Thursday, February 23, 2006

Facing the music

You can never see funerals coming, even when the person has been sick for a while and you know it's going to happen eventually. This time it was really out of the blue. LunchBoy's best friend's father. A strapping, healthy guy who keeled over at 57 for no apparent reason. Really scary. We're heading to PA for the wake and funeral tomorrow.

Some people can focus on logistics when things go pear-shaped, but I always process events emotionally first and logically second. Which is why it was only after my heart had broken for his friend's pain and we had made our travel arrangements that I realized attending a wake and funeral meant wearing funeral-appropriate clothing and that no such clothing currently exists in my wardrobe. Stupid and superficial, but true. All my grown-up clothes are work clothes and there's something wrong with going to a funeral dressed like I'm going to the office.

After work I stood in front of my closet and considered the meager options. I'm not sure what more frightening--the fact that I still own the pleated black skirt that I wore to all my middle school chorus concerts, or the fact that, if I pull it up high enough on my waist, it still fits. The shoe situation was even worse.

Something had to be done. Clothes, of course, are beside the point but they keep me busy in a situation where I'd rather be helping but there isn't much I can do. Not that anyone will be looking at me tomorrow or Saturday. I suppose things like this will happen from now on, though, and it necessitates some preparation. At the very least I can prepare for the future sartorially if not emotionally. So I made an emergency run to the mall after the gym. My first stop was the snake pit, Ann Taylor, home of gorgeous grown-up clothing that I can never afford. But I only had an hour before the mall closed and no time before we leave for PA to do more shopping, so I forged ahead.

They had the perfect thing. Of course. The price tags and my practical nature didn't mesh. My fingers found themselves calling my mother so I could ask for approval in the form of encouragement. Emergencies can't be helped, though, so I pulled the trigger.

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