Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kilt Wearin' at the Bus Stop

I put on my kilt and took the kids to the bus stop this morning, just to get some reactions. The bus stop is a very quick way to see everybody in the neighborhood all at once.

It was funny walking down there with the boys. They kept ten paces behind me at all times. Once at the bus stop, they wouldn't leave Pam and Phil's porch, and when I approached them, the ran away. You remember that experiment you'd do as a kid, where you'd take a bowl of water, sprinkle some pepper in it, and then put in one drop of dishwashing soap? Remember what happened? The pepper would fling itself to the far edges of the bowl at the introduction of the soap. Well, this morning, I was the soap.

Reactions were about what I expected--a mixed bag. Some of the moms thought it was zany and crazy, but essentially liked it. One mom asked if Becky would be ravishing me later today. (I'll take that as a compliment.) One mom was genuinely interested in the kilt, and the story of our trip to Scotland. A couple of the moms and one dad wouldn't make eye contact with me at all. (I just love putting people on edge, whisking them out of their comfort zones.) Pam, Phil, Marijo, Beverly, Tiffany and probably Dawn all loved it.

On the way back home, I saw Catherine, who's a big-time southern belle, and I could tell that she did not approve one bit. Mind you, she was very friendly, but you could tell that this was just not what one does! She asked, "What day is it?" As if kilt wearing were only authorized for "Scotland Day."

It's funny. There are all levels of conformity in this country. What was once non-conformist is now mainstream alternative (e.g. goth, punk, etc.), but still conformist to its own particular genre. It's truly refreshing to step out of the conformity box once and a while and be truly, truly nonconformist.

And anyhow, it was fun to embarrass the boys. That is a father's job in life--to embarrass his children by his mere existence--and I relish the role.

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