One year ago I attended a party and met a woman who truly fascinated me. Or at least, her ego fascinated me.
I had described her as “celebrity-lite.” She is a minor (very minor) TV personality on one of the local daytime talk shows.But she wore her negligible fame like a twenty-carat tiara. I was actually impressed – not by her meager stardom, but how amazingly high she carried it.
I mean, I am really proud to have written a book. And if the opportunity arises, (any small opportunity – any teeny-weeny opportunity, I admit it), I certainly jump at the occasion to mention it. (with trumpet flourish). But my boasting pales in comparison to her grandiosity. I have a lot to learn in the Conceit department.
And I had another lesson last week.
I went to the same party and once again, Celebrity-Lite made a grand entrance.
Like last year, she brought a change of clothes. Several actually, so she could get more than one round of compliments, I suppose. I could be kind though, and say she wasn’t sure what the weather would be like. But honestly, both her outfits (or maybe more than “both” – I only saw two) were lightweight summer party outfits (“breezy”, I’m sure she calls them) – and both her swimsuits were…well…swimsuits. It’s not like one was for July and one was for an arctic swim.
I envied her the luxury of having a selection though. My husband and I had a different event to attend in the morning, and the morning weather was chilly and drizzly. And though the weatherman called for clearing skies, I am not one to put much stock in a forecast. When I see rain, I usually think “It’s raining.” I’m stubborn that way.
So anyway, I had dressed in faded jeans and a long-sleeved gray baseball tee. I looked very casually cute, but not exactly ready for a swim. My husband had packed a bathing suit, and told me I was being really dumb not to bring mine – the hosts have a marvelous pool – but for some stupid reason (relating to my goosebumps) I didn’t bother.
During our morning event, I was fine in my “more autumn than summer” outfit. But as we left and drove to the afternoon party, the sun came out. Those damn weathermen – they only get it right about 1.7% of the time, and this was the day.
The air steamed up, as we arrived at the party. Now it was sunny – and hot – and humid.
Not too bad at first. I’m the type of person who likes being warm. But given an hour or so in the sun, I began to wilt in the heat.
We played bocce. Guess who I drew as an opponent?
The sundressed starlet versus the overheated (but stylish) unknown author. And that unknown author had never played bocce before. Starlet had her own balls. Yes, she has a remarkable set of balls. I managed, though the sweat was puddling in every crevice of my body, to score 2 points to her 12, (Our husbands also played, but that’s immaterial.)
Pool time. Most everyone changed into their swimsuits. Except of course, the morons who thought it would be too cold to swim.
I rolled up my jeans – about 3 inches – which is as far as you can go in skinny jeans, and sat by the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in the water and my jeans slowly soaking up another six inches or so. But it was cooling, and I felt a bit better.
And Celebrity – now holding court in her swimsuit – came up to me and generously offered me a change of clothes.
“I have another outfit. Very lightweight loose pants. I’m not going to wear them after all, and they would be a lot cooler than your jeans.”
“Oh, thanks,” I said. “I really appreciate it, but I’m feeling okay now.”
And then she said:
“You should try them. Really. They have a very stretchy waist. So they might fit you.”
I was speechless.
I wish now (of course) that I had taken those goddamn pants into the bathroom, waited three minutes, and brought them back, with the (loud) comment: “Oh it’s a shame, but they are just HUGE.”
But you know the nicest thing about being a writer rather than a celebrity?