As I get older, I care less about what others think. This didn’t come from an epiphany or a ‘damn the torpedoes’ moment. It kinda crept up on me. After hundreds, if not thousands, of embarrassing experiences in life, it’s finally dawned on me that I will not drop dead in such situations. A case in point: travelling with Violet, my now-grown-child’s ‘Incredibles’ suitcase from when she was ten. I didn’t mean to travel with Violet, but she turned out to be the only carry-on luggage in the house when it came time to pack for my trip to visit my sister in Florida.
The bag has wheels – although it was only on arrival at the airport that I discovered the handle is set so low (child height) I had to string it on my scarf to get it to roll properly. An added sophistication to my look. The bag’s owner, now 19, found this all sufficiently funny that she wanted a photo. A nice lady in the waiting area complied as she made a discreet comment along the lines of “I was kind of wondering…” But no matter. Once I hit America, there were comments galore. “I love your suitcase!” “Nice luggage!” No-one was being mean. On the contrary, Violet instigated a whole lot of fun conversations I would never have had otherwise, with laughing adults and envious children.
I was reminded of the time I went to the grocery store in the pouring rain with my mother – I was in my late teens then – and, from the car to the entrance, she donned these crazy, gag eyeglasses with battery operated windshield wipers on them, something my father had given her as a joke. It was the first time I realized my mother had more of the prankster to her than I’d thought. I was both mortified and giddy. I still cared a lot about what other people thought.
Not giving a damn is a wildly liberating idea. It’s far from a 100% commitment for me (my children might be relieved to know). But it’s one heck of an interesting new avenue to explore. I might take Violet with me every time I travel…if only I can figure out how to extend that handle.