Who knows?
What I do know is that I could never ride without a shirt, and she can. I envy her for that freedom.
I also envied Ms. Garrett from the Facts of Life because she probably saw Blair naked a bunch of times.
(that thought just hit me as I lay in my childhood bed – Blair was sexy)
Nearly deleted the Blair thing. But – nope. I did envy Ms. G. I really did.