Remember your carefree self. Listen to her…
A February Favorite…
I’ve figured out why I needed to visit the beach each summer. A beach trip reminded me of my younger, carefree self. Carefree as in there’s no inner critic banging on the inside of my skull whispering nonsense like don’t wear white after labor day.
My teen self did what she wanted. When the beach called, I put on a swimsuit, jumped on a bike, pedaled to the shore, and went swimming. Swimming included getting your hair wet. No thought was given to messing up a hairdo or wasting a beautiful day to wash towels.
Hair salons now marketed products that gave you beach hair, the tousled by product of salt water, sand, and fun. Instead of swimming in the sun, to achieve the look as an adult, you slaved at a job in whatever dungeon you called Hell then bought it.
The world with all its absurdities messed with priorities. As an adult, I had to look to teen self to reset those priorities occasionally.
When my mom was young, baskets of clothes stacked up waiting for her to iron them. She had to press hankies, underwear, and pillow cases.
“If you don’t iron these clothes soon, I’ll take them out in the yard and burn them.” My grandmother said.
“Go ahead. I’ll be naked.” Mom said.
You blew your nose in hankies. Your underwear was worn under your clothes and covered certain parts where certain things happened. You drooled on pillowcases. Mom was a woman of reason. She saw no need to waste perfectly good time doing unreasonable chores, but society demanded that she iron. So she did. Each generation passed its chains to the next.
My husband and I were invited to a party at a friends’ house. The host’s children brought out a game involving whipped cream called Pie in the Face. Before you knew it, the kids had the adults playing. There was whipped cream everywhere. It was fun.
I couldn’t help but wonder how much time the hostess wasted cleaning the house before the party. She probably stressed out her family to keep it clean only to be trashed by adults playing kids’ games that involved sticky substances.
On laundry day, I rummaged through my daughter’s cave (actually a bedroom) to collect my clothes baskets. The kid lived out of baskets despite supplying two dressers and a closet.
“I need my laundry basket.” I said.
My daughter took the basket of underwear, opened a drawer, and dumped it in.
“Aren’t you going to fold them?” I said.
“Why?” She said
Why, indeed? You changed your underwear everyday. There’s a quick turnover. Clean, yes, folded, who cared? Nobody saw your underwear.
Mostly no one but, if someone did get a peek of blue striped panties under your printed skirt, you couldn’t actually die of embarrassment. Even if the people came from the professional class at a swanky event and you came from a class of people called doofus, death would not take you. When you’re in touch with your inner beach babe, you could still believe that life’s too short to wear white underwear and be thankful your panties were at least clean.
We needed to listen to our inner kid more and not to the bullshit stories we told ourselves as adults. The fate of humanity doesn’t depend on unwrinkled shirt sleeves. We wasted precious time on frivolities like ironing t-shirts, folding underwear, and cleaning our houses to look like a magazine spread. Think about it. Have you ever said, “We can’t have company over. The house is a mess.”
Was life coiffed hair and a perfectly pressed, matching outfit? Was sitting on a couch covered in plastic in a spring cleaned house fulfilling? You could almost smell the bleach on your hands in this scenario.
I liked to remind myself that dust bunnies don’t spontaneously animate. I’d rather go through life with real, not fake, beach hair. I saw myself kicking up sand in a wrinkled t-shirt wearing my last clean pair of striped underwear and shorts exclaiming, “Wow that was fun!”
Published in Funny Times-July 2018