Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dresscode for Death

Life has been great over the past few months. GREAT. My job is the best job ever, and every day, I'm excited about going to work. I've never had an experience like this. Also, I'm on the verge of moving out (again). This makes me excited. Something about looking at piles and piles of cardboard boxes and mismatched furniture makes me absolutely bonkers. I'm looking forward to everything having its own place again. I even had a moment last week where I wasn't just tolerating this town, but I was actually embracing it. I was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of my bf's dad's house, and I was drinking a glass of red wine, and it started to rain. The house has a metal roof, so you could hear the rain tapping away. It was so nice. I kept thinking that I couldn't wait to get out of Memphis. I couldn't wait to cut ties with everyone I knew and start over. But I went to LSU and came back. And I went to L.A. and came back. And even though this isn't a place that I necessarily want to be forever, if I wind up staying here forever, there are moments, like hearing rain fall on a roof in the summertime, that make it ok.

Then there are moments that make me want to light the whole city on fire.

I have mentioned on countless occasions that I grew up attending one of those really strict tele-evangelist churches. Not one of the ones that casts out demons and people speak in tongues and fall backwards on the stage, but a tele-evangelist church, nonetheless. Despite the PTSD that I've carried into adulthood from a lot of my memories at that place, I have a strong appreciation for parents who took me to church every Sunday and paid for me to go to camp and all of those things. I'm appreciative that I have an understanding of who God is, and who He isn't, and what I believe and don't believe about Him. I appreciate my background and my faith is the most important thing in my life. But certain parts of the cultural Southern church thing just aren't my gig.

My mom's good friend died on Saturday. She'd been battling cancer for a long time, and on Saturday, she passed away. She had such a servant spirit, and she was someone who was genuinely kind. She'd dedicated her life to serving God, and that was obvious in everything that she did.

I'm not big on funerals, as I've touted before. I hate death and I hate funeral homes and I hate the overwhelming smell of memorial flowers and I hate hugging people whom I hate. So, pretty much, I avoid funerals if I can. Last time I went to a funeral and went back to work afterwards, I was totally worthless and kept crying the whole time. So this time, I decided to go to the visitation the night beforehand, so if I started bawling my eyes out, it wouldn't be quite as bad.

I had a lot of respect for my mom's friend. I respected her because she was the real deal. She wasn't fake or hateful or intolerant. She was genuine. I respected her so much that I carefully picked out a funeral-appropriate outfit that wouldn't make me look like a trollop. Now, I am Dolly Parton through and through, and I typically think, "the flashier, the better," but in this case, I ruled out flashy because this was a matter of respect. I also ruled out casual. I wear flip-flops religiously, but decided I'd go with some very low heeled, close-toed pumps. I even wore pantyhose. There's nothing in this world I hate more than pantyhose except mayonnaise. I HATE how pantyhose drag across your leg hair if you aren't freshly shaved, and I HATE how they bunch up around your crotch so you usually have to wear a slip so your crotch doesn't look lumpy, and I HATE how just the tiniest little snag will make them run and then you look like white trash. I HATE them (I do wear fishnets on occasion, though. not because I want to look like a hooker, but because European women wear fishnets in the winter, and everyone knows that European women are very glamorous, except for the whole not shaving their pits thing). But, the point is, I respected this lady so much that I put on close toed shoes and pantyhose in the 4908 degree heat and I wore a business casual outfit (I hate business casual).

My sister and I pulled up into the parking lot and I saw a few people walk in. And these people were wearing flip flops. And khaki capris. And t-shirts.

And I almost fainted.

I walked into the funeral home and probably would have thrown up if I hadn't spent thousands of dollars in therapy figuring out how to manage anxiety around people that make me really uncomfortable. Everyone was about 50 pounds overweight and I had never in my life been so offended at peoples' lack of taste. I saw people wearing blue jeans. BLUE JEANS. At the funeral home! I had bunched up pantyhose creeping up my crotch and my feet were all crippled because of my close-toed pumps and these white trash people were wearing blue jeans, and SHORTS, and FLIP FLOPS at the FUNERAL HOME?!


These are the things that make me hate this town. But you know what? I've noticed that there are just certain subcultures of people around here that I just can't be around because they irritate the crap out of me. It isn't really the entire city that sucks, despite the high crime and educational deficits and obesity and lack of constructive activities. There are actually a lot of wonderful, supportive, moral, good people here. And I've been genuinely happy since I started my new job and my life is back on track. But seriously. A word to the wise: if you're going to a funeral home, shorts, flip flops, blue jeans, capris, cargos, and tank tops ARE COMPLETE INAPPROPRIATE.

No comments: