Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Faking It

I was thrilled to receive an unexpected box in the mail today. It wasn't my birthday though. And I'd already received an adult version of an Easter basket, which includes things like eggs brimming with fine dark chocolate and a beautiful scarf, from my parents a week earlier. I hadn't ordered anything that I could recall so my curiosity was definitely piqued. 

I am not a wrapping paper ripper though. I'm quite methodical when it comes to opening gifts (like many other things in my life), but I admit this one got me opening at an elevated pace due to its mysteriousness. Although it could also have been the fact that I was very hungry and there was a possibility that the box was filled with more dark chocolate since I'd already cleaned out my Easter basket.  

But low and behold inside was a pair of sparkly flip-flops from my mom!  

The card said she hoped I was already enjoying "barefoot weather." For a period of three years when I was in elementary school, my father was stationed at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY. We embraced the four seasons there, but I have to point out that in the Northeast Spring gets the short end of the stick. You often go from snow to rain, rain, and more rain and then all of a sudden it's June and Summer shows up. I used to call my granddad and ask him if he was having barefoot weather. That was how I defined Spring growing up, and I had come to really miss it when April showers overstayed their welcome. 

The problem with rain in Southern California is that it's not supposed to rain here. So when it does it's like a snow storm in Atlanta. People forget how to drive, the stores are empty because people hole up indoors, and I get depressed. As much as I enjoy visiting (and more importantly eating in) Seattle and Portland, I know I could never live there. I'd be one of those orange people walking around, clearly having spent way too much time at a tanning parlor. And I'd be crabby. I think I might suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which is why I live in Santa Barbara. But today was not cooperating. It was decidedly gray with rain showers to add salt to the wound. 

Using my surprise package as inspiration, I decided that I would fake some barefoot weather. I painted my toenails and walked around the house in my dazzling new thongs as people out here say. It makes me laugh every time because I associate that with "unmentionables," not something I'd put on my feet. But I'll call them anything you want if it means they can run in high rotation in my wardrobe. And I gazed admiringly at this photo of a flower that Russ bought for me at the Farmers Market last month. I thought it would serve as a good stand-in for the Sun until it gets its act together. 

And in case you're interested in a little cultural anthropology, Southerners like things that sparkle and shine. I have no doubt that the vast majority of BeDazzler owners live in the Southeast. Even Tana from the TV commercial said she searched all over New York and couldn't find one anywhere. She was clearly searching at too high of a latitude. Rhinestones, sequins, grommets, studs and metallics are all highly celebrated down South. No item is too sacred for some embellishment.  And something else near and dear to a Southerner's heart is painted toenails with open-toed shoes. Unpainted toe nails = tacky. And, perhaps surprisingly, sequined covered flip-flops = not tacky. Look, I don't know who makes up these rules, but they're alive and well in the South (and in Southerners afar). 

And shall we ever have the chance to meet, I'll be the one with the sparkly flip-flops and painted toenails in the midst of unadorned flip-flop wearing California girls with lovely manicured yet natural toenails. But I'll be sure to wait until after Easter to sport any of my white flip-flops or sandals because every good Southerner knows no white until after Easter! 

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