Do you ever look at someone and go, “I want to trade?” Like, “I want to look like that person and have everything they have. It looks so easy and nice. I want to shed all my crappy bits and forget I ever had them.” That sort of thing? I do sometimes, and I did today at, surprise, Meinhardt’s, that den of inequity and upturned noses I go to every day because I'm lazy (it's around the corner).
I saw this woman, about my age, with her daughter, about seven, waiting at the deli just like me and Oliver. They were basically wearing matching outfits, which sounds like loserville, but at that moment it wasn’t. Poofy short black skirts, tanks, and thin cream cardigans, all of the finest material. Willowy frames. Clothes hanging just so. Expensive gladiator sandals. Mom with black toe polish, girl with red. Perfectly messed but elegant ponytails. Delicate, refined faces only kissed by the sun.
Awed and impressed, I blurted out: “Did you guys just get your toes done today?”
It was probably only a second before the mom responded, but it felt like an eternity, maybe because of the coolness of her gaze. “No, it’s been a while.” It wasn’t mean, but it wasn’t kindly either. She might have been having a bad day. Maybe "guys" was the wrong word.
I do know that I didn’t want to be her anymore. I looked down at my always slightly disheveled self and then further at Oliver’s complete messiness (at all times at least one of: crazy hair, belly popping out, drool strands, food debris, or boogers) and I knew we made people smile. People talk to us constantly. People laugh with us, they open doors for us, and they pick up after us when we drop our belongings everywhere. They might not want to be us, but we’ll take what we've got. It’s a lot.