The image in my brain was me running, blonde hair blazing behind me, silently screaming, out of the room, through the standing army of caterers, knocking their trays left and right, across the patent-shiny wooden floor of, I’m sure, the most-est eco-est wood, out the two-building high glass front doors, looking back to take aim with my bow at any socialites trying to forbid my exit (of course, there were none) shoving past the valet parking guy after he tossed me my keys, sprinting down the mile long driveway leaving a Roadrunner trail of dust hanging in my wake.
That was the image that flashed through my mind as I stood wide-eyed with a fixed smile nodding and listening to some bullshit analysis of art, art history, art commerce, the art “world”, balancing on too high heels that sported a good label, purchased so that maybe I would blend in with these fine folks and their footwear.
trapped included in a group of men at these events, why did we always have to analyze everything in every conversation? Why did we have to spout off words and names we remembered from college that made us sound intelligent, but were really only examples of superior memory-zoned brains? Why couldn’t we just talk? About, maybe, how tired we all were of faking it at so many different events on so many different levels and talking talking TALKING in an attempt to hide our social, intellectual, and economic inadequacies? That was the men.
As for the women? Thirty more minutes (before I could politely escape) in my mind of wondering how Madame X got her teeth so white, and how Mistress Y got her body so thin and hair so blonde. In fact they were all that way – thin, blonde, tan with fake-white smiles, their simple clothing made in fabrics that must cost at least $100 a yard, their jewelry of rustic leather bands braided around Semi and Super Precious stones. I think the look is called “Casual Elegance” and they ALL had it. The bracelet on Lady R’s wrist alone would not only buy the new tires I desperately needed for my 8-year-old car, but could purchase six new cars with gas money to spare.
I was trapped in a conversation about how after pilates on Sunday wouldn’t it be fun if they all went and had Mimosas? OMG!!! There were squeals of joy and agreement as I wondered what tribe these people were from and secretly glad, in my own admittedly snobbish way, that I wasn’t part of it. The sad part was that I absolutely LOVE pilates as a way to relax every part of me. If I could afford to do it every day, I would.
Hypocrite (and art dealer whore, as my colleague refers to us*) that I am, that evening I had joined in the over intellectualized art analysis talk and smiled with wonder and unabashed joy at the idea of post-pilates Mimosas, even though I was not invited.
* For the record he’s way more of a (self-professed!) art whore than I am.
And then my social switch flipped. Maybe it was a headache coming on from the blinding teeth, maybe it was my good shoes digging into my toes, maybe it was my common sense waking me up, but my GOD I wanted to run my non-pilate’d ass right out of that scene, looking left and right for someone to just try to stop me, and into the waiting arms of my own tribe.
My tribe. People who write thank you cards on paper and send late-night texts of XO’s just because. People who hike mountains and swim in the ocean, people who can sit and talk about clouds or nothing at all, comfortable with silence, people who create works of art in paint, ink, and unique (sometimes singing) voices, words, and thoughts. My tribe. Some of whom would have a martini BEFORE pilates and call it a regular fitness day. People who could give a shit about my economic status or my shoes, but care deeply for my general well being as I care for theirs.
So, that particular evening I did not escape down the well-tended driveway blazing a fiery trail, but reached in my mind toward the people I know who are real and caring and smiled at how they would applaud if I ever actually DID flee such an event, to stand in the driveway, elbow cocked back in true aim, and shoot my flaming arrow in the sky as a sign to them that I was (am) still alive in the arena.
It could still happen as there is an increasingly fine line between manners and absolute truth that keeps the whole scenario at bay.
Until then, May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.