While I very rarely talk about my “works in progress,” referring to my present novel, I have a great desire to share this experience.
I have a friend: we’ll call him Jason for now. Note that this isn’t his real name; I just feel like calling him Jason.
The other day, I was invited over to Jason’s house after assisting one of my mentors with moving out of her apartment. For nearly two hours, he, I, his cousin, and his little brother played dominoes. I won; that’s not important…but I did win. 🙂
ANYWAY! He’s always teasing me about being a city girl, which makes absolutely no sense because I am not at all a city girl. I think he believes that any girl who has manners, doesn’t live on a farm, and has been to New York City more than once in her lifetime is a city girl.
Jason’s family owns a dairy farm, and after our second round of Sevens, it was barn time. My present novel takes place on a farm, so I saw this as a great opportunity to do some research. I requested permission to watch, but received instead a pair of muddy rubber boots, long socks, a ratty T-shirt that was one-size too big, and a pair of athletic shorts.
I participated in a number of activities including bringing the dairy cows down from the pastures, bottle-feeding a calf, and putting milk machines on the teets of a cow. The entire time I was working and helping, Jason was constantly making comments and jokes about my being a city girl and how I was slowly leveling up in rank according to his farm boy standards.
He and I had to each take a bucket of milk (made with water and milk replacement) to two calves in the barn. I completed the task before him, my calf consuming her milk before Jason’s. Feeling pretty good about myself, I strolled past Jason in a manner that reeked of a thick layer of country girl swag, swinging my bucket through the air. Well, my extreme lack of hand-eye coordination took hold of the situation and my ignorance of the large grate edge that stuck up from the barn floor also played in. Not seeing the grate edge, my boot caught on it, sending me dramatically plummeting to the floor onto my knees first and then onto my stomach. Reactively rolling onto my back, I was showered with the milk that remained in my bucket, my face and hair receiving most of the sprinkling.
All I could do was laugh, because of how perfectly my mock haughtiness was shot down by my own genuine clumsiness and character.
Moral of the story: always be yourself, whether you’re a city girl or a country girl; don’t focus so much on proving people wrong; focus more on knowing that you are not a soup can and are not defined by labels.