I had a wonderful time visiting my daughters and grandson Aiden in Bangor. I took him to school this morning, but we left his house an hour early so we could get my coffee, his cocoa and our free cinnamon bun at the corner “On The Run” station and then ride around the city. This is our habit when I visit, just to spend time together under the guise of house hunting and being nosy about neighbors in other neighborhoods. This particular morning I told Aiden to hurry up and do his chores so we could get out before the sun rose...
“Aiden, hurry up, if the sun comes up we won't be able to see in people's windows!”
“Oh, cool, Grandmother! COOL!”
His mother Kelly thinks we're freaks.
On our pre-dawn ride we saw couples reading the paper at the breakfast table, a lady at her kitchen sink and a man with a belly as large as the imagination of an eight-year-old and Aiden compared the belly to several things in his mind's eye. We saw every manner of persons at their morning routines, all unaware of their place in ours.
After I dropped Aiden off at school I did errands at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Target, the Bangor Mall and Shop-n-Save, where I continued to see folks of every size, shape and style. I was standing in the check-out line at Sam’s Club, minding my own business of watching people when I noticed the back-of-the-neck roll on the man in front of me. (You know that roll that is adorable and kissable on babies, but not so lovable on a man with back hair?). This gentleman’s hairy roll overflowed his shirt and lay on his back like a cat hanging around his neck. In an effort not to stare at this oddity, I stared at the people in the line next to ours, where the peculiarities of those folks stared back at me - like the lady whose face color didn’t quite match the color of the rest of her skin.
I was on a roll: all day, no matter where I went, I noticed the less than attractive physical characteristics of folks.
In yet another check out line, in yet another store, behind another person, I found myself praying for two things: that the person in front of me had a good personality and for a place to put my eyes. That is when I noticed the magazines. Plastered all over the check-out line racks were the faces of Jessica Simpson, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and other picturesque personalities.
I looked at the people around me.
I looked at the people on the magazine covers.
I thought of all the people I had seen during my day long shopping spree and I had a revelation: the folks in Hollywood, those pictures of perfection… are freaks. They are abnormal and it is the Hollywood movie lots, not the Wal-Mart parking lot that is a freak show.
L.E. Hughes is a columnist, writer and owner of Diamond Corner B&B in Stratton, Maine. She welcomes your thoughts and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org. © February 2006, Lew-Ellyn Hughes. All Rights Reserved and Retained by the Author.