When I was a little kid, I never understood why adults got funny looks on their faces, usually after I'd just said something important. Like the time my mom was boiling cabbage and I walked up to my visiting auntie and said, "Pee-hew! Is that you?"
Now I'm an adult and I understand: You don't know whether to laugh or cry.
My California friend, Erlinda, shared recently how she found herself in a similar predicament just before she retired from school teaching. And after you hear this story you will understand how this incident may have hurried her along.
It began on a windy day in the high desert when Erlinda bravely ventured into town without makeup or any hair in place. This was an oddity.
The wind ALWAYS blew in the small town of Barstow, but this kindergarten teacher NEVER went anywhere without dawning an array of cosmetics and fixing her hair. However, on this particular weekend morning, she found a much-needed item missing from her pantry.
It would only take a moment to dash inside the grocery store, she reasoned as she donned her sweatpants. And at this early hour, no one would ever see her.
"Hello, Mrs. Baca!" a voice called to her as she scurried past the bananas.
Caught like a sprinting streaker, Erlinda numbly turned, coming "naked face" to "cosmetically-enhanced-face" with the coiffed parent of a child enrolled in her classroom.
Small talk ensued, with never a whisper about Erlinda's over-exposed countenance.
On Monday morning, the incident forgotten, shiny cherub faces filed one-by-one into her school room. But one little girl stopped midway to her desk, remembering she had something important to tell her teacher.
"Mrs. Baca," the kindergartner shouted above the chatter of the other students, "my mother saw you at the store on Saturday... and she said you looked TERRIBLE!"
Sometimes, you don't know whether to laugh or cry -- so you retire.
No wonder my mom took so many naps.