Saturday, January 13, 2007

a word about alabama, stripey socks & ani

a little story about wearing stripey socks off the beaten path:

once upon a time on our recent cross country drive from virginia to san francisco, we took the southern route. the back roads southern route...down through the carolinas, through georgia, & alabama. on this back roads route we decided to slip through linden, alabama. my father was a minister & pastored a church down there for about 2 years - i was around 4/5 years of age & went to kindergarten down there in this itsy bitsy town. i wanted to go see it; not having been there for 27ish years. found the church & house we lived in via remembering pictures from the photo albums. kinda crazy wandering around, remembering floating in big tubs in the pot holes in the driveway when it rained -- being pulled around in the red flyer wagon -- playing on the church bell tower -- sneaking into the church where my dad would ask who that little church mouse was pattering around -- being dumped over into the red ant hills & having to soak for hours in the tub to cool the bites -- playing in the woods -- riding horses -- riding on the back of my dad's motorcycle in the driveway that circled the church................

so that was fun, amusing, & fairly enlightening in thinking on how glad i was that we did not stay down there...strange to do the 'what if' game...what if i had grown up there? what would i be doing now? what kind of experiences would i have had...you know, the pondering game which is so great to do while driving, driving, driving...

now, the point of my story is this: i had on my cute skirt & knee high stripey socks & polka dot vans - all in all a super fun outfit that i would wear any day of the week. and i assume from what i'm going to tell you next, that this is a very, VERY odd outfit to wear in small town alabama. when we left linden, we got to another little town where we decided to stop in to the local grocery & get a few odds & ends. i also had to pee - which took me to the mcdonald's in this parking lot. so i go in & round the corner to go to the bathroom & this family of 4 are sitting in mcdonald's obviously after church (this was a sunday and presumably they were dressed in their sunday finery) - the teenage girl of the family totally stares at me - TOTALLY stares. i'm waiting for the bathroom to open up & this girl not only continues to stare at me, but begins to snicker & then leans over to her mother, whispers, & the mom turns and stares too, as does the younger brother AND the father...at this point i'm getting rather pissy & totally glare back at the dad & the girl who is smirking & laughing...it so very obvious that they are completely thinking my outfit is a bit odd. which i commence to think about when i go in the bathroom & start to get just a might haughty about this. i mean really...are we not living in 2007? do we not get out in the world at all? have they never been to a larger city? don't they at least own a damn t.v.?? am i really going to need to feel strange about what i am wearing? do i really need to start thinking and questioning the fact that just because i'm in a *very* small town in southern alabama, that this family that has obviously just come from church has the gall to laugh at what i'm wearing? & am i truly going to let this bother me? (well, obviously me writing about it has clued you in)...so. i come out of the bathroom, determined to at least glare & stare right back at them with my most highly raised eyebrow that i can muster so at least they can know that i know & that hopefully they might feel compelled to feel a bit bad. not being one who can ever actually say something to them (although i truly truly wanted to go & tell the daughter where i bought my awesome knee length stripey socks & polka dotted vans since she obviously *loved* them so much & was extremely jealous - yes, i wanted to, but bit my tongue). now, what was so strange about this experience is this: i have never really been bothered about looking a bit different (and actually, living in san francisco i am woefully normal) - but this experience totally bothered me. & i think it bothers me so much because of how completely stereotypical the whole scene was. out of towners pull into small town alabama, out of towners look --different-- the small town locals stare, the small town locals laugh, the locals make me feel like a complete weirdo. & i reallly have to wonder, for real? for real?!! my outfit was that strange? god forbid i drove through there with bleached out short hair & my funky attire from a few years ago? all in all, it made me really sad. to think that somewhere in this wide country i live in, there is a family that finds it alright to out & out laugh at a stranger after they have come out of going to church. what?! for real for real????

now the ani part: she sings a song about wandering around the states...and then being in alabama, wear she gets laughed at & stared at...& that at least when she walks down the street in n.y. that people tell her exactly what they think of her. & i heard this again fairly soon after coming home to s.f...and i thought, yeah, that's exactly how i felt...that i feel like the utterly boring one sometimes here in s.f. & felt so strange out of my element in a little small town...& i wonder...what would me life have been like if i grew up in linden, alabama? would i be the same person? would i have grown up to be involved in the arts? to embrace being different & be proud of that fact? or would i have ended up at the local mcdonald's snickering at the out of towners who obviously weren't from these parts... ?

it was so strange...this provided hours of pondering time for me.......

9 comments:

Pootlecat said...

Well, I think you look totally ace (and normal!). I often wear stripey socks to work and they always get commented on, mind you I tend to wear stripey socks that don't match each other!

LB said...

Aww, I wish you had busted out a camera and taken a picture of them, 1) so we could see them and snicker back, and 2) so they could feel like the freak show!

You know you're so way cool.

jenifer74 said...

thanks gals! :)

candykid6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
candykid6 said...

i agree, a picture of the yocals would have been grand. and i adore what you wear, especially the socks. and what kind of people could DISS vans? have they gone mad? i can sort of relate though, i wasn't in such a small town in alabama but it was small enough (biggest thing being a walmart) and i got my fair share of stares, and some sharp remarks of distant relatives while i'm chocking on ten peoples second hand smoke and going death from the sound of like twelve different people arguing about everything and nothing. quite the time to be had, i'm not a bama fan needless to say.

anywho, i think you (and your clothes) are *stellar*

candykid6 said...

*deaf* ( somethings never change)

Twospace said...

we had a very similiar experience at a dairy queen in western texas once..... i can SO relate!

adrien-alice said...

I think the hard thing is that we're kind of hard-wired for compassion, especially when we're travelling--oh, here I am somewhere new and I'm open to what it's going to teach me. And then it teaches you that the people in this interesting connection to your past would drive you wacko? It's not an actual tragedy or anything, but it's totally counter to the story of the road and traveling. And then and also, part of traveling and being a stranger is getting to think that you probably got that girl thinking about stripy socks in a way that might well find her snagging a pair while getting her youngest diapers at a walmart in ten years, you know? Maybe striped socks become her tiny rebellion? You'll never know, but....

candykid6 said...

cheers*