When people connect me with Doug, they always ask excitedly if I juggle. My answer that I can’t walk across the floor without tripping on my own two feet never fails to disappoint them. Their disappointment is nothing compared to how I feel about my Jerry Lewis coordination. Tonight, I had one of those extremely rare outings without children. It came after a full day of child chauffeuring and a PTO gathering. I had less than an hour to check e-mail, make sure nobody was littering on a few websites and change out of my mom uniform. In the back of my mind, I unconsciously knew exactly what I would be wearing to pretend I belonged with the grownups. My mistake was not planning ahead and hiding the outfit far from the reach of children and animals.
I prepared to iron the pink shirt that covers my upper arms and doesn’t *fit too snugly across my chest only to discover something sticky splashed or dripped all down one side. It looked like a child used my clean, folded shirt as a bib while eating a popsicle. I had a silent OCD tantrum inside my head while I aggressively squirted spray ‘n wash on the stains. I grabbed my only hot weather, not-a-t-shirt alternative to the pink shirt and sprayed it with environmentally incorrect starch. As I wondered why the starch shot out in a heavy, thick stream instead of a delicate mist, I realized that I was drenching my second choice shirt in spray ‘n wash. Paralyzed, I stood motionless with the iron in one hand and the stain remover gripped in the other hand. I don’t know how long the Aspie teen was watching my laundry performance art, but I realized there had been an audience when I heard him yelling for Dad to “come look at Mom.”
Doug silently removed the useless items from my hands as I explained in one, breathless sentence why I might as well stay at home for the evening. Before I knew what happened, Doug had kicked me out of the house and directed me to grab a replacement shirt at my favorite Knoxville store. He even called and warned them that I was en route. Fifteen minutes later, I sat in the car and changed into my new-to-me shirt. It also required a change of foundation garment. As I risked blinding and traumatizing the public, I briefly thought, “I’m old. It doesn’t matter.” As soon as I thought it, I realized that I have been changing clothes in the car my entire life. At home or in public, I’m a walking Jerry Lewis routine. Too ridiculous for anyone who doesn’t embrace their inner 12-year-old boy.
*Why do clothing designers think that women have flat chests?