I was working out in the pool at our fitness club, when an elegantly coiffed matron sauntered over and inquired if I was a new member of the class. Her demeanor implied she was not particularly interested in welcoming new members. She coolly informed me I was in the class member’s only lane. Where was the instructor? How was I to know? I crept into another lane, under the accusatory eyes of the “mean girls”. I felt like I had shown up at the prom without a date, dressed in an ugly gown. A Stuart Smalley moment, and a reminder that social hierarchies don’t change a great deal after high school.
In the dressing room, I unknowingly entered the “popular girls” section of lockers. In a display of one-upmanship, they freely discussed having had “work done”. My new knee paled in comparison to the cosmetic equivalent of a Service King Collision Repair. Slinking to the showers, I hid my original chassis behind my ratty old beach towel.
I managed to invade their preferential lair of shower stalls, comparable to the spot in the school cafeteria where all the cool girls sit. Sporting soft, pastel Egyptian cotton terry robes they snub the use of the club’s harsh towels.
It was apparent I would never be a new member of the class. I don’t have a cool, terry robe. Tossing my standard issue, soggy towel into someone else’s laundry bin is a windfall.
Not fitting in is a luxury.