Thursday, April 29, 2010

Small-town Snob

The washing machine is whirling. The refrigerator has been cleaned out. The kids are running wild.


I'm back to reality.

But it's good to be back.

Which means that it was a great vacation away.

Three days was just perfect for me and Real Gil.

We did the obligatory ride on the cable cars. I pretended great interest in the mechanical genius of the antiquated transportation, like any good out-of-towner.

We watched the sea lions and tried not to wrinkle our noses at their stink.

It was cu-hold, so we lasted about 1 minute before we headed to Starbucks.
We spent a lot of money on caffeinated beverages.

Then, we went to see this:

I thought it was some Wicca Convention and was a bit hesitant, but Real Gil coerced me with sweet words and good food. And I'm so glad I went along with his peer pressure. Wicked was fantastic. Amazing. And only wicked if you are a surfer or a high schooler, and "wicked" describes something awesome. It was the best Broadway production I have seen yet. That is not a very good compliment seeing how I'm a hick with exactly three Broadway productions under my belt.

Hmm. Two key words there: hick and belt.

Do you sense a story in there somewhere?

Yes, you do. Well, let me indulge your good senses.

We were definitely out-of-place. Hicks. Every panhandler knew it, every harried businessman knew it (as we slowly walked the streets), pretty much we were yokels down to my tooled Danskos and Real Gil's digital camera.

Never was this more apparent than when I entered this great hole-in-the-wall clothing store. Unfortunately for me, it had a universal changing room. I felt like I was back in PE in middle school, trying to hide behind the locker doors. The only other person in the dressing room was an older woman who looked at me and laughed at my walking shoes.

"You must not be from around here," she said, not unkindly. Well, maybe unkindly.

What makes you think so, little fashion-service lady?, I asked with a smarmy undertone.

Perhaps it was this:

My dorky sweater on...inside out. And I didn't realize it until we got home last night.


Of course, I didn't KNOW my sweater was on inside out while I smiled at the weird fashion advisor/philanthropist. Wishing some other country bumpkin would wander unknowingly into the dressing room so I could go cower in the corner with my jeans halfway up, the woman told me the jeans I had were not skinny jeans.

"You really should try some on," she encouraged me. "Don't pay money for those jeans," she added, pointing to the jeans I was putting on.

This was awkward...considering that the jeans I was putting on were mine.

She browsed through the clothes I had hanging on the clothing rack, and seemed to totally ignore the fact that I was standing there in my socks and underwear.

She pointed to a dress that I had already tried on, and exlaimed, "Oh, that's perfect for you! Try it on for me!"

"I already did, and I liked it," I replied.

She huffed, "I can't tell you what belt to buy with it unless you put it back on."

Very well. I'm such a pushover. (You should have seen me with the panhandlers.)

[Warning: very long aside. In retrospect, I still can't fathom why this woman would take time to be my fashion consultant. Surely she had other, more important things to do - close some real estate deal or plan the hand-picked genetics of her first grandchild or book tickets to some Broadway show (in which, I would tell her how our front-row seats at the Orpheum Theater left me with a little crick in my neck). In some ways, I have to admit that she would fit in pretty well in our small town with that slow, methodical personality. It's the tactless and somewhat materialistic dimensions of her that might make life in the country a bit challenging.]

Then, I committed the biggest fashion crime to date when I proceeded to put the dress on with my blue jeans still on underneath. She positively smirked when she saw me standing in front of the mirror, awaiting her approval. Was it my Adidas shoes peeking out from the bottom of the dress that disturbed her so?

Much to my surprise, she gave the dress her full approval and picked a perfectly coordinated belt. Unfortunately for her, I was not paying $52 for the sucker and ruined her day by choosing the $4 knock-off.

"You're making a mistake," she said, as if every syllable was a gift from her perfectly-lined lips to my simple, conservative mind.

"Yes, well, you convinced me on the dress, but I'm not splurging on a belt, of all things."

I might as well have punched her in the gut, her gasp was so sudden.

I very gently informed the little lady that I was from a small town where skinny jeans and peep-toed ankle boots were not exactly practical given the snowfall and three toddlers I chase. (Mentally, I panicked thinking, "What am I going to do when I don't have three children to use as my excuse for being out-of-style, out-of-sorts, and out of time?") As different as I might look in San Francisco, she would look even more odd standing on a street corner in our town dressed in her leopard-skin pants and blood-red peasant blouse.

We parted ways when her cell phone rang. I snuck back into my dear, old, faithful, slumpy blue jeans. Slumpy is not a word, Dr. Bateman, I know, but it perfectly describes the jeans - they were as slumped as the Velveteen Rabbit. I grabbed my pile of intended purchases and made a quick exit from the dressing room. 'Cuz country girls do not move at a slower pace, much to you city folks surprise, we just don't always have such an urgency to move. Until we get to the city and almost get "citified."


I must say, the fashion advice I received wasn't the only odd thing we observed in San Francisco. Of course.

Real Gil and I did a lot of scratching our heads, and adolescent giggling behind our hands. And I think I officially became a small town snob.

It might have been soon after the crazy man on the street caught sight of Real Gil and I holding hands and started quoting weird Bible verses at us about immorality. The sign he was holding had all sorts of mis-quoted Bible verses and he pointed right at us, yelling "I'll bet you aren't virgins." I was proud of Gil who stopped and gently explained that we were married. The crazy man said we had chosen sex over Jesus, to which I got a bit...ummm...upset. He looked at me and said, "You don't have the life of Christ."

What?! I smiled at him as he started to quote some odd verse (I'm not even sure it was from the Bible) and interrupted, putting my palms up with emphasis: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20) He didn't like that one bit, but Real Gil and I walked away scratching our heads.

Yes, I'm a small-town snob now.

Between the fashion police and the virgin-marriage police, I was just about done with San Francisco. But my favorite puzzled moment was this one, caught on our way across the Bay Bridge. I barely caught a picture as we stared:

Can you see it?
A Port-a-Potty planted on a stand that hung OFF the side of the Bay Bridge.

As is usual with me and a camera, the picture doesn't do it justice. Those trees in the background were quite a bit removed. There was nothing around that little toilet except AIR. I told Real Gil that I would rather wet myself than climb the little ladder and use that restroom. What could be worse than falling off the Bay Bridge while attempting to use the restroom? Or even worse, falling off the Bay Bridge in a twisting, turning, tumbling port-a-potty?

Wait, I know something that could be even worse. Being in a sinking port-a-potty with the fashion police and the crazy no-sex dude.

Heaven help the San Franciscans!

Just to set the record straight, my shirt is on correctly today and my bootcut jeans are acceptable around these parts. So there, smug little "I once was a model for the Gap" lady! And if that's not enough, at least our toilets are firmly screwed into the ground, not dangling over shark-infested waters.

It's good to be home!

No matter where you call home, I pray you are enjoying the day gifted to you. More than anything, I pray you are resting in Him who is our life (whether the weird guy believes you or not!).

Resting in Christ Alone,


Anonymous said...

Welcome home! You almost make me glad that I rarely venture out. And I will NEVER again read your blog while drinking tea. I can think of someone in your house that could pull off the leopard and red combo. And it really isn't you. Good call. K

Alicia Eastvold said...

Only YOU would know what to say to that gal. And only YOU would encounter such amazing things in SF. My favorite part was the port-a-potty. Made my day!