Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Observations on Humanity (or the new title...) What NOT To Tear

We saw so many different kinds of people, heard so many different languages, heard so many pretty accents, experienced so many different kinds of temperaments this past week! One of these encounters kind of disturbed me and I don't quite know why so I'll illustrate it for you and maybe you can help me figure it out.

As we were waiting for my suitcase (which never came) a load of people got off a plane and among them were a family. The mom looked to be about 50 and one daughter looked to be in her early twenties. There was a little 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. I thought maybe the two, little ones were the children of the older daughter. (I did eventually ask the mom and she said they were all her children) We were standing there for quite some time so I couldn't help but make up a story in my head about the people around me.

I'm always curious about people's stories and what makes them tick and I think it's odd when people try to sneak by through life and are never curious about other people. Anyway this lady had a long dress and so did her two daughters. Their hair was perfectly/artfully braided, they wore no makeup and the older daughter was wearing a medal (you know, the secret code for "I'm a Catholic!"). They were doing the normal mom thing of trying to keep the little ones close and out of trouble and I casually asked the older lady if they were her children and she said they were 3 of the 9 and then did one of those grin smiles and waited for a reaction from me. She kept looking over my head and kind of acted snobby.

I thought that if I told her I was expecting my 6th and that I was Catholic that she might relate to me better and chat with me but she didn't seem to care too much about hearing about me. I felt myself wanting to explain how I was part of the "club" (being that I didn't run into too many people that were like us, if you know what I mean) then I realized that I was wearing a short skort and a polo shirt and even though I had two babies with me, I didn't exactly scream "CATHOLIC HOMESCHOOLING MAMA" and I knew that she didn't want to bother with getting to know me. Every time I started to speak, I couldn't think of any kind of introduction. The best I could do was, "Hey, I am the mother of lots of kids, too. I agree with what the Holy Catholic Church teaches and professes and I regularly go to confession! I want lots of kids and I homeschool!" but I think if I had said it out loud, she probably would have not believed me because of the way I looked. The whole thing was weird.

Why do I have to wear the "uniform" to fit in? Quite frankly, she looked like an Amish/Mormon person rather than a Catholic person although it's getting harder and harder to tell these days. I'm kind of skipping around here, but I guess I just don't really understand why some people choose to look kind of "dowdy" or "square" and then make it kind of a point of pride. I think maybe it's a form of uniform for real. Yeah, I like people in uniform. We saw so many military persons in uniform this past week and it sure made us feel safe. Maybe if you're wearing a uniform YOU feel safe, too. Kind of like a nun's habit? I don't think I'll ever get it. I don't think I could do the jumper thing or the long, flowery dress with the peter pan collar and the high booted 1980's shoes.

That's another thing.

Why is it that the so-called "modest, Christian woman" style is mostly ugly 1980's stuff with puffy sleeves? I mean, if a person were to pick an era, why not the 1890's or even the 1950's. I don't know, it's all so strange to me that a person can't just wear the styles of the day and wear them modestly. I admit that I did judge that family on the basis of what they were wearing but I gotta say, they stood out in the crowd and drew attention to themselves by their weirdly long, out of style dresses and dowdy appearance. Whenever I see that kind of little house on the prairie look, I always try to guess what religion they must be but my first choice isn't always Catholic. I've seen the same kind of dress but with those funny, little, white bun covers on their hair at homeschool conferences or out in stores (puritan?).

It seems strange to me that people would want to stick out like a sore thumb and draw attention to themselves in the name of "modesty". Isn't modesty all about NOT drawing special attention to yourself?