As I rode the F train to Broadway-Lafayette this morning, I looked over to see the most beautiful young woman of color sitting in the corner seat of the car. Let’s call her “Boofy Poofy Spice,” since she looked like she had just stepped out of a bubblegum pop video with her cute blue-checked flouncy sundress, blue alligator purse (real, I do not know), silver strappy sandals, and big boofy beautiful hair (real, I do not know…but I will not be that white boy asking a girl about her hair tricks!) She was so gorgeous and well put together that it was all I could do to not tell her that United Colors of Benetton called and they wanted their ensemble back from the photo shoot. She also wore a diamond heart pendant around her neck.
Everything looked perfect except her eyes lacked a spirit, which made me stand back and wonder, briefly, exactly how happy she really is. The heart pendant, perhaps, is a constant and close reminder that she should love herself or is loved. I didn’t hear her speak. I didn’t see her do anything of consequence this morning, but for some reason I doubted her ability to see how beautiful she actually was. I’m sure that in her mind, it was necessary to look like she just walked out of the pages of Elle or Cosmo to be accepted by the other “girls” at the office, but she had me thinking that what I wanted for her today was for her to value herself. I guess I will never know if her smarts and self-image match the perfection that the visual might have suggested. My other hope is that her career path supports the lifestyle to which she seems accustomed to living.
The truth is that as we move into a more difficult economy, people will either choose to go more into debt to keep up appearances, or they will become more practical and stronger because they will be forced to deal with themselves rather than hide behind things. I’ve been through two previous bad economies so far, and once again, it looks like I will have to spend a lot of time getting to know Paul. There are times when it’s fun to delude oneself, but in the end, one must ask him or herself, “Isn’t being fully present a marvelous thing?”