It’s been said that January ranks high on the divorce scale, so I’m wondering if a seasonal element was involved in the separation decrees I received recently. Both were issued by friends who fired me with the same phrase: “I’m disappointed in you.”
Harbouring high hopes for oneself is one thing – and a healthy survival ploy – but nurturing expectations of others is folly. Of course, I’ve done it. Been dressed up and stood up. Even I, who believe keeping one’s word is paramount, was mortified to realize I’d forgotten all about a gig I booked as a folksinger.
But the grounds my divorcers claimed were much deeper than event letdowns. I’m a disappointment. And I know why.
As a deceptively fresh-faced friend was once told by a bitterly righteous woman, “You don’t live right!”
Old Fresh Face possesses a rare wise insight into the ways of humans. “The world is flat, and people are going over the edge” is the way he explains the rash of lashouts.
It seems impossible to fit the outlines of some idealized portrait, unsanctioned and certainly never commissioned.
If I followed the instructions of the disappointees – cleaned up my house, threw out the mess along with the Big Bad Wolf who turns up sometimes to test me and scare off fickle friends – the judges would come up with some new unspoken criteria. Stuff that!
Instead, I can put my vast free time to use – working on outfits for the life I hope to have. That hope could turn out to be just that, but at least I haven’t imposed it on anyone else.
“I’m disappointed you don’t live how I want you to” is not something I could imagine saying. “I’m disappointed in your outfit” is me all over. Attire, unlike people, can be changed.
If I had purged as I have been urged, I would have jettisoned the handwoven-in-New-Brunswick orange maxi-skirt with a big seam and fondue stains all down the front. It’s a challenge to salvage good cloth from an ugly form.
First I opened up armholes below the waist, pulled it up and turned it into an A line dress. Pretty good, but not so practical with wind blowing up. Then – of course! – make it into big-legged pants. Terrible job of putting the waistband back on. They got a rave review in-house, but I’ve yet to perfect a crotch.
“I have to go. I’m dying” is a truth strong enough to stun telemarketers into silence.
A known caller might reply, “What do you mean? We’re all dying.”
“Really? I’m dying a sweater. What about you?”
I was a kid when I took up dying old clothes to pretend I had something new. Dying is unpredictable, frustrating and slightly addictive. The colour patch on the box of drugstore dye bears no relation to the tint contained therein. “French blue” looks a lovely lavender grey but turns out a loud sky blue best suited to a clown costume.
To head off complaints of this spinster poisoning lakes with her hobby, I soak up every drop of dye with anything that will take it. A wool hat and silk blouse both went from beige to green and army blue respectively in the same pot of “charcoal grey.”
I use my bare hands to keep the clothes moving in the pot. Lines stand out white on blue or brown or purple hands. The one inside the lifeline is becoming more pronounced. It indicates “a rich inner life.” Sure need it around here.
I’ll keep up the work of dressing for the outer life yet to materialize.
I have to – to keep from disappointing the only one I do have to answer to. The one in the mirror wearing a wild and complicated story told in orange and blood and wine and... is that sky blue?