The theme for the pumpkin decorating contest at our friends’ house was “Favorite Diva”. To be clear, I don’t see myself as a ‘diva’. Those are the women who wield power unwisely to suit their very specific and selfish needs, and have lots of hair products and are always on trend or setting trends fashion-wise, at least in my opinion. I am more of a woman with great ideas and foresight and a desire to see things run smoothly for the benefit of all who likes to share her ideas… a lot. Regardless, I came up with an easy pumpkin concept that struck my funny bone and forged ahead.
Pumpkin head, pumpkin cleavage/torso, butternut squash neck, very pretty ribbon hair and mostly matching clothes. Despite our obvious similarities, a few people even with prompting and pointing to the business cards attached to our red jackets, could not guess what my pumpkin was all about. Initially I thought, “well they may not be clever enough to be my friends if they can’t figure that out” but then I realized…. No one sees me as a diva, so they were understandably confused. Okay they can still be friends – even good friends. BTW We did not win the contest.
Never thought I’d be the type to have a life-sized portrait in my home, heck we haven’t even made our wedding photos a wall space priority, but I kept the portrait on a pedestal at home in front of the picture window. With time, the pumpkin flesh sagged, wrinkled, wilted, and got blotchy and moldy. I couldn’t stand to see my Dorian Gray predicting my ultimate future or the growing band of fruit flies so I chucked the squashes into the woods to feed the wild animals. I needed the jacket again anyway.
Which reminds me – the theme in 2011 was literature….. I’d done Dorian Gray for that pumpkin party. The hair on the skeletal one was sheddings from our rabbits, Fun, right? Well we all know how that turned out…..
But I digress.
This post isn’t about pumpkins and make believe, it’s about recognizing ourselves in others, and for me that happened at Starbucks. The line was lengthy, and we were several people back from ordering when the barista mildly identified a beverage while holding a frozen concoction. No one moved; he went on to the other orders. I scanned the crowd – people were chatting, on phones, the place was noisy. Using my best theater training (taught before lavaliers) I boomed out the order. A woman came over and got her drink.
The woman in front of us turned to me. “I’m so glad you said that; I was getting ready to do the same.” I replied, “Someone had to or things wouldn’t run smoothly”. We chuckled our knowing chuckle. My husband and daughter standing near me with cellphones missed the exchange.
As we waited for our orders, another woman on a cell phone, didn’t realize her order was ready. My new friend took the drink, handed it to me and instructed, “can you pass this to the woman in pink.”
I introduced myself…her name also began with an “A”, we shared a hairdo, and an unadventurous sense of tidy, comfortable, mostly classic style, our birthdays are a few weeks apart (Yes, I had to ask if she was a Virgo.) We chuckled at our connection and she headed to the door while I waited for Jon to adorn his ice coffee. I was feeling all sorts of hope for the future of the world, just from meeting someone else who realized the value of observation and organization, and I mentally noted what a value to society we are, when she came back.
“You know at work they told me I’d be a good U-boat commander.”
And what might have been intended as an insult sounded to me like mighty high praise.
I thought about it for a second, but it felt a little too creepy to ask to have our picture taken together, so off we went to improve our own little worlds. If forced to identify our super power, it is the ability to recognize (admittedly within a very small parameter) when people are doing things the wrong way. I feel better knowing she’s out there.
PS My husband laughed when reading this but advised me that most people won’t understand that it is humor and hyperbole. I hope you do.