I had the title for my vacation post all picked out: Upgrades and Downslides. It's good, right? I was going to emphasize the upgrades - of which there were only two, but they were really, really good upgrades - and downplay the downslides - of which there were many, but they were much smaller and didn't really add up to the equivalent of the upgrades. I was really only going to mention them to keep things real as well as to keep you from dying of jealousy over the upgrades. I'm generous that way.
Then I thought about a two part post: Tom and Tammy's Excellent Adventure followed by the obvious sequel, Tom and Tammy's Bogus Journey. That would've been fun, too - and it would've given me the opportunity to trot out my near frightening proficiency with Bill and Ted quotes/Bill and Ted speak. It would've been totally triumphant. Totally non-heinous.
I decided, instead, to talk about one woman I encountered on my trip. We didn't meet - we didn't even speak - but - as we made our way home - I found that I couldn't stop thinking about her.
Tom and I had just finished eating at White House Sub Shop. I had, of course, spilled crushed wet red peppers on the front of my shirt and they left an oily stain. I was a little distraught. I had planned to wear that shirt later that evening when we would be meeting Tom's friends for drinks. I only knew a couple of them and I was nervous. Maximum arm coverage coupled with summer coolness was essential to my brittle self-esteem. I had almost cried with joy when I'd found this shirt. Now I wouldn't be able to wear it. It didn't only have excellent sleeves, it was the perfect color for me. And I'd ruined it before we even had a chance to check in to our room. I was NOT off to a good start. Fat girls have no business eating subs. This was retribution.
Tom thought my concerns were silly, but he's a smart boy, so he didn't dismiss them. Instead he said, "Let's go buy you something new." I have to tell you - I like Tom in vacation mode.
As we walked towards the shops, I resentfully took notice of all of the girls in their tank tops, camisoles, sundresses and even bikini tops. Some were skinny, some were not. Some were toned, some were not. Some were tan, some were not. None of them seemed to be concerned about their arms - and why should they be? Their arms were fine.
And then I saw her.
She was walking towards me with her handsome husband and her adorable little boy. She was a little younger than I was, but just as big. Even her arms. She smiled confidently as she gave her husband a half hug and reached for the hand of her little boy, as the crowd was thickening. She looked beautiful and happy. Her sundress crossed her shoulders with the thinnest of spaghetti straps. A young man walked by and gave her a double take. It was not a flattering glance. He did not see the same beautiful woman that I saw. As she drew closer to us, I wanted to compliment her on her beautiful dress. I wanted to mention how much I loved her aggressively cute pixie haircut. I imagined her smoothing that dress out in a full length mirror, running a hand through her super-short locks, and smiling at what she saw before heading out the door. I wanted to tell her that I appreciated it - that it was working - that she looked great. I wanted to tell her that that boy - who had not gone unnoticed by her or her husband - was an idiot who wouldn't recognize beauty if it smacked him in his stupid little face.
I did none of those things. I walked past. It's what people do. The sidewalk was crowded. To slow down the flow to deliver a compliment to a stranger would've been weird. And I didn't want to draw any undue attention to myself with my stained shirt and my own huge arms. I walked past. I hoped she had a nice day. I hoped she knew she was lovely. I'd meant to tell her...