The bus stop is always a fun place to have social interactions. They’re pleasant in Angelborough (as opposed to Angeltown, where the other women actively hated me) but there’s a culture gap.
I live in a very small place (my own head) and tend not to notice things about the world around me. The other women are very observant. I have no fashion sense, no style. They do. That sets the stage.
Yesterday at the stop, one mom exclaimed to her daughter, “Do you have toothpaste on your shirt?” There was, I take it, a tiny dot of white. The mother tried to rub it off, then said, “Oh,” frustrated because there was no time to go home. She said, “Well, just zip up your jacket so I don’t have to look at it.”
Another mom said, “Can you imagine? Some parents send their kids to school in dirty clothes?”
Because I speak before thinking on a regular basis, I replied, “I do!”
Stopping cold, they pivoted to face me, as if I’d said, “Sometimes I kick baby bunnies.”
I added, “They’re only going to get dirty at school anyhow, so I figure, why stress about it?”
I own a washing machine, and we’re not strangers. By my estimation, I run 14 loads a week. My children have a supply of clean clothes available when they awaken in the morning. But these are children who think their shirt’s chief purpose is to spare the paper napkin from getting smudged, and who would rather chew their own collars than get an apple from the fridge.
In my opinion, a felt need of childhood is getting dirty. That way, mom can clean you up again and you can get more dirty. Perpetual cleanliness isn’t going to happen in the Philangelus household. If you’re my child, neither are stylish clothes — unless Aunt C. buys for you because Aunt C. has style and class by the tasteful truckload.
Regardless, I had just proudly stated before the world that sometimes I send my children out the door with smudges and rumples.
They did not bring up the matter again. For all I know, they may be staging an intervention. Saints Styleus and Fabrica, pray for us.