I generally need little help embarrassing myself. More often than not, my mouth has a mind of its own. My opinions believe in free expression. At any given moment I may break a heel, fall on the floor for no apparent reason or have a business conversation with spinach in my teeth. That’s why real women shouldn’t eat salad. Chocolate leaves no evidence.
This proclivity paired with technology spells downfall for those of us unable to text on an iphone as it does not respond to tapping fingernails. Handing it off to a child we remark, “This piece of crap doesn’t work,” and happily go back to an ancient flip phone which never fails us. My technological mishaps are more often than not emails sent to the wrong recipient, private messages made public and not being able to extricate the phone from my purse before it ceases its infernal ringing. facebook is the exception. facebook pulls me in and threatens to wile away hours of my life leaving me bleary eyed and spent at two am. One might expect a mistake or two non?
Our family did not always live on the surface of the sun. We spent many years in the tundra of Minnesota, a state of frozen land and attitude. I lived a constant fish out of water status; the proverbial square peg. Girls from Chicago are loud, mouthy, sarcastic and sometimes caustic. Chicagoans rarely make fashion choices based exclusively on weather and can actually drive cars without four wheel drive. Minnesotans are not generally appreciative of opinions, gorgeous coats not made of down or halloween costumes not fitted over snowsuits. To say I was not a match for life in the hinterland is an understatement. I never fit. I found constant talk of weather, keeping private life private and potatoes with every meal difficult. Not to mention venison and lutefisk passing as food. The Norwegian and The Chickens–loved it. It is a vast land that embraces to its bosom those born to it. It’s only unkindness comes to interlopers.
I admit to ruffling a Minnesota feather or two. As a young mother with more house, money and time than sense, I actively participated in the neighborhood gossip. Snark was alive and well in our little Hamlet. Young mothers should never be given mini mansions and country club memberships. They should stick to perfecting golf swings and tennis backhands. Comparison, the game played most in our little neighborhood, produces neither winners nor losers. It’s only victor is hurt feelings. I gave as good as I got. There was a certain group of dolls; so much “cooler” than me. The Gossip Girls. They were fun, acclimated to the Minnesota way of life and as friendly as the Eastern Block. It became my mission to infiltrate their group and it proved my downfall.
For the first time, I cared deeply about party exclusion, slights to my children and less about creating a beautiful life, family and home. I focused on who had better drapes, a more manicured lawn and better vacations; and less on writing, self reflection and minding my own business. The good news was I learned skills. I learned to dress to intimidate, create a marriage everyone envies and arrange tupperware according to size and shape. I did it for the wrong reasons, but those tupperware skills continue to serve me well to this day.
A packed Durango ala The Beverly Hillbillies with Hamlet in the rear view gave me intense pleasure. I was positively giddy to leave. Lessons learned. Since then, the only person I openly slam is me.
Until yesterday. Middle Chicken and I are reminiscing about her childhood and the old neighborhood children. So and so had a baby. This one got married. Oooh let’s check on some of the others. Middle Chicken moves on to something important and I move to facebook stalking. I travel to my Gossip Girls from the day. One is on facebook; two others not so much. But surely their children are. I follow the friendship trails and hit on one doll’s daughter. I’m not all that interested in the daughter. What I’m secretly hoping for is pics of her mom. And that she’s frumpy; not the lithe beauty she was with tennis legs, a masterful talent for decorating and exquisite culinary skills; talents I lack now as well as then. I do not find a photo of said mom. I move along to the other Gossip Girls and find their successes, divorces, the good and the bad of all of us.
Hours later, “ding.” facebook message. A ding from phone, ipad or facebook excites me. I wonder who wants to tell me something of utmost importance. Instead, this ding is a friend acceptance and message from a Gossip Girl’s daughter. Whaaa? The brain races. In my technological expertise and stalking, I hit friend request to the daughter of one of the Gossip Girls. Good move. Who says you can stalk in private, hmmm?
Gossip Girl’s daughter says “Hi. I was so sorry to hear about The Norwegian. I hope you are all well.” What she really wanted to say was: “Good God you and my mom hate each other. Why the hell did you friend request me?”
I pace about a bit. And sweat. Damn menopause. I write, “Hello Doll. We were just talking about our little town and we thought of you and your sisters. Hope you and your parents are well.” And as my heart sinks at my foolishness and her no doubt report of my silliness to her mother, I think how small I must look. Embarrassment is mine. Again. It’s a gift.
I imagine the technological thread. Gossip Girl daughter goes first to her sisters, then her mom. Mom goes to the Gossip Girls and the circle is complete. We are back to fifteen years ago and our bad behavior. At least I am. Ashamed? A little. Embarrassed that I inadvertently have stirred the pot? A lot.
And then I remember it is midsummer. Fall will be here soon. I am headed into a season of balmy breezes, eating dinner outside, dresses with cute little sweaters, no hose and perfectly paired pumps. Occasionally I may need a Pashmina if the breeze is chilly. And the Gossip Girls? Well, what the Gossip Girls have to look forward to is a Minnesota winter. Advantage me.
2 thoughts on “Embarrassment? Advantage Me…”
we live just across the river in fargo (our “home base” & where out mail gets sent) & we own a home in fountain hills, az. we also have two lake homes in MN. they really all have advantages. we love jumping into our pool at 6am & golfing year round. i love the no humidity & have no qualms about 100+ degree heat. our home in AZ boasts views that are positively dimensional. after four years, it still takes our breath away as we fly our own planes into the valley for our 4-5 times a yr pilgrimages. but i would not give up our eight acres of cedar trees w/ our winding boardwalk throughout (the smell of cedar…ahhhh), our A frame log home over looking what is possibly the most beautiful of all the 10,000 lakes in MN (our other lake home is on a pretty lake, but lots are smaller & the lake is more recreational). in the summer we throw lavish parties & take guests 4-wheeling through gods country or out on the sailboat. we have a four season gazebo w/ a full bar that sits in the middle of a forest. the home has a 3-level wrap around deck & well into fall we sit out there wrapped in cashmere (its a must to have it in a selection of plys) watching wild life & the leaves falling off the deciduous trees while drinking cocktails. the heels of my louboutin boots get caught int he decking, but i wear them anyway. why not? we bike the heartland trails through quaint towns where time has seemed to stop in the 30’s & 40’s w/ a picnic lunch & a bottle of white wine on ice. we have a 200′ of private beach where we build bon fires (provided smokey the bear says its ok). we sing songs, we dance in the sand. its tranquil. we watch the painted turtles lay their eggs in the sand & listen to the loons sing. we breathe in air that cannot be described. & in the dead of winter, we can stare out those floor to ceiling windows at the snow falling while we sit by a roaring fire & drink more cocktails. everything is so still. because of all the trees the snow sits tall on deck rails & it glistens at dusk. spring can be dicey w/ its dampness & mud (i have prada rubber boots!), but its the only chance youll have to see the thousands of lady slippers & bulbs blooming on the property. the grass is lush like carpet. my nephews girlfriend asked me which home i liked better & do i ever feel like a nomad. i thought about it for a second & then i said, “four homes, equals four fabulous wardrobes + shoes!” it is a luxury to get to experience it all. im sorry you werent able to enjoy the experience more.
What a lucky girl–your life sounds amazing. No doubt the Land of 10,000 Lakes is gorgeous. Some of the most beautiful country anywhere on earth. I can see you tromping around in your Prada and Louboutins. Go girl! Thanks for checking in!