Mrs. G's musings about making the most of her assets, returned the Matron to a pivotal moment in her own self-construction.
You see, in high school, when the Matron was just a Young Miss, she wanted to be Nicole NotHerRealName. Young Miss spent a fair amount of time observing Nicole: how the lithe body moved, how she wiggled in her desk and swirled her hair, how she flirted and smiled. She could not have been cuter! And the Levi's! Oh, Nicky dripped denim and corduroy, all with the prestigious red tag. Friends? To spare! She flew with the A list. You have to ask? Of course, she was a cheerleader! She played the flute, an appropriately pretty and feminine instrument; whereas the Young Miss, in unfashionable eye-glasses, droned in the middle of the pack of clunky clarinets. Nicole's father owned the local car dealership. This was one small town: the dealership. To the fatherless Young Miss, this fact nailed it for Nicky.
That's who Young Miss wanted to be when she grew up. Nicole!
But then came the German class.
Herr Becker had his students conjugating verbs out loud. He'd pick someone at random and shout: Gehen! Haben! Wollen!
Herr Becker: "Nicole! Wollen!"
Nicole: "Wollen? What does that mean again?"
Herr Becker: "You tell me. Past, present, future for I, you, he/she and plural."
Nicole did her adorable hair swirl and chair twirl. Young Miss's heart was aflutter, watching Icon in action. But then something strange, something disturbing, something unthinkable began to unfold. Nicole appeared utterly undone.
Nicole: "Wollen. Wolled, wollee, well, welle?"
Herr Becker glared. This was easy, baby drool stuff from homework we had from day one.
Young Miss radiated and burst! Tried to send ESP. "Ich will, ich wollte, ich habe gewollt. Du willst, du wolltest, du hast gewollt. And so on."
Nicole: "Wollst du? Werde? We wollen, du wolt, wo?"
And the entire room watched while Herr Becker made her suffer until she finally said: "I can't do it."
The voice in Young Miss's head nearly knocked her over with new, Important Understanding: "Nicole NotHerRealName is not smart. I'd rather be smart." Young Miss spent the remainder of the class silently betting that Nicole would peak early, the pinnacle of success perhaps pom-pom or Homecoming Queen crown. This is a German class the Matron remembers well, even now. She remembers how Young Miss considered the vast expanse of a life time and decided that she would rather chug along respectively and then bloom, late, rather than burn out at 17, all fire and comet, assets fried and buried.
Nicole? She had a baby her senior year in high school.
Just so we're clear. The Matron might not have fared much better. She damn well better be a late bloomer. Let's see just how far have the Matron's assets gotten her?
#1. Conversation (with real names! high honeys!)
Matron: "Remember high school?"
Matron: "Well, I've always wondered something. In our group, Cheryl was the popular one. Sherri was the pretty one. Sorry, but you were.. . . uh, how do I put this.. . . um. . . . "
Shelley: "The one in trouble."
Matron: "Thank you. But what about me? What was I?"
Shelley: "Are you kidding me? You were the smart one!!"
Matron: "Wow. Really? Oh, yeah, that's right."
Shelley: "I love it how you can do this."
Shelley: "Be so genuinely smart and so totally stupid, all at the same time."
Matron: "Habitual multi-tasking. I can't help it?"
#2. The Book Title
The Matron came up with this kick-ass, fortune-generating, book title not too long ago, like, oh, 20 years back: Quick Comebacks and Witty Replies: The Pocket Guide for the Slow Thinker.
Alas, she has been unable to come up with any quick comebacks or witty replies. For 20 years. Guess that's the book she's been needing instead of penning.
#3. The Nail Polish Remover
Today, the Matron went to Chicago Nails to repair the damage the expensive Mother's Day pedicure did to her very fine (well, not really) feet. Yes, Juut left one volcanic edge of crud around her heels and toes! And the paint chipped within the day!!
The economic downturn has made a special point of dropping in as a house guest over at the Matron's, so she could not bring herself to fork over big time dough, yet neither could she stand her craggy hooves. It's summer in Minnesota! She has about one sneeze to wear sandals and she doesn't want to scare people away.
So. The pedicure did the trick!
Later, the Matron wondered why her left middle toe hurt. Owie! Inspecting, the Matron was annoyed to see a little sliver of red nail polish on her actual precious and private skin. And it hurt. And ordained that she was just destined to NEVER get an adequate pedicure, the nail in the coffin that she was just not meant for Pampering and Fluff.
So she took some all natural nail polish remover and let go -- whaled and scoured on that thin line of red. Damn. Only hurt MORE. She chucked nature and got the toxic chemical remover and whaled and ripped again. Oh My God! That hurt! That toe might fall off!! But the polish remained.
Wait! A little bulb sizzled in the Matronly brain.
She took her toe to the window and looked again in the natural light. There was no red polish.
It was a cut. Thank God, now thoroughly cleansed with nail polish remover.
She's a definite late bloomer.