The Almost Compliment

My neighbor is more like me than I realized. Having only met her once on the beach, clad in full wetsuits a few months before, I hadn't the chance to recognize myself in her until the conversation we shared today.
We happily greeted each other as she waved from her front yard. I guided my stroller over towards her picket fence and cooed over her newest baby boy (her third child-the woman dispenses infants like a candy machine).
"I think we saw you at the park the other day," she offered.
I now recall recognizing her daughters, who have hair like bohemian mermaids, butt-length and curled in loose tendrils down their backs. I eyed their golden locks and thought to myself if Shelby had the ability to grow long hair, which, unfortunately, is not in her DNA, that her hair would look a lot like these girls.
"Oh, your girls have the long curled hair!"
"Yeah," she answered.
"Were you with a big group of women and kids of all ages?" I asked....with the big circus tent and the elephant giving rides-there was so much action over there the table resembled a 3 ring circus act.
"Oh yes, that's us. My girlfriends and I have been getting together for ten years now."
So that's what my friends and I look like when we get together, a furious cloud of activity, like a swarm of bees you don't dare get close to.
And then she added, "You were wearing a RVCA shirt I have... I mean, I have the same shirt, and I've never known how to wear it until I saw you in it the other day. I've just always worn it as a swimsuit cover. I pointed you out to my friends without recognizing you!"
I raised my eyebrows as I attempted to recall exactly which shirt she was referring to and what my state of insanity was the day an entire group of women were observing my style of dress. Oh God, I thought, at what level was my insanity, was that the day Ana got stung by the bee and then pooped out her diaper?!?!
I was lost in my own thoughts when she delivered a line I was sure could only be uttered by me, myself and my schizophrenic I.
"I didn't realize you were such a cute dresser." And she gave a slight nod to my Monday tunic and skinny jeans.
Okay, although intended to be a compliment, her double entendre suggested that my first impression months before on the beach-albeit in a rubber wetsuit, matted with sand and topped by a coif full o' seaweed-did not parlay my zest for fashion. Where did I go wrong?
After thanking her (I think), we offered our neighborly goodbyes and headed out. And the rest of my walk I pondered ways in which to improve my wetsuit appeal. Earrings? Waterproof mascara? Maybe a trendy patch sewn onto some portion of my rubber suit. If only I had gone through with that foot tattoo when I was in Tahiti I might have come off as a lifetime fashionista. Now, I must settle for the title bestowed, a newly discovered fashion plate, the girl who came outta nowhere.
And then I smiled even wider because I appreciated her blundering gesture, the "foot in mouth, I-meant-it-in-a-good-way-even-though-it-came-out-all-wrong compliment". I think I'm going to like getting to know this neighbor better. We certainly have a lot in common...


JO said...


NewportJaime said...

Based on the fashion recommendations in this blog, you seem like a FANTASTIC dresser!