At the airport in L.A. this morning I was holding the baby in one arm and Eliot the newly cleaned stuffed cat in the other when a woman around my mom's age smiled at our little tableau and, gesturing toward Eliot, said, "That cat sure is well-loved, huh? Is it a hand-me-down, or...?..."
Alas. Eliot was exposed for the grungy Seattle hippie she apparently is all the way down to her core.
I, on the other hand, am practically Republican-seeming by Seattle standards. I shave in all the standard places, wear near-prescription-strength antiperspirant, and do not own any skirts that hit below the knee, much less the calf. So imagine my surprise when I got busted yesterday at a suburban Los Angeles swimming pool for being a grungy hippie mama.
I was minding my own, changing the baby's diaper on a bench by the side of the pool (where it was 95 degrees) instead of in the locker room (where it was 117 degrees and a little too fungal-feeling for my taste) when I overheard a pubescent voice say something about "deck changes" not being allowed. Not paying much attention—and not knowing what a deck change was—I blithely continued to fan the baby's rashy, exposed bits with a dry diaper until the pubescent voice was standing in front of me with a whistle around its neck, gesturing toward the baby. "Next time, please use the locker room."
I glanced around and noticed that, in fact, no other babies were standing around naked. Likewise, no other moms had their hair in a loose braid, their bodies in a vintagey one-piece, or their boobs in the shape god made them.
I wish I were one of those people who would have finished changing the baby right there in full view of god and all of southern California, but I'm not. I perp-walked the baby to the locker room and put her in her chlorine-free diaper and bamboo pajamas in hot, hot peace. Then we piled into my mother-in-law's Prius, and off we drove into the incredible, smog-enhanced sunset.