Above is the aftermath of the big book I just finished proofreading (photo taken with my new cameraphone — I finally got one). Eraser dust everywhere and dictionaries piled on the floor. I'm relieved to have it done (partly because my full-time job has gotten a bit hectic), although in reading the book (a travel guide to France) I learned some new things and got to use my education in French. (Look ma, I'm using my degree!)
"What do you do with a BA in English?" is one of the first big laugh lines in Avenue Q, which Jane and I saw last Saturday, as one of my birthday presents. It was cute and amusing, particularly if you grew up watching Sesame Street, as I did. Before the show we had dinner at CAV wine bar near the Castro. The food was pretty good (high spots: grilled nectarine/goat cheese bruschetta and coffee pot de creme with hot cinnamon beignets) and the wines were mostly very good. Prices were not bad, but it's not cheap. We were seated in the back, but the action is up at the bar (and I mean girl-meets-girl action). Many moneyed and young, sleekly dressed ladies. Made me decide that my cute outfit was actually dorky. At the theatre, I really began to feel like a country mouse (many fancy outfits from Bloomingdales, not my style but much more au courant than mine — I just felt a little bit tattered). Although I start up the "I don't fit in" internal monologue whenever I'm in a crowd, the sartorial life lessons I decided to take away from the evening are these:
a) When I think I can get dressed in under a half-hour and look polished and put together, I am fooling myself.
b) My mother's advice about being able to wear classic, well-made clothing forever is wrong.
c) Corollary to b: Saving clothes for special occasions is a waste. I have a tendency to buy pretty clothes that I love but that belong to some life full of formal meetings and garden parties that I don't live. (I prefer not to think about the clothes I'm saving until I fit into them.) I put them away in my closet and take them out once every 18 to 24 months, wear them on special occasions, and realize I've done what my mother does when she puts on that patchwork velvet long skirt (the holiday skirt, you know). I have no idea when she bought it—it's ageless (yeah, right).
From here on out I am going to seize the day. If I feel like wearing the fringed nubuck wrap skirt out for coffee, I will damn well do it. I will wear the white cotton suit to work, by gosh. And when their time is over, I will let go of them without regret. Not only that, I'll buy cheap, trendy clothes if I like them, and let them go when their moment is over. So there.
Of course, 25 days out of 30 I will still take 5 minutes to put on a t-shirt from Target and some cheap jeans that don't really fit. I'm old enough to realize that I might be able to change a little bit, but fundamentally I'm still the same.