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February 2, 2014

the once over at the ortho

I dragged a handful of kids to the orthodontist in a snowstorm in December.  I dropped them at the door,  found a parking spot, and sloshed through the snow into the office waiting room.  The loud clomping noise my boots produced was unavoidable.  Embarrassing, but unavoidable.  I hate my boots.  They are ugly, uncool, and sensible.  The only fashion statement they make, or shall I say scream, is 'I don't care what I look like when it snows.'  I could never bring myself to spend a pile of cash on Uggs or some other fancy brand.  Instead I hope sidewalks and parking lots I must navigate through have been well plowed by the time I show up wearing my shoes.  That's right, in most in climate weather I try to squeak by with shoes.  Unless I am going to take the kids sledding or go to the grocery store during a snowstorm, I abandon my boots in the back of the closet.  Not the most practical of plans considering that I live in a suburb of Chicago, but I am a slave to fashion.  Or perhaps I am a slave to affordable fashion.

Our orthodontist office is located in a very posh town.  I removed Curly's hat and tried to fluff her matted locks.  She practiced reading to me from the book I brought while we waited for her to be called back.  Laddie and Tetonka sat and read or looked at magazines.  Curly plodded back in her purple, puffy, hand-me-down boots when her name was called.  That's when I saw them.  Two kids who were sitting across from their mom watching Curly shuffle through the waiting room.  The kids were wearing expensive bog boots.  Name brand coats.  Impeccable.  I don't mind name brands, or impeccable looks.  I know lots of kids born into money whose appearance dripped of wealth, but whose personality traits were rich in meaningful ways.  My fellow ortho waiting room companions proved to be rich in only monetary ways.

I got the impression these two weren't admiring Curly's natural, bouncy doo, or her purple Velcro winter footwear.  Glamour mom decided to ignore the 'no cell hone, please' signage.  She had an air of importance about her.  Self-created, purchased at a swanky boutique importance. Her cell phone usage certainly couldn't be restricted by the same boundaries as random lowlifes.  While her call was quick, it could've been made after taking 2 haughty strides to the comfortable confines of the hallway, but whatever.  Glam -mom continued her love affair with her phone.  Texting, surfing, etc.  Meanwhile Jack and Jill delivered glaring once overs to a preteen patient who was sent to retrieve her mom from the waiting room to chat with the doctor.  Preteen didn't stand a chance.  I'm assuming her newly installed apparatus was to blame for her protruding mouth, which refused to close completely.  Nudging elbows, raised eyebrows, and suppressed smiles were exchanged between the prince and princess of perfection.  Glam didn't notice her offspring's 'better-than-everyone' air.  Guessing the issue would be hard to recognize, since she probably originated the attitude anyway.

Allow me to clarify.  I'm familiar with 'the look.'  The once over.  Very familiar.  My Dorothy Hamel haircut was hacked into a boy look-alike style (I use the term loosely) once my mom chose to cut my hair herself.  She already cut my brother's hair.  Why not?  Dorothy would have cringed at Mom's technique.  Her use of a straight edge razor blade was meant to produce a feathered style.  I think.  Glasses didn't help.  My height made fitting into the crowd impossible.  The result:  poor posture.  My wardrobe was inherited from my older, SHORTER sisters.  Got the picture?  So, yes, there were looks.  In hindsight my outward appearance struggles forced me to grow in other ways me.  Without a 'cute' factor, I had to pave the way into people's hearts with my glowing personality and my quick sense of humor.  (This is where I could elaborate on how I fear for Mini and Curly.  They are both cute.  Almost wish they had a late bloomer factor so they weren't accustomed to such constant positive feedback from total strangers.  Hopefully, having four brothers will equip them with more survival mechanisms than most unbecoming girls have to start). 

In the waiting room, my chin dropped open.  Harsh words hung off the tip of my tongue.  Laddie sensed something was up and I filled him in.  He grew nervous that a scene was about to unfold.  'Don't, Mommy.  Please don't say anything.'  These self involved children were so wrapped up in their private world of zingers aimed at girl-whose-mouth-needs-saving, I doubt they would have heard me chastise them anyway.    Curly stumbled across the waiting room eager to invite me back to hear the orthodontist's recap of her under bite.  Their eyes burned wholes in my boots and perhaps other uncool aspects of my appearance and Curly's as we passed them.

Fortunately the doc only took a second of my time.  We had one more doctor appointment to get to and the steady snowfall would interfere with any small chance I had of arriving there on time.  On my way out the door, I observed caddy and judge swivel in their chairs so they could stare at my unsuspecting children and I as we left the office.  I held the door for the kids to exit.  They I turned and ducked my head down to their x-ray vision eye level.  I recreated from my own childhood the universal symbol for 'I just caught you staring at me'.  I bugged my eyeballs out as far as they would go pulling back my eyelids as much as possible.  Held the look until I hoped that they 'got it.'  Stink eye delivered.  Then I left feeling somewhat victorious, but not as much as I would have if I had delivered a swift kick with my cheap, totally unhip winter boots to their designer jean clad behinds!

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