(Sunday May 7, 2012)
Earlier today I was riding the T with my parents. (They are visiting for the weekend and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I thought a nice 3 mile walk around the seaport/Faneuil Hall area would exhaust them. I was wrong. They proved to be more resilient). We happened to be on the T with all of the folks who were fighting hunger. These hunger fighters were from all walks of life… the yummie mommies with their flashy babies, the sporty couple, the nerdy Indian brothers, the unpopular sorority sisters and the ridiculous high school students.
I was in high school once. It wasn’t too long ago. I did a lot of stupid shit purely because my friends were doing it. I wanted to be effortlessly cool. I wanted people to see me wearing army pants and flip flops, so they would wear army pants and flip flops. It was a weird cycle of needing to be accepted but not wanting to be like everyone else. I wore the same clothes as my friends and (apparently) didn’t realize how awful they looked on me.
So back to the T. There was a group of early high school-age girls standing in the center. They were each complaining about how tired they were and how much their feet hurt. I couldn’t help but notice what they were wearing… skin tight “Walk for Hunger” t shirts, tiny denim shorts (with the pockets sticking out the bottom) and chuck taylors. They all had straight, flat ironed hair and virtually identical iPhone cases. They looked like clones. Not in a “let’s be cute and match for the Walk” but more in a “we can’t think for ourselves” kind of way. I tried to pick out the Regina George of the group. I looked for the tells… too much eyeliner, expensive (but still somehow badly done) high/low lights, a “pffht” too cool arrogance… I listened to their conversation. Nothing unusual. Boys… being hungry/thirsty…boys…who was where last night…someone’s getting a car… I wanted more. I wanted them to dish about birth control or who was talking to _______’s boyfriend. They sucked.
I started to think about myself. High-school Rachel circa 2002. When did I stop trying to be like my friends? When did I go from tiny denim shorts to practical Puma exercise clothes? There has to have been a day that I decided to put comfort over “cute”. (And there is nothing cute about shorts so small that the pockets hang out the bottom.) I wonder when I crossed over from uncomfortably “fashionable” to crazy looking mid forties housewife? The small tshirts and tiny shorts have been replaced with flowing red sox tees and leggings. Because leggings never make you feel fat and they give the false impression that you have every intention of working out.
I shouldn’t say that I don’t care. That is not entirely true. My best friend is very fashionable, so I use her as my yard stick. She tries to steer me away from unflattering patterns and misplaced stripes. She appreciates the charming confusion that is my “style” and attempts to keep me from looking like I escaped from McLean hospital. She wants me to dress like me. Super awesome!
Riding the T with these girls made me do a lot of thinking. Once we got off, I turned to my mother and before I opened my mouth she started talking about what the girls were wearing. It was like she could read my thoughts. Their shorts and impractical footwear sent her into a rant. This was terrible. This was one of those moments that smacks me in the face… I am just like my mother. Super.
Happy Mother’s Day Thea.