The other day I was waiting with some other parents outside the school for the kids to be released. Everyone was making idle chit-chat as usual. I was chatting with a mom I don't know very well, but who lived on our street til she moved last month and who has invited me to a cookie-swap party at her house. She told me that she liked my new-ish haircut and that the new-ish color looked nice, too. "Oh, thanks." I told her. "I used to dye it really bright red when I was younger, but I'm getting old for that now," I laughed.
She responded very seriously, "I'll bet you were one of those goth girls when you were in high school, weren't you?"
"Uh, we didn't have this thing you call 'goth' where I grew up," I joked back at her.
She was not to be put off. "Well, 'alternative' then. You were 'alternative,' weren't you?"
"Okay, alternative-ish," I said. "I mean, as alternative as you can be in Tater-hill, North Carolina," hoping she'd let it drop. She seemed satisfied with my answer and turned away.
I thought about it off and on for a couple of days, trying to figure out why it is I found it so funny and weird. I still don't quite know except that aren't we all supposed to have grown out of these labels now? Or if age isn't the great leveller, isn't parenthood? Where you so often have to swap out whatever clique-ish costume you might once have been accustomed to for something you don't mind getting spit up on or that you can roll around on the floor in? Isn't being a mom our new clique, where we may not have New Wave music or musty vintage clothes or drug use in common, but we damn sure all have kids and the kidless don't get it at all?
I dunno. Mabye we don't ever grow out of this stuff. I mean, I do still look for those moms who look interesting or "cool" on the playground to talk to. Hmmm...