A few days ago I was out of sorts. When I’m in the company of relatives and friends, ones who have known me a long time, my being out of sorts on an off-day, one that usually results from more than bad hair, my relatives and true friends often shrug off my mood. They file my behavior and words away to something unmentionable, or else ask me about it when the planets and my cells align.
But when I have an out-of-sorts day with no relatives or friends around, I need to stay at home. I highly suggest that if one of those days occurs after you move to your new town that you do so too. If I’m meeting someone new when I’m in a mood and if the situation is socially inescapable and if that person soon irritates the hell out of me or treats me in a way unsuitable to what I’m accustomed, I kick myself and wish I had paid attention to my instincts and never stepped over my threshold to the garage, for invariably I worsen the situation.
That afternoon of my bad mood morning, I heard Dr. Phil say that when he meets a new person, he makes sure that by the time the meeting is over that person knows what Dr. Phil is all about. I assume his background, his expertise, his no-nonsense approach. For me, as an older woman who has not practiced cultivating a public persona over the years–for one thing before I turned 50 or so, I didn’t know I should–spewing out such information would have been antithetical to how I was raised. In fact, born and raised as a Midwestern farm girl, I and most other women my age were taught to keep our mouths shut, and defer to a male. Furthermore, my list of accomplishments are not on the tip of my tongue, and I find it inauthentic to stand in front of a mirror or some other such reflective device and practice manipulating the conversation so that who I am comes across unequivocally. Besides I might misstep and reveal that Sioux Falls’ South Minnesota Avenue holds more memories than the view from the curve at the top of the hill or I might utter forcefully to the person standing in front of me that she should not assume I’m a dotty old woman who has lost her bearings.