Monday, November 22, 2004

Crossing Cultures in Suburbia

I spent the weekend in a land I rarely visit -- where the language requires my utmost focus and the native attire is so unique I find my reactions ranging from amused to appalled.

Suburbia . . . where the "woods" are planted uniform distances apart and the "lands" are manicured within inches of their roots . . . where bright lights scream the names of chain stores and eateries . . . where entire families from Third World countries could be housed in the SUVs taking up two parking spaces in overcrowded parking lots.

Oh . . . I know there's nothing wrong with suburban living and that every family has an extensive list of arguments as to why its best for them. But I also know that there's nothing right about it for me.

I was working a trade show for a friend of mine whose target customers are the same women driving those SUVs, shopping in those chain stores and feeding their own families from familiar and overly advertised restaurants.

In fact, I was washing the hands of those women as I touted the benefits of natural oils (six, count 'em) and sugar for the purpose of exfoliation. Well . . . I washed and touted when they let me. Frankly, sales weren't overwhelming and I spent a great deal of the time with my partner evaluating the fashion statements parading by.

I came to loathe what could be done with a feather! Sticking it in one's cap is no longer enough it seems. Now it hangs from purses, portrudes from shoes, dangles from belts, and adds heighth -- lots and lots of heighth -- to tablescapes involving ironworks, pumpkins, gourds and mass quantities of hot glue.

I detemined that while some women can pull off a fashion risk others should pull it off . . . NOW, in the nearest possible restroom before they cause irreparable harm to those watching.

I don't know where the obsession with fringe-tickling ponchos, scarves made from puffy balls and the aforementioned feathers has come from but surely there's a medication that can take care of it.

I told a friend that I was making the 45 minute drive each day to explore new worlds and that I coveted his prayers as I traversed uncharted terrains and he suggested that I might find I had more in common with the natives than I imagined.

I cursed him.

Then I thought about it. We did share a few things in common. For example, we are women and we . . . uh . . . let's we . . . uh . . . .

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