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The Regular Ann
by Ann Ipock

Traveling incognito is not what it's cracked up to be. Going out incognito is something I never do. Friends and family can tell you I never go anywhere without my trademark make-up, ironed clothes, shoes and matching purse and funky jewelry.Going out incognito is something I never do. Friends and family can tell you I never go anywhere without my trademark make-up, ironed clothes, shoes and matching purse and funky jewelry.

On a recent trip many hours away, all that changed, however. My identity was stripped and I was reduced to mere nothingness. OK, I'm being dramatic, but to tell you the truth, it was kind of cool in a way. It made me realize just how much trouble I'd gone to in the past to "get ready" every day. On the other hand, it got old real quick.

We traveled to Baton Rouge to move Katie, our daughter, for her final year of grad school. Her car was jam-packed with everything she owned. Our car was also loaded down with her stuff, as well as my usual stuff: heavy luggage, a dozen or so pairs of shoes, a jewelry case and my cosmetics case. Katie has been promising us all summer that this is her last move as far as college is concerned. We believed her, too, although she mentioned something on this trip about a Ph.D. while we toured her campus.

I found myself reacting with this strange uncontrollable tremor, all the while envisioning moving vans, unending leases, long car drives, new roommates, etc. It's just too much! Not that I'm counting, but this last venture involved 1,910 miles roundtrip, 15 meals, five days, four nights and several tanks of gas. It didn't help that Katie's new apartment is on the second story with a non-forgiving, leg-cramp-inducing cement staircase. (As a footnote, if she does go for a doctorate, she'll need new parents, 'cause these are worn out.)

We arrived at dusk and went straight to the car rental place and got a cargo van that was MY IDEA, as the pickup truck we'd reserved offered no protection from the threatening rain. Then we went by her old apartment and loaded furniture. Thankfully, her friends, Scott and Linda, helped us unload at her new apartment before heading out to dinner.

By now, Russell and I felt like P.C.s, and I don't mean "privileged characters." I mean "pole cats." At least, that's what we smelled like. So we freshened up, changed clothes and, yes, I even changed my jewelry (the silver hoops didn't match the gold-studded Willi Smith top). I also changed my purse to brown, as the black one didn't match my brown leather thongs (shoes, that is). I dabbed on some fresh blush, applied lipstick and was out the door.

What I'm getting at is that this was an abbreviated version of the regular Ann. The next morning, Katie walked into the bedroom and said, "Mom, you're not going to wear that, are you?" I had on a medium pink ribbed tank top, light pink cotton shorts and hot pink flip-flops. I could see her point. "Uh, it IS a lot of pink, huh?" I replied, feeling tackier by the minute. The irony is, I would NEVER have worn that outfit in a town where anyone knows me. The other irony is that Katie NEVER cares what I wear; she is always the first to say, "It doesn't matter what you wear. C'mon, you look fine!" (That's because I'm usually causing us to be late and she is getting impatient.)

So I changed into something a little more like me, capris and a cute top and sandals. Back to the regular Ann. The next morning I didn't know what to wear, so I dressed sporty, as in gym-like cotton shorts and a matching top, plus Reeboks. Katie said I looked fine. We ran to the store, bought an entertainment center and unloaded it just as light rain began. Next, we went out for lunch, and then filled up a buggy at Wally World with merchandise.

Back at her apartment, we got caught in a downpour and were stuck inside the vehicles – Katie and me in her Honda and Russell in the cargo van. After what seemed like hours (I'm sure it was 10 minutes max), we made a mad dash for her apartment. We were a sight for sore eyes: sweaty, stinky and wet. There was no time to shower (we were on a mission!), but we managed to change into dry clothes once more. I hollered "Hold on!" as I blow-dried my stringy hair into some resemblance of a 2007 hairdo. I mumbled something about my shoes and jewelry, but was whisked out the door by the Moving Brigade.

We ran more errands, jumping in and out of the car in 97-degree heat, sweltering humidity and more thunderstorms. One final clothes change, then we met her friends for dinner. I'm sure our motley crew looked like orphans . . . or drowned rats. If we'd had pictures taken, you'd swear we were "Wanted."

We're back home now, and I admit I toyed with the idea of changing into that easier, breezier lifestyle – no makeup, no shower, no problem? Wrong! It would be a problem because I'd miss the routines (and comfort) of hot showers, clean clothes, all those frills . . . and the regular Ann.


Today's Grandmothers...
Leaving Plane Phobia Behind
Inattentional blindness
Salute to SouthMouth
Aging mailbox...
Family follies...
Girlfriends are like diamonds

Ann M. Ipock, author of Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In The Southern State of Reality) can be reached at amipock@sc.rr.com.

Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”

Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.

Visit Ann’s WEB SITE to read more of her delightful columns.


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