Small Talk

All dressed up, but no place to go

You may have heard some odd gossip flowing around the coast communities this past week. It will be of an incident that took place during lunch last Saturday and may start a whole new legend of the wandering widow in black.
“We were in the middle of lunch when this strange apparition came right into the restaurant draped in a black veil, with long black gloves apparently in tears, like she had just come from a funeral. She looked around, frowned, spoke with a waitress, made a call on her cell and then left as abruptly as she had come. She was either laughing maniacally or crying … hard to tell.”
It’s a great potential ghost story, but, of course, I’m that woman. And to several unsuspecting diners and a few puzzled wait staff, I thought I would explain. I’ve mentioned several times how often I choose to be silly on purpose. I was silly just last week, dressing as Mother Nature for Earth Day, creeping ivy and all. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that the Fates would be a little less anxious to throw me into situations where I get to look unintentionally silly? You would be wrong.
I’m not sure which came first. I was rather clumsy and loud as a child, so maybe I was accustomed to looking silly by the time I had children. It is your children’s job to make you look silly, and happily gives you the job of loving to be silly for them. Or perhaps it was the other way round. Once I got the hang of being silly on purpose for my babies, I stopped being bothered by the unexpected incidents. Either way, it makes life much easier.
In any case, I had been invited to a friend’s 60th birthday party at a café in Carlsbad. I thought it would be amusing to do as I have done for several friend’s major birthdays and going-away parties, and drape myself in mourning, making a big entrance sobbing. It usually gets some laughs. This time, however, in spite of being an English major, I misread the invitation. I didn’t just misread it once. Showing clearly the power of misperception, I misread it three times along with the e-mail reminder. I arrived a day early.
In I swished, draped in black tulle, with a hanky to my mouth, ready to be royally silly and I saw no one there I recognized. Yeah, I felt silly alright.
I did it all again the next day with good results, and at least the café staff knew what I’m up to this time. They did show exemplary restraint the day before, and were anxious to help me, giving no sign that I looked like an escapee from some local loony bin.
They aren’t far wrong, but fortunately, I’m harmless.