Red Rovers are a type of mum, and, anyone who looks at the flower with even a slight glance will notice this to be true. They are big and bold, and, as the name gives way, red. It is nice to see a red flower that bears a less common name. Its competitors are easily found, but Red Rover is one that will not be missed. If placed amongst many other flowers, it will surely pop.
Of course, it is only available in the fall, as are the other mums. Why should this one be special in anything except for its appearance? It has long petals that make it look noticeably different from others of its kind. It should be thrilled that people will call it some other type of flower before ever considering it to be something like a mum, a bush of a plant.
Yet, on this idea of something being thrilled to be unrecognizable, there are so many stories from which to choose that finding the best one seems rude. Sure, there are people who already make a better story than others. But saying that out loud would sound insensitive.
There was this girl I knew, Jo Ian. She said that her name was something that she never was very fond of. It was not a surprise to me, since she never told anyone anything. There was no logical reason that her name should not be included in the fun of never telling anyone things. If she were to tell people her name, then the issue of her not being fully committed would arise.
Since she always wanted to be the talk of the town, her appearance meant a lot to her. She would wake up two hours before she had to leave, every day there was a chance of her leaving the house, just so she could do her hair and makeup just right. She was meticulous about everything she ever did. There was a process to all of it, or so I was told when I asked her.
Her outfits were always coordinated with each other. It was lovely. She explained to me how her dresser drawers were arranged to allow for her ease of picking out clothing. She had socks and undergarments on all of the top drawers, and she was not one to speak of how those were arranged, and so I do not know how they were laid out. There were three drawers in the middle, one with warm colors, one with cool colors, and one with neutrals. They were all laid in stacks of like colors. They were arranged from dark to light within the drawer. As impressive as it was, she did the same thing with the bottom drawers; one for pants, one for skirts and dresses, and one for swimwear. She was able to pick out a wonderful outfit on a whim by doing this.
There is the much more entertaining fact of how her shoes were organized. She had an entire closet full of shoes, which had shelves full of shoes. There was one wall full of heels. There was another wall full of sneakers and flats. There was another wall full of boots and wedges, which I didn’t think belonged together on one wall. Within their subsets, they were placed on the shelf based on pattern and then the colors prominent in that pattern.
I thought it was great that she was able to stay so organized. I knew that I didn’t have the patience to ever do such a thing, but she seemed to enjoy making sure everything fit together perfectly and beautifully. I wondered what she did when a shelf fell. She probably wrote it down.
Anyhow, there was one day on which she decided to become someone new. She wanted to forgo all of her cute outfits full of clothing that girls lined up for hours just to get so much as a peek at. She wanted to wear sweatpants and slippers every day. She no longer wanted to spend hours in the morning just to style her hair. She didn’t even want to be bothered with nail polish.
At first, when she told me of her plan, I thought she was joking. It was not until she did this that I realized she was serious. It was strange to see her change so much in such a short period of time. When she walked in, clad in new gear, I could hardly recognize her.
It was what she wanted. So she got exactly what she wanted. I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. Sure, she was now someone different. But at what expense? Her friends were not so willing to be around her now. She was drawing new and bad attention. All of this simply because she wanted to be more comfortable. It was odd, how much people cared.
This could be why, in small towns, in which everyone knows the middle names of their friends and neighbors, it is so easy to become concerned when people change. People don’t always change for the best of reasons, but it is easier to accept their change than to fight it.
When I stood there with the guy whose name I still didn’t know, he was there with me and we were ready to embark on a journey that was sure to get the better of us both. It was not what I wanted to happen. It was much too soon. I was still the new girl in town. Wasn’t I?
He tapped on my shoulder. “So, doe eyes, what do you suggest we do? You said something about making artwork out of the art, didn’t you? Should we make collages or paint the paintings? There’s so much we could do and you don’t seem to have much of an idea.”
“I don’t really mind what you choose to do. I think that you should go ahead and do whatever it is that you want to do.” I realized that I sounded harsh towards him. He was only trying to have some fun and I was so very rude about it. I wanted to say something to let him know that I wasn’t trying to be mean, but there was no expression to say that to him succinctly.
“Is everything alright with you? You seemed really into this not all that long ago. If you don’t want to do this, don’t feel that you need to. No one’s forcing you to. I sure won’t.”
“Yeah. There’s just a lot of things here. I mean, if piles of everything we’ve torn up and thrown about can be made, then there was a lot to begin with.” I knew that my reply was not one of beauty or brilliance, but it was something close to what I truly felt in that moment. I was not in favor of so many things being cast aside on the floor. If they were mine, the story may change.
“Are they too much? I can move them, if you’d like.” He began to move everything that he’d worked so hard to make sure was easily found and nicely placed. It made no difference to me what he did, but saying so to him would only sound rude and I had already made that blunder once today, and was not willing to strike again and get even worse repercussions for it all.
“Leave them. They look good in a space cluttered with chaos.” It was not a joke, but he laughed at it anyway. “What? You don’t think chaos is clutter?” I was willing to let him poke fun at me all he wished. Anything to ease the tension which I had very foolishly created.
There was one thing that he adored, and it was absurd phrases. “Nah man, I’ve just never heard anyone say such a thing to me. I think it’s cute that you say things that don’t make an iota of sense. It’s refreshing. No one else ever does that, you know?” If he didn’t smile at me as he said that, I may have thrown something at him. Regardless of that, I couldn’t repress my laugh.
“I know what you mean. Most people don’t throw in some strange title by which they refer to their friend in the same sentence as the word iota. That’s nothing near the typical word combination in the average man’s speech. You know what I mean, man?” It sounded funny.
He apparently agreed that my mouth was poorly equipped to handle such a phrase, and he boldly chuckled boisterously. “Perhaps you should try your hand at something that’s much less foreign to you. There’s no need to strain your limits just to impress someone and try to fit in.”
“I would never consider such a stupid notion. I was making a jab at you, and you happened to misconstrue it as me wanting to fit in and be cool. How could you think that I could be one who is so shallow? I have better things to do that prove I fit in with the common Joe!” I looked and saw how he was so giddy at my expense. “There’s no need to smile,” I said to him, in a much quieter tone and softer voice. “I wasn’t making anything close to that of a joke.”