Most people, when asked, can tell you quickly whether they are city mice or country mice. My sister loves New York, with the lights, the energy, the theater, the shopping, the dining, and everything associated with sophisticated, urban living. I would rather live on an isolated Kansas wheat farm than spend a weekend in NY. I like quiet, open skies, large front porches, and small populations with space between me and the people next door. I also love the more casual lifestyle of rural living, especially when it comes to clothes. City living demands, at minimum, a fundamental understanding of the basic principles of style (and a daily commitment to at least attempt to achieve it), while small-town living offers the blissful option of a quick dash to the supermarket in sweats and no makeup, when you are not, in fact, going to or coming from the gym.
After a few years, however, country mice can start to get comfortable in their casualness and forget that yoga pants are not necessarily the only clothing option available, and that messy ponytails and no makeup are sure to bring you face-to-face with old flames or, worse yet, old school friends who only wear workout gear to, well, work out.
So I’m out running errands, happy and semi-oblivious to the fact that my entire outfit was purchased at 3 different stores whose names ended with the word “Mart,” and run into an old college friend, in town for a marketing retreat with her advertising company. Yep, the one she owns. She bounced over, all fabulously fit from her apparently 3-hr daily workouts, tucked into a very expensive pair of jeans and high-heeled boots, with her perfect hair and airbrushed makeup, and then proceeded to catch me up on the recent publishing of her new photography book (she’s a writer and award-winning photographer), which she’s “just too tickled over,” but she lamented that she’s missing her earlier career as a legal interpreter (she speaks fluent Mandarin). As I stood there, in stupefied silence, waiting for her to take a breath, she finally stopped long enough to ask, “How’s the skiing here?” Not exactly a conversation starter, since I don’t ski, but no matter. Seems she’s an expert downhill skier (big surprise), and thought she might be able to “squeeze in a few runs” before her returned to her winter season home in Palm Springs. As she bounced away (visions of Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh, kept flashing through my mind), with her “SO great to see you and get caught up!!” (interesting comment, since I hadn’t said more than “Uh, huh” for the past 20 minutes), I expected to see her mount up on a unicycle and ride home on one wheel while hand-stitching quilts for orphans (I know…so going to hell for that one), but she let me down here and drove away in her vintage Jaguar with a little wave and a bright smile.
God, I’m such a loser…