When do we ever just act on our instincts, not caring to please and be accommodating, discarding others' expectations, jumping into situations with joy and thrill and self interest? Do we do this only as children and by the time we've grown up we have internalized bibles of do's and don'ts to serve us well in most situations? How invested in our public image do we become? What would the real you look like, act like, if your private and public self were one and the same?
This particular morning, we planned to go take a walk on the beach, in our sweats, walking shoes, sun hats. On a whim, my husband drove an additional twenty miles before finding a place to walk that was new to us. (Somehow, finding a new place to walk is our version of fun these days.)
Before noon, tired and hungry, we saw a country fair sign advertising free-entry for seniors, and talked ourselves into dropping by. I looked at myself in the car visor mirror, and accepted the fact that dirty and sweaty was not going to change our experience much. Usually, I'm quite particular on how presentable I am. Not this day. We were too far from home, and the chances of running into anyone we knew were slim.
As we sat at this outdoor stand, waiting for our burgers, I noticed the rest of the audience.
We do feel anonymous in a big crowd, I thought. What if that lady's boss from the bank, for instance, would see her today in this T-shirt?
Within seconds, we ran into a couple we knew who joined us right there at the burger counter. Somehow this much exposure of my authentic self ended up giving me indigestion.