Today I committed another major social faux pas. I used to commit them on accident, now I understand the rules of the game and I commit them on purpose.
I went into Bellevue without makeup.
My fingernails and toenails weren’t even polished.
My jean shorts were ragged and had holes because I wore them out, not because I purchased them with holes. A novelist might describe me as “unspoiled”, but, in Bellevue, I was just a raggedy ol’ woman who should have been shopping and saloning instead of buying a latte with an extra shot. Shopping is so celebrated and cherished here, I am surprised it isn’t one of the sports offered in the high schools.
To you in the Midwest, Bellevue is like cake-eating Edina, MN on steroids. The county swallowing all these WA cities, King County has 68,000 millionaires, ranking it the 10th in the nation for the most amount of rich people. Rich people who like to wear expensive clothing and primp on their appearance.
People here that ARE wealthy want you to know it. They buy very expensive jeans with holes in them so they look like real people that have worn out their jeans but are too cool to care. People that live here that AREN’T wealthy want you to think they are. They buy nice jeans without holes in them so they look like they are people of leisure that can afford new jeans. Image is everything.
When we first moved to WA we rented in Bellevue. When another homeschooling mom I met asked me where I lived, she raised her eyebrows at my response and said, “Oh, you’re one of those.” In that year I learned what triggered her jesting remark. So, when it came to actually buying a home, I told my realtor that if I couldn’t leave toys in the yard, hang clothes on the line, drive older cars and wear holey jeans (before they were in style), I didn’t want to live in that neighborhood. We ended up buying two suburbs away.
This morning, back in Bellevue, I noticed the other customers in the coffee shop were polished and spiffed, the men more so than I am even on a good day. One guy’s shoes were SO shiny, I considered borrowing one to snag those last few straggly eyebrows I had missed while plucking the other day. The men here get their nails done, sometimes. They get buffed and plucked and toned and massaged. Eeww. I guess I grew up with too many guys with perma-dirt on their hands and under their nails from fixing their own motorcycles and cars to think it manly to have your nails done. Do you think they use Goop in their manly salons?
But, at least I knew how to order coffee. I have lived here long enough to rip off my drink order without a hitch. It’s like adopting a fake accent after you move south. I don’t think anyone hearing me casually chant out my order noticed that I am not native.
Unmoisturized hand with unpolished nails and cracked cuticles holding a grande sugar-free vanilla latte with an extra shot.
When I used the restroom, I checked my reflection. It was worse than I had anticipated. The material was a lot thinner than I had noticed in my caffeine-craving morning fog. If I sneeze today I am going to blow the backside out of my shorts. I had dots of red deck stain all over the rear, as well. Great, worn out shorts with chicken pox. For damage control I ran my fingers through my hair and scrunched the curls to hopefully draw attention upwards.
I walked back to my car with the PNW gait, toes pointed forward, back straight like the chiropractor said, breathing deeply the cedar-scented air and holding my right arm bent at a 45 degree angle, keeping it close to my body to not spill the hot coffee. I looked like everyone else walking down the street with their beverage wrapped in a recyclable brown cardboard sleeve….
except for the plain toenails, lack of makeup and the paint splotches.
I stood up straighter, swaggered a little more as I law-abidingly crossed when the glow-in-the-dark stick man appeared and tried to eke confidence.
As I passed in front of BMWs and Lexuses I laughed that I really don’t fit in, I never will fit in and I don’t really want to. To live in that world of materialism is just not me. When I do home-salon myself it doesn’t define the real me, it enhances the real me.
And, just as I was just passing through Bellevue, I contemplated how as a Christian, I am just passing through this world. I don’t belong here, I am on my way to Heaven to be with my Lord and Savior Jesus. My time on earth is just to serve Him, not get so entrenched I can’t stand to leave.
I thought of this hymn as I sipped the quickly cooling latte –
THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME
“This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
O Lord you know I have no friend like you
If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
I just really don’t belong…