I know I'm a source of embarrassment for my 11 year old. She has been quite clear about that. And I'm good with it. It's sort of a job requirement - parents should look and act different than their kids do. . . that's how you can tell which is the parent and which is the child. In the past week, I have discovered that I feel no urge whatsoever to laugh on Chivo Loco's third grade field trip when the bus used a highway onramp marked Peabody/Portsmouth. Third graders, old enough to read, not old enough to know better. All it took was one kid yelling, "Pea-body, Pea-body!" to make the busload of nine year old all laugh until they cried while I couldn't even manage a smirk at that one. When the Princess asked me to go into Victoria's Secret with her to buy a shirt and then used me as a human shield to avoid all visual contact with the bra section, I complied. I also gave her free advice - never go bra shopping in Victoria's Secret before Valentine's Day unless you appreciate loads of skittish men in their trying to figure out what to buy for their wives and/or girlfriends, as they do tend to look all the female customers straight in the chest while apparently estimating their bra sizes. I'm helpful like that.
However, on Saturday, I experienced something that made me wonder if I am not, on an objective level, embarrassing to my child. The Princess and I were in Harvard Square, standing on the sidewalk waiting for an opportunity to cross the street when a man came up to me and asked me if I needed a free phone. (Much name dropping will ensue, for reasons that will become clear.) I was a little surprised, because I had my iPhone in my hand, so I didn't think I was really the target audience for a free phone. And I politely said, "No, thanks, I already have one." The man then told me that if I was on public assistance I could get a free phone. I said no again. He responded that by public assistance he meant not only financial help but food stamps and subsidized health care. I kept telling him no, and he kept naming more public assistance programs that qualified for the free phone. Finally, we were able to cross the street, and that had the fortunate effect of getting rid of this man.
I have to wonder why, of all people, this man chose me to pester with 20 questions about what kind of public assistance do I receive. We were in the middle of Harvard Square, which has one of the most diverse selections of pedestrians in the world, and he picks me as the person who looks most down and out and in need of a free phone. So I'm of the mind that I need some sort of makeover, and I thought I'd ask you what you think. I don't have any photos of myself on Saturday morning, but I had showered before I left the house. I was probably a bit damp because it was a rainy morning, but here's what I had on:
From the bottom up, I was wearing Chucks, a pair of jeans from The Gap, and a Gore-Tex rain jacket from LL Bean. I had a Vera Bradley bag on my shoulder, an iPhone in one hand, a large chai from Starbuck in the other, and an umbrella from the Ritz Carlton tucked under my arm. Am I really that out of touch? Maybe I need to start posting photos of myself on Twitter or Instagram before I leave the house so that I look like a productive human being, versus someone who spends her weekends panhandling in Harvard Square. Maybe I should have told the man that yes, I would like a free phone, as I'm due for an upgrade on my cell phone. Or perhaps I should have just been rude to him. Though I always come away from these situations believing that there's something about me that causes the unpleasant interaction, maybe I need to accept that some people are clueless or rude or whatever, and it's not me. Still, it couldn't hurt to look a little smarter when one goes out. . . any advice?
On a more pleasant note, we're enjoying a bit of a diet makeover at our house. We are thinking about joining a CSA this year and enjoying fresh local fruits and/or vegetables, and we've been back to our favorite farmstand:
We made a special trip to get the chicken because it was freshly butchered. It's in the fridge now, and that is making both dogs absolutely crazy. There is also cool Guatemala Atitlan tea from White Heron Teas. Lake Atitlan is high up in the mountains, a huge lake formed by several volcanos and ringed by 12 villages named after the 12 apostles. The altitude and volcanic soil are good for coffee growing, and apparently someone decided to try tea, too. On the left are duck eggs, which El Esposo hasn't had for over 10 years, but he grew up eating. On the right are chicken eggs, in three colors, which are the very best chicken eggs that El Esposo has ever had in the United States. So, besides being fresh and locally produced, this week's haul has the advantage of reminding El Esposo of Guatemala. He had a couple of duck eggs this morning for breakfast, and our senile senior dog was alert and focused the entire time - the dogs each had some of the cooked duck egg whites and they were very, very happy.
At least our insides are looking good over here!