I was attending a memorial service at a fancy San Francisco golf club. I had a few lingering friendships I’d held lightly onto from decades earlier when I’d lived in the city; those friendships that merit an annual birthday email and the once-every-few-years lunch. My friend’s wife had died in October and he was holding the memorial near the December holidays.
I had driven down to the city from my home an hour away in the wine country; a rural lifestyle that offered a mellow contrast to the more stylish and urbanized energy of the city. With the short, dark, cold of the December evening, I had dressed warmly: slacks, top and a long black cardigan. Flat, non-designer shoes. On the practical side of the design-scale. My normal.
The cars in the parking lot were well-appointed, recognizable breeds: Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Lexus. My Altima felt overshadowed. As I walked into the clubhouse I was amidst a number of other folks heading to the memorial.
And in a moment, without planning to, I suddenly became self-consciously aware of clothing and luxury and status-symbols; of how easy it is to feel slighted by things. First it was the cars; now it was the stylish heels, designer hand bags and well-cut clothes that all seemed to quietly reflect success. These were my friend’s friends; others also high up on the success-curve.
My rural car and clothes suddenly felt like drab, grey shadows, imbuing their drabness onto me.
I quietly and somberly found a seat in the hall and listened to the celebration of life. At the conclusion I stood, scanning faces, when I suddenly recognized a friend from those old SF days. Delighted to be recognized in return, I went over. We hugged, he introduced me to a couple of his friends, and the four of us spent ten minutes talking.
After saying our goodbyes, I headed toward the ladies’ lavatory, crossing a large room and weaving around guests from the memorial, eating and imbibing. I wanted to do a quick refresh, find my friend to give him my condolences, and then head home.
There are times and days when I feel a tick-or-two out of sync with things around me; this was one of those days.
The ladies’ room had floor to ceiling mirrors. As I entered, I saw my full reflection, from my sensible shoes up to my sweater. And I stopped cold. There was clarity in that moment. If I had been meditating, the clarity would have felt like enlightenment.
Because there, streaking across my front, from my left breast down to mid-thigh, was a bright red label with black letters repeating the word “medium” in a bold font. The kind of fonted-sticky-label Costco puts on its clothes to make them easy to find as you poke through stacks of sweaters.
The poking you do to find just the right long, black sweater to wear to a fancy memorial. And make a special kind of statement.
Daily Post-Prompt: Slight