6.02.2009

The One About Dirt

"You look like you've never been dirty a day in your life." That has actually been said to me. It took me by complete surprise. I'll never forget, I was working at USA Today. Wait a minute, just dropped a name, let me stop to pick it up, and Sam the saxophone player said that to me. I was wearing white at the time. I had never really thought about it. I wasn't really offended. Yet, not complimented either. I was inferring from his implication that I had never done any physical labor at any time, ever. That I had never gotten sweaty, ever. Weeeeellll, maybe at the time he said that, he was right. OK, I had gotten sweaty. And grass-stained as a child. I remember the stains. But it haunted me.

Did I look like I repelled dirt? I know I'm one of the whitest people in the world. Dirt shows on me easily. I don't like to feel dirty. Unclean. Icky. However, I'm not Howard Hughes. I don't bathe several times a day. I also don't believe in touching door knobs or handrails if I don't have to, but that's a discussion for another time.

Since Sam made this statement, I have done many things. I lived on a farm. Alright, I didn't farm it. I just lived there. On my own. I took, or rather tried to take, horse and cow manure out of the mouths of my dogs. That stuff must be tasty. Actually, they really just went for the horse manure, in smaller pieces as opposed to the pies. I walked the trails on this 277 acre farm. I was covered in ticks. Disgusting by the way. I learned to garden. I got covered in dirt and paint and cooked.

And so life went on. The digging, the weeding, the cooking. So I haven't weeded lately. Yet when I cook, I cook all over. I make a hot mess. I always have. I wear it. Head to toe. I destroy the kitchen and my clothes. I. Get. Dirty.

And yet, just the other day, my BFF is over and I'll just relay the conversation. Starting with me. "Your shirt smells like smoke." "My mother wore it last." "She wore that?" "She was gardening. She digs you know. She actually gets dirty." "You've never seen me dirty have you?" "No, never. Have you ever even been dirty a day in your life?"

There it came again. The disbelief that I could get dirty. I have been vomited upon. I have been covered in fecal material courtesy of my children as infants. They did the vomiting too. I have had bugs on me and dirt. I have painted furniture and rooms and had dirt down my back. Miss Ellen has broken a sweat.

Sure I love to have things done for me. I have about 20 things I'd like done for me right now. But do not, for one second think that I do not know how to do for myself. I have. I can. And I will.