Next week, I’m flying to McLean Bible Church’s Accessibility Summit. That upcoming event combined with mystery novel that’s my current work in progress makes this post from 2011 quite timely five years later. Before you read, you should know that the protagonist of the new series wears sensible shoes and underwear, contains her cellulite, and has absolutely no accent. At least not where I come from.
It Worked for Mrs. Pollifax
I am in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia (just outside Washington DC) for the Accessibility Summit at McLean Bible Church. To be accurate, the Summit begins later today, and I’m hanging out in the hotel business area because a new heater and AC unit is being installed in my room. My theory is that the CIA has hidden cameras in all hotel rooms in these parts, so they decoded my mutterings when the noisy heater woke me repeatedly in the night. Who says our government isn’t responsive?
The longer I sit here and people watch, the more glaringly apparent it becomes that I’m not in Kansas (yes, I live in Iowa, but please work with me) any more. Even though I read plenty of David Baldacci thrillers, Lisa Scottoline legal mysteries, Mrs. Pollifax CIA romps, and other fiction set on the East Coast to prepare me for this culture shock, it didn’t work. This midwestern gal is jaw-droppingly agog at the accents (this morning’s mix included British, Australian, Jersey, New York, and perhaps German), not to mention the fashion show that began in the Chicago airport yesterday and shows no sign of ending any time soon.
The most noticeable fashion statement thus far is the knee high, calf-hugging boots with three inch heels. Sported mostly by younger women who don’t yet realize “Bunion Builders” is the CIA code name for these boots, they look – well – really expensive, uncomfortable, and positively anti-midwestern.
The second most noticeable statement has been skin tight leggings, sometimes worn with bunion builders, sometimes under baggy, flowing shirts, and sometimes with short shirts and presumably thong underwear since no one had unsightly pantie lines. Apparently, fat jiggles are not considered unsightly in this neck of the woods. This is also anti-midwestern. In that part of the country, there are more fat jiggles per capita, but their owners tend to keep them well hidden.
I’m coping with the culture shock as well as can be expected. So far, I’ve resisted the infrequent urges to buy a pair of bunion builders, squeeze into leggings, or purchase thong underwear. Quite a feat of self-control for this midwestern, former school teacher who holds the door open for strangers, wears flat shoes and khaki pants, and knows better than to hug a Lutheran.
Just to be on the safe side, I’m making a list of anyone who looks like they work for the CIA, starting with the guys installing the heater in my hotel room. Once I get back home, I’ll mail it to the agency with an instructive note about how to make their spies blend in a little better, possibly by hiring midwestern women with sensible shoes, contained cellulite, sensible underwear, and absolutely no accent.
It worked for Mrs. Pollifax.
It could work for me.
Ya, shure, you betcha!