I remember growing up watching The Mary Tyler Moore show. Everyone loved Mary. She was sweet, honest, funny, sincere…the type of girl you wanted to be – or the type of best friend you wanted to have. In the introduction of her show, they’d play “You’re Gonna Make it After All” with snippets of her at work and all around town. At the end of the introduction, with a big beautiful smile, she grabs her hat as she twirls in a circle, and tosses it high into the air. We all smiled right along with her.
Mary’s best friend was Rhoda Morgenstern. She was funny and wonderful in her own way, but wasn’t quite as refined as her friend Mary. After years of falling in love with her character, she got her own show. In the introduction, it shows Rhoda leaving the old city she was from and heading to New York. In the closing shot, she is seen on a street in New York where she decides to imitate her friend Mary, with the trademark hat toss. But then…her cap slips from her hand and falls to the ground. While looking around to make sure no one noticed, she awkwardly picks it up to put back on her head.
This past summer, I had my own Mary experience with a Rhoda outcome…
We were faced with a major hike in gas prices, so I decided that I was going be a bit more economical and take the local light rail train to work each day. The station is about a mile from my house and I figured that not only would I save on gas, but I’d get some much needed walking in. This was something I had actually never done before, so I was excited at the prospect of living the life of a city girl. I was ditching the car and taking the train.
I carry a lot of items to work with me in a tote bag; purse, lunch, coffee thermos, iPad, journal…and scads of other random items. Seriously…in an emergency, all I need is to grab my tote bag because my whole life travels everywhere with me. I thought that carrying my tote would be a bit cumbersome on my walk, so I decided to invest in a nice backpack.
The shoes I typically wear at work aren’t what you would want to walk any great distance in, so I decided I would also buy myself a nice pair of shoes for the commute. I found myself a pair of those slip-on style tennies; the kind that don’t’ have shoe laces, but an elastic band that goes across the top. They were very lightweight and easy to shove into my backpack during the work day.
But the pièce de résistance was my investment in a brand new commuter mug. I always have a cup of coffee with me on my way to work; usually a regular ceramic mug, but for this type of commute I knew I’d need something a little more commuter friendly…something with a lid.
Hindsight, I can’t help but laugh – and shudder – at how I must have looked that morning. For some reason, I was drawn to the color blue. So picture this…black slacks, white tank and a light blue lacy short-sleeved sweater. Light blue backpack with white polka dots and black straps. White and gray pseudo tennies with a dab of light blue. And then…my new commuter mug…you guessed it, light blue and white with a black lid – a commuter mug with pictures of bicycles and “around town” pictures. I must have looked like I was ready for my first day of kindergarten – but at that moment, I felt like Cindy Sunshine…the City Girl!
Now, I’ll just confess right here…one of my flaws is that I hate to appear like I have no idea what I’m doing. So, when I arrived at the light rail station, I acted as if I did this all the time – even though I was really nervous underneath the cool black, white and blue exterior.
One of my friends, from work, was planning to be on the train. She said she would text me when she got close, to let me know which train she was on and which door to enter through. I tried to relax and just enjoy my coffee and read something I brought with me, but inside my mind was reeling with nervousness – and don’t ask me why; I just have this little comfort zone that I like to live in and while I was excited to be doing such a city girl kind of thing, I was stepping outside the zone.
Just as she promised, I got the text, “I’m in the second to the last car. It’s pretty full, but I was able to hold onto a seat next to me. I’m sitting towards the back. There’s a door behind me that you can enter through.” She was still about five minutes away, so I did my best to relax and just enjoy my coffee.
I began to ease up a little bit. It was a beautiful warm and sunny morning and I was feeling good and accomplished. I quit trying to read and just took it all in. I had walked a little over a mile, noting that my new shoes weren’t all that comfortable. I had to sort of scrunch up my toes so they wouldn’t bump up against the front, but man, they were super cute.
As I was feeling more relaxed, I looked around at all the people. I decided to enjoy a little bit of small talk while I sipped away and enjoyed this moment. This felt really good…I was beginning to feel like Mary…the essence of the happy little city girl.
The train was approaching, so we all started stepping closer to the tracks and towards the cars and doors we’d be entering through. I headed towards the end cars, chatting with a few people along the way. This was great.
When I hopped aboard, I saw my friend right where she said she would be. Sure enough, there was an open spot beside her, so I plunked myself down feeling victorious! I did it. I got on the right train – and I looked pretty stinkin’ cute on top of it all.Yep, City Girl all the way.
A couple of men sat across from us, smiling while the two of us chatted about the morning. I sat there taking it all in, and finishing up on my last sips of coffee. Amazing how this little accomplishment made me feel really good about myself.
As we made our way down the track, in the direction of work, people began to get off at the various stops. About a mile or so before our stop, the men across from us smiled, nodded and got off the car. I decided I was going to sit across from my friend to make our train visit easier.
I switched around, and plunked myself down in front her of her. She looked at me with a really odd expression. I asked, “What’s wrong?” She said, “Ummm…do you know that you have spilled coffee all the way down your shirt?”
Ummm…”WHAT?!” Did I just hear her right?
Little did I know…but my cute little commuter cup was actually a dribble cup and had been doing so since the moment I took my very first sip at the station. All over my WHITE shirt! It was like flashbacks as I saw me sipping on my cute little cup, in my cute little “matching” outfit (*shudder*) and ALL of the people I had talked to along the way. Talk about a big dose of humble pie!
And since this little City Girl had taken the train to work, there would be no turning back to head home and change – and no way to clean up such a huge stain. The walk from the station to the office would take care of setting it in nicely for the day.
I looked back up at my friend; her sitting there with that same odd look on her face and me looking, well…pretty stunned. After a second of this, we couldn’t contain it any longer and we both laughed until we were snorting…all the way to work.
Nope…this little City Girl isn’t a Mary – I am definitely a Rhoda.