There are certain soundbites that live in my head that get used now as sort of a shorthand for a bigger situation. Some of them are from movies, but mostly, they're from life experiences.
The one that popped into my brain last night, for reasons I will go into later, was something a girl from my freshman dorm would say. Her name was Abby. If ever you went to Abby asking what to wear somewhere, she'd wave her hand like she was shooing away a mosquito, and say, in her South Florida by way up "up north" accent, "Ugh! Jeans and a tee, no big whoop."
As it turns out, that's not always the answer, but here in Nashville, it covers 70% of occasions. It's the other 30% that vex me.
Weddings, funerals, going to a show at TPAC, dinner with friends, whatever. It's not like I have a whole walk in closet full of stuff, but I can typically cobble something together for most occasions. If I know the dress code, that is.
I remember going to Matt's 20th reunion, and he told me jeans and a nice top were good. A lot of the women were in cocktail dresses, so understandably, I was not amused. When Dad died, I was in Atlanta I didn't have anything to wear - I went to Dress Barn (RIP) and found a navy dress that fit, but was in no way attractive or flattering. I found a pair of navy shoes one size too small, and some pantyhose that didn't look too terrible to complete the ensemble. It was fine, but I still regret looking less than right for the day. I should have had the presence of mind to get Matt to bring me something I loved from home. I came home from the memorial and put on jeans and Birkenstocks and a blouse as soon as we got there - no big whoop. I wore the same haphazard ensemble several weeks later to a wedding. I have seen a few pictures, which is how I know that the get-up wasn't my best look.
It's nice, when you're experiencing something new, to know what to wear. Like, a hotline.
Abby would be one of their premier reps. Ugh! Jeans and a tee, no big whoop.
The other soundbite that I think of, from time to time, comes to me as a secondhand recounting of an incident.
A friend of mine was in wrestling in HS. He was also in Drama Club - so from time to time, he'd go from a rehearsal, in makeup, to a meet. It offered a certain level of mind gaming toward his opponent. But the story isn't about him. It's about a teammate. He had a teammate who had built a Buddhist shrine in his gym locker. One evening he walks in to the locker room, dinner in hand. He opens his locker and holds up two porkchops. The he says, "This porkchop is for me.", and takes a bite. The other, he throws into the locker and says, "This porkchop is for my Buddha". I think of that any time I have to sort things. It's sort of my "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli".
The last one I'll tell you is, "Don't bullshit me, Tony!"
Tony was a former co-worked - he was told this one day after fawning over one of our difficult clients, trying to win her favor. Her name was Mrs. Chang. She was very elegant, and typically enjoyed banter with him. But that day, she wasn't having it. He was chatting her up as she got on the elevator, and as the doors closed, she shot out, "Don't bullshit me, Tony!" We all died laughing, even Tony - and it became a common refrain. I still think and say it to myself when confronted with, well, bullshit.
I'm sure you have your own. I have many more, but these are some common ones.