"I wish I was European and therefore naturally stylish," she sighed.
"I'm European," I reminded her, as we sat there in our shlumpy t-shirts and capris. "Doesn't seem to be working on me."
Ten minutes later she looked down at my shoes.
"I see what your problem is. There's a Toy Story band-aid holding your sandal together."
That's probably it.
When it's right, you just know. Love, schmove; I'm talking about bras here.
Yesterday, I took Mabel to get her pre-school (pre pre-school, I suppose) haircut in the fancy place at the mall where she can watch a cartoon while they snip. She was very good and enjoyed seeing Jerry and Tweetie Pie beat up Tom in many and various ways, and afterwards she got a small fries and chocolate milk at McDonald's downstairs. And then I decided it was a good day to buy a bra.
Because really, my bras are in a desperate state. If you're looking for descriptions of floaty lace and luxurious fabrics and dainty embroidered detailing, you should probably go elsewhere at this point: six years of breastfeeding have left my boobs feeling most at home in something with good support and wide shoulder straps, preferably with full coverage and in a nice beige tone that doesn't show under whatever I'm wearing. Not sexy, is what I'm saying, but looking much better than the old one when the shlumpy t-shirt goes back on. Comfortable and practical are the watchwords these days.
Anyway, while Mabel ran riot in the Nordstrom dressing rooms, sliding under the dividers from one locked room-ette to the next (we were the only customers at the time, I promise), the lovely assistant brought in one bra after another, starting with the fancy, skin-baring sort that looked beautiful but didn't fit, and finally ending with the one that felt like a big supportive hug as soon as it went over my shoulders. It's beige, it's smooth, it's boring, and I'm in love.
Mabel liked it too. Every now and then she'd appear back in my changing room like a miniature, noisy, whirling dervish to pat my boobs admiringly and tell me what she thought. She liked the shiny padded blue one the best, but in general she liked smooth more than bumpy. A few more years, and she can choose her own, I suppose.
Today I had to go to Baltimore so they could take my biometric data and assimilate it, or whatever it is they do. I thought they might catalog my freckles and measure my earlobes. In the end, they just wanted my fingerprints and a deeply unflattering photo - not even so much as a retinal scan, even though they get that every time I come into the country. Though not for much longer, I suppose, if I can pass the civics test. It appears that I will soon be a citizen. If it happens really quickly, maybe I'll be able to vote in the election - that would be a decent reason, at least. Otherwise, I'm still trying not to think about it in any deep and meaningful way. It's only as symbolic as you make it, I suppose.
As with any occassion when I leave the house and go out in public without children, I felt that I should look something approaching respectable. Beyond changing my sandals for ones without a band-aid accessory, that wasn't really possible though, since it was 89 degrees outside and I was too busy looking up directions and finding some leftovers for lunch in the fridge. They're lucky I put on lipstick for the unflattering photo. Anyway, it didn't seem to matter. Apparently they'll let any old riff-raff into the country.
Or maybe I was just looking suitably assimilated.