Beat JENeration #025: Rules, follow them or Why I will never leave the house without wearing a bra again and why you shouldn’t either.

Leaving the house without a bra on is never a good idea.

Not that I do it often, but it’s happened. And it’s just really playing with fate.

Some of you are shocked (a few of you pervs maybe even titillated,) but the moms out there know this is just a thing that happens. Motherhood is a helluva lot of personal growth bringing many joys, blah, blah, blah, but let me tell you a secret — it also makes you stop giving a shit. It’s partly because you realize what’s really important in life, but mostly it’s because you spent a great many hours showing your junk off to many, many strangers, while in the worst shape of your life. And it’s not like ridiculous pain or fear or heavy-duty drugs were the gateway to flashing your nethers to every person in scrubs (and maybe your mother-in-law too), it’s because modesty isn’t as important as getting the pregnancy over with.

“Yes baby, I want to meet you, but mostly I want you off my fucking bladder….and I want to sleep on my stomach again”.

(BTW, sleeping on your stomach is something I was never able to get back AND it’s been 16 years).

This isn’t a mommy blog, so don’t worry, I’ll wrap it up.

Long story slightly shorter, moms may seem to regain effort in their outward appearance by the time the shorties reach school-age, but fatigue is clearly a long game and when given the choice between getting yourself or your spawn out the door in a timely and presentable manner, it sometimes makes the most sense to just throw on a sweats (more than likely the stained loungewear type rather than some sort of sporty athleisure pre-meditated errand-running selection) and throw everyone in the minivan. We all know sweatshirts make bras optional in situations where you won’t be jostling around too much in public. 

Once you’ve done a few dozen drop-offs with no incident, it’s a fast downward spiral to sweatshirt and pajama bottoms and then to just getting in the car in exactly what you woke up in. It wasn’t until my twins were in high school that I was pulled over by a cop, while wearing Victoria Secret pink giant donut patterned PJs, that I realized the insanity needed to stop.

(And no, you can’t flirt or cry your way out of a ticket in last night’s ponytail and eyeliner in your 40’s the way you could in your 20’s).

Swear to the god I don’t believe in, I pulled my act together after that day.

Until last Friday.

I had the day off work and planned to spend the afternoon doing my favorite thing — going to the movies alone to watch something with a lot of British people talking. And as I was about to get in the shower, the husband called to say that he had gotten a flat tire on his way to pick up one of our kids. Yeah, of course, I’d meet him at the tire place to pick up Maddy’s work clothes and then fetch her from school. I was wearing what I had slept in the night before, but AHA – it was a black oversized hoodie and black yoga pants, which is close enough to acceptable streetwear. And a bra, pshhhhh. Seriously, it was like four miles total round trip.

That I chose to wear shiny gold ballet flats that matched the gold star on the Hamilton sweatshirt seemed whimsical. And because I was wearing something akin to real clothes, that meant brushing my hair was optional.

The only wise decision I seemed to make on Friday, was telling the husband to get in and ride with me since he had a couple hours to kill anyway.

The car accident wasn’t all fast and crashing. It was one of those slow moving ones with scraping and crunching sound effects. We all saw the backup lights on the Nissan Pathfinder and I honked and yelled, “Bitch, hold up! Stop!” (or something slightly less colorful). I couldn’t back up, lest I hit oncoming traffic myself. As the spare-mount tire smashed against the hood of my car, I let the actual colorful language flow because she still wasn’t stopping.

There is a lot I can say about the young unlicensed, uninsured driver who hit me. Some of it, surprisingly enough, would be kind. She was very nice and she admitted fault right away (and on camera). She had been giving a couple dollars to a couple scamming money with a “We’ve run out of gas” scheme just before she backed into us. She was freaked and spent a lot of time begging us not to call the cops.

But what do you do when it’s not her car, she doesn’t have a license, or insurance? I had to call the po-po if I ever wanted the thousands of dollars of damage taken care of by even my insurance.

That meant nearly an hour waiting for someone to show up as I stood outside my car in front of a busy Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon on a major thoroughfare…in my PJs.

Orange County cops don’t always have the best reputation. I found myself ready to stick up for the chick who hit my car if the officer turned out to be racist. I actually felt really bad for having to call this in. There’s so many complex feelings in suburban white adult guilt. I just wanted a report, not any trouble for her. And, in the back of my mind, I was running scenarios where I’d end up causing some kind of scene and someone would video the braless, hot mess, crazy woman in faded old yoga pants and shiny gold ballet flats getting arrested —and because I was wearing the Hamilton sweatshirt, Lin-Manuel Miranda would re-tweet it and I’d go viral.

However, the cop was cool. So cool in fact that he wouldn’t even write up a report. He didn’t give her a ticket. Didn’t scold her for not having a license. He told her it might help if she got insurance that day. Seriously…she got to get in an accident with no insurance and no license and he was cool with that.

I was not. I was not in so many ways.

I’m a rule follower. I can’t help it. It’s what never let me achieve any kind of punk rock cred in my youth.

Well, let me clarify. Stupid rules, I can break those, but good rules, even if I don’t totally agree with them, I feel strongly about following. And if I have to follow the rules, everyone should. This is how society works.

She didn’t even get a stern look from the guy. He watched her get back in her uninsured car, without a license and drive away. Now that’s just lazy copping!

But I really didn’t want her to get in trouble, so I should have been relieved. I believe people deserve breaks in life, so I should have been pleased that the universe dealt a solid to this girl — one that might set her on a path of responsibility in the future. Imaginary Inner Oprah might say something wise like, “Life is about lessons as much as it’s about rules”.

But I will admit, I’m not quite there on the inner spirituality because outwardly I was cranky AF.

Though later I realized I was not innocent. I had broken the law of public decency by not wearing a bra in public. This was my punishment. Rules need to be fucking followed! Even ones I make up for myself.

However, the universe isn’t in balance completely because those “We ran out of gas” beggars, they got a miracle. Once they heard The Man was coming, they suddenly had enough gas to book it out the area. May life’s lessons smite them.