Fall from fashion
I have been in Colorado
How do I
No, I did not pledge my
allegiance to the Broncos with a full color tattoo on my rear end.
An eternity in Colorado would not provide enough time (not to
mention ink) for that to happen.
know I have reached the point of no return because I no
longer possess any remote sense of fashion, and worst
of all, I don't care.
You can blame the
epiphany on the act of a stranger. See, up until that chance
encounter, I had been completely oblivious to the fact that my time
in small, dusty, out-of-the-way towns had taken its toll on my
sense of style. In fact, had it not been for that fateful run-in
with that well-plucked, primped, polished and perfumed visitor, I
would still be living in my blissful little bubble of androgynous
But it all came crashing
down around me last week. There I was, minding my own business at
the self-serve car wash, busily vacuuming up the flotsam and debris
in my car that had finally reached epidemic proportions. I was
sucking up the last of the hairballs and Cheerios from between the
seats before my 75 cents ran out, when I sensed I was no longer
alone. It was not so much an evil presence as an annoying
background din, much like the blaring of a too-loud TV. As my money
ran out and the vacuum came to a stop, the din became more audible
and harder to ignore.
Out of the corner of my
eye, I could see that a gold SUV had pulled up alongside me, and I
heard a woman's voice.
"Do y'all clean
cars and vacuum?" I heard her ask.
I chuckled at the
absurdity of the question as I stood to hang the vacuum hose back
up. I waited to hear the response from whomever it was she was
addressing. But when there wasn't one, my nerves snapped to
attention as I realized she was talking to me.
The woman in the gold
SUV wanted me to clean her car.
OK, so I wasn't exactly
decked out in Dior. But it's not like I was wearing a jumpsuit with
my name embroidered on the breast pocket either. I like to refer to
my ensemble that day as Colorado casual, the basic Durango uniform
of well-worn Carhartt's, my best running shoes and a T-shirt. Sure,
in most places it would have earned me a spot on one of those shows
where they follow you with a hidden camera and berate you for
looking like a bag lady. But for a day delivering newspapers in the
rain it seemed more than acceptable it was sensible. And as anyone
who has endured a mud season in Colorado knows, attempting to wear
anything else is pure folly.
But it was obvious that
she wasn't from Colorado (or anywhere that had self-serve car
washes, for that matter). To her, I looked like someone who scrubs
dirt from rich people's undercarriages for a living. Not that I
have anything against people in that chosen profession. In fact, I
briefly considered accepting her offer, or at least finagling her
keys for a little joy ride. Hell, as long as I was there, I may as
well make a little money and enjoy myself.
But my pride wouldn't
let me. So what if half of my closet was devoted to T-shirts,
thumbing through my wardrobe was about as exciting as reading the
white pages or my ski jacket cost more than my wedding dress? Hey,
at least I wore a dress. Alright, maybe the last (and first) time I
wore heels Reagan was in office and I regularly borrow my husband's
black Wal-Mart tube socks they're clean and happen to go with
everything. I know full-body fleece may not be the most flattering
of fits, but it preserves body heat and repels grape juice like
Sure, at the end of the
day, I may not look good, but at least I feel good knowing that I
accept my utter lack of style and can clean my own car without
worrying that I'll ruin my suede fringe coat from
In other words, by not
making a fashion statement, I am making a fashion
detractor that day wasn't listening, and as I stood there in
bewilderment, she grew impatient and repeated her
"Do ya'll clean cars and
vacuum," she demanded.
I turned to face my
antagonist, in her coordinated denim and rhinestone, knowing that
although the truth can hurt, it can also set you free.
"No ma'am, y'all do," I