Meet the Eccentric Neighborhood Wonders
My first encounter with Miss Tutu was eye-opening. She was a collision of color and texture‒ Wildly curled blond hair, bleached almost white, strangely mismatched to her Asian complexion; generous amounts of pink, in her scoop-neck leotard, stretched over her stout and lumpy frame, and in the bright spray of tutu lace at her waist. She was Marilyn Monroe gone mental, blankly staring with her feet dangling from a bus stop bench.
She had one companion as she waited for the bus, a teddy bear that she held closely at her side. He looked floppy and forlorn as she chatted away. Who knew what was worse for poor Teddy, the odd looks from people walking past, or listening to his companion’s stream of consciousness ramblings.
I passed by this sight often on my way to work. After I moved to a different town, I made a discovery about my new neighborhood. I heard a “gggrrgrrr” of plastic wheels on pavement from the street outside and went to my second story window to find out what or who was passing by. I was surprised to catch sight of the unmistakable blond mop of Miss Tutu, as she dragged her rolling backpack. Uh uh! Of all the streets to move to, I’d found hers.
Miss Tutu maintains an active lifestyle, toting teddy and her rolling backpack up and down my street and bouncing around the local bus stops. This proximity affords me the opportunity to keep up with her latest crazy styles. In the summer, she sports tights and a one-piece bathing suit, and in winter, sagging wool leggings and a leopard print coat. Whenever I hear the grating of plastic on concrete I pop over to the window to see what’s new in her world.
I can’t help but be fascinated by this regular sidewalk fashion show. I spend my own life burying my weirdness from public view. What would it be like, to wear whatever I wanted? Normally I simply sigh and throw on a Target t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and tennis shoes. Anything with personality languishes untouched in my closet: my dark red, patent leather “Dorothy” shoes, a fuzzy pastel scarf that an older relative knitted me one Christmas; even my fairly inoffensive, brightly colored sundresses. To wear anything out of the ordinary, to attract attention to myself, seems too difficult to be worth the effort.
Once I was walking down to the store when I heard the noise: ggrrrgrr. She was behind me, quickly approaching. I felt trepidation and curiosity; Would we say “hi” when she passed, like the other neighbors? Would I finally get a chance to hear what she was talking to Teddy about? But it was not to be, the noise of the plastic wheels and sound of her voice veering away as she took off across the street to continue down the opposite sidewalk. I guess she liked to keep her conversations to herself. Possibly this incident revealed a glimmer of self-conscious modesty, but I’d like to believe she was trying to maintain her aura of mystery.
Writing off an eccentric like Miss Tutu as a tragic figure is overly simplistic, I think. Her life, in many ways, is probably enjoyable: She doesn’t work and gets to hang out all day with her bestie in one of the most beautiful parts of the state. The average “normal” person is often so miserable, it’s not so farfetched to think she could be happy with her oddball self.
In fact, maybe I should wear something fun tomorrow. Something pink.
Since we are on the subject of crazy neighbors… that is, my wonderfully funny bloggy ones:
I wanted to say thanks to both Natalie of The Cat Lady Sings and Irene of Left of Plumb for nominating me for a Liebster award. Nat, who was one of the very first to comment on this blog (giving me much needed encouragement to keep going when I was getting five page views a week) sent this to me a while back. I was feeling shy about answering questions and passing this award along, and still am ’cause I’m insecure like that. So instead of the traditional re-gifting, I’ll make a recommendation: If you haven’t checked out their blogs yet, please do! They are both sweet, hilarious and know how to turn a phrase.