Being the awesome mother I am, I hied my slovenly ass up to the middle school to sign my son out early so he could come home and start winter break with a big ol' nap. (See? I AM awesome.)
One of his friends was in the front office checking out, too, and he looked me over and asked, "Are you sick?"
"No," I said defensively. "I'm a writer on deadline." I think what he meant to say was, "Holy crap, lady. You actually go out into public looking like THAT? Aren't you afraid of causing the elderly to have heart attacks and frightening small children into lifetime therapy?" Only he's twelve-a-teen and knew better than to tell me I looked like cat puke.
Anyway, I (lightly) punched him in the arm and said, "Don't call me sick. I don't want to be sick. If you say sick, I might get sick." What I meant to say was, "It's not polite to notice I look like cat puke and then point it out by asking me if I'm sick. And oh yeah, shut up."
Someone recently mentioned to me the horror of witnessing the half-asleep, bra-less, PJ-wearing moms who drop their kids off at school. I said, "So what? I do that, too." On weekday mornings, I'm trying to get my kid to the Big Place of Learning pre-coffee and post-get-child-out-of-bed-without-going-Hulk, so the hell if I'm gonna worry about putting on a bra or ditching my comfort clothes on the off chance my appearance will make strangers blanch. I'm in my car, not skipping down the street with breasts a-swinging and pajamas a-flapping. Also, I'm trying to keep my shit together long enough to get home and get caffeine. If your eyes bleed from gazing upon the a.m. carnage of the drop-off lane, I offer this advice: Look. Away.
When I'm writing, I don't pay attention to much. If my children are silly enough to ask me questions, they receive glazed-eyed looks. I am able to muster up a laugh when my son, obviously forgetting he has the abilities to read directions and operate a microwave, pops in to ask for food. (Kitchen, son. Son, kitchen. Hope you enjoy a lifelong friendship.) To continue ... I walk around in a zombie state, muttering to myself, and I forget to shower and to eat and to do the dishes.
And yeah, I often venture out of the house in this state, usually wearing sweats, old T-shirts, and whatever shoes I can find. (Not the pretty ones, of course.) I put on my glasses, too, because driving without them would bring terror galore to Plano, and grab my purse (not a pretty one, of course). I only want to reach my goal of hitting the grocery store or post office or Starbuck's. I don't think about who might see me and render the judgment of "oh-em-gee, cat puke alert." I'm in my own head, thinking about my current story, or my upcoming story, or another story I really want to write. I don't particularly care what someone else might think of my disheveled self, mostly because I'm not looking at anyone else. Honestly, I don't give a damn what you look like or what you're doing because if you didn't come out of my vagina, I'm not responsible for you or your shit. Feel free to offer this same courtesy to me (and anyone else who might be standing in the cereal aisle staring at all the Fiber One options).