Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What "Preppy-Isn't"... But I Do It Anyway


Life is about truly living and not simply being absolutely defined by a certain lifestyle either inherited, cultivated or experienced by default. I grew up, and certainly have always been, a Southern Preppy through n' through especially now on into my midlife years as one's habits and preferences become even more habitual however, like my jaunt out into the mountains of Park City, Utah to enjoy being a ski bum for a couple of years, various life experiences have offered up a variety of non-prep things that I found myself enjoying. And... still enjoy today. Here are a few of them listed as examples and for a good chuckle:

Mowing the lawn. Oh, how I love to be out on my John Deere riding mower under mostly bright blue sunshine skies mowing the 5 acres we have out here on this island. For me, this is a time of almost Zen-like calm and "being" in the moment at hand: chop wood, carry water. Contemplatives such as Buddhist monks, Christian monks, desert father contemplatives, retreat seekers and gentleman farmer-poets understand the value of physical labor work that rests the mind. I also have always maintained wherever we've lived, a small organic kitchen garden with seperate herb and cutting-flower beds. We do have a yard-guy that helps out with the heavier grounds-work but I'm the one who mows the two lawn areas around here... the above picture is of part of one of the lawn areas that I enjoy mowing.

Eating Salsa. Mexican food, and for that matter Hispanic culture in general, isn't really on my radar-screen to be honest though I once studied the Day of the Dead festivities for a World Arts course and found that interesting. However, I make an exception with my love of salsas- all salsas except the ones so fiery-hot that they're about inedible. And, being southern, Peach Salsa is of course something that I can eat until I literally can't take another bite, yum!

Looking like a page out of the Patagonia catalogue. Being outdoors in the woods, out on the water in kayaks and scampering around southwestern desert areas, practicality necessitates morphing into wearing togs that look a lot more river-rat/tree-hugger than preppy. I absolutely enjoy the natural environment and I support many environmental efforts plus am always reading essays and literature pertaining to our natural world however, I don't feel that I need to cultivate "the look" of environmental-political-correctness for my general life or each time I go into a natural foods emporium. But these types of outdoor-gear clothing are wonderful to be wearing, especially the drip-dry and moisture-wicking stuff, whenever I'm out hiking, paddling and the like. James is talking about us camping in order to get back into great spots to fly fish and so this section of my wardrobe no doubt will increase a bit. I call these pieces of clothing my "island wear" and the rest of my wardrobe, "off-island" since when I go into town or am in the process of traveling, I'm back-to-Preppy. Yes, L.L.Bean has some outdoors-wear that's Preppy and of course there's Orvis and Barbour that I love to shop as well but for some things, especially kayaking, Patagonia, North Face, etc. just have better offerings.

Enjoying Bluegrass music. I do like all types of jazz music since it counterbalances my listening to classical however, some expressions of Bluegrass does veer awfully close to Blues n' Country for most Preppy listeners. This must be a "southern thing" like grits and collard greens: to like Bluegrass even while listening to Country music which is, in my book, akin to hearing nails scratched down a chalkboard. I just bought James a Robert Johnson CD and we'll be listening to it a lot I know.

Academia. I realize that for the most part, Preppies endure years of school and subsequent MBA's or JD's in order to get to prime earning-potential if their trust funds seem to be dwindling away. I also realize that for most core-Preppy people, unless you're working in business, law or various high-end antiques/art auction houses or galleries, your career is "suspect" however... after experiencing 15 years of business management, I am utterly happy to be back into academia. In fact, I'm having such a blast getting my MA that I am already seriously looking into PhD programs since I graduate this coming December. I hafta' laugh that the forerunner of PhD programs in the Humanities I'm researching is Salve Regina University in Rhode Island which is considered a "Preppy school". Hopefully it'll be a natural-fit for me; we'll see. I am intrigued with their emphasis on Ethics which, as we all know too well, has been rapidly departing the business area especially certain financial institutions recently. I have always loved learning and challenging myself intellectually but at the same time, I can party-in-madras with the best of 'em.

Nailpolish in the Summertime. There's just something-fun about having a great tan, cute outfits, darling strappy sandals and one's toe nails polished in the summer. It's lighthearted frivolity that finds me either painting sweet ballet pink shades or more daring coral brights on my toe nails and even fingernails at times in the warmer months we have here on the island.

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