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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

35: The Limit Unless Otherwise Posted - And so it goes.

Hello crocker faithful. I am afraid I am still perhaps uninspired to share the events of my own life, as they have primarily consisted of me not doing the dishes for days on end. The only insight I can provide is, therefore, a flight of fantasy into the lives I imagine others may have. Have I run out of things to say? Maybe. Or I am really that surprised that Easter is still far away and I am still writing this? Yes, that too I'm sure. Maybe it's that I've entered a solid Billy Joel phase. And not a Billy Joel the radio hits phase like I did my sophomore year of college, but more a Billy Joel "maybe I should consider alcoholism as an option" deep cuts of Billy Joel. And no worries, no drinks for me, but I'll be darned if the piano man's slow jams don't have me saying, "Billy my boy, pour me another."

That said, on to the flight of fancy...or outdoorsy casual, as the case may be.

A broken-hearted love letter from the guy in on page 73 of the L.L. Bean catalog:

My Dear, Sweet Paige,

I write to you with a heavy heart. Sure, it's not visible beneath my cotton/cashmere sweater, which is, unlike my heart, remarkably light, yet able to endure intense fluctuations in temperature and temperament by that unpredictable mistress the weather. Ah if only I were made of two of the finest fibers in the world, and of those finest fibers, the finest selections, like my sweater. If that were the case, maybe I would have been able to love you with every fiber of my being because I would possess a soul comprised of the stuff that could seamlessly transition from an early morning walk outside to grab firewood to a teleconference with the boss, to a glass of wine on the porch at sunset - paired with khakis, paired with you.

You know, I think cashmere sounds so expensive because the word "cash" is in there. It's like, you expect to pay more because they mention cash up front, and we both know it is SO worth it. I refer to all my cashmere as my cash now. Trevor - you remember him, he does a lot of pants print work because he has a nice ass, but never models shorts because one leg is shorter so the knee caps don't line up - Trevor makes all these hilarious jokes about how he's taking his cash' biz' cas' - wearing cashmere to business meetings with jeans. Man, he got going on how his jeans are now to be referred to as "dungarees" and calls his best Friday outfit his "cash and dungs," for when he wants to seal a business deal in comfort. Well, the boys love a good fabric joke. Add to that a joke about workplaces we never visit because we're models, and you have got a laugh riot on your hands. Sometimes they'll just let him talk through shoots because he always gets us laughing so, we end up actually looking like we're laughing somewhat naturally in our group shots. You know, mainly the ones where we're all on a dock, or a deck, or gathered around sailing lines at a boat's helm.

Ugh! Look at how sidetracked I've become. You know me, always off in the margins or staring off into the distance when I should be staying focused. It's hard being such a dreamer. And rugged individualist.

But anyway, here I am. With heavy heart, and a pain that is as intense as the penetrating gaze of my ice-blue eyes as they stare at the world, not betraying any hint as to what may be causing my wry smile. Ok, probably not that intense, but what is? What I'm trying to say is, Paige, when I first saw you on page 24, having a blast playing croquet in your sleeveless madras dress with double front pockets, I thought, "Wow, if ever there were a woman who could successfully bring back madras prints - it's her."

You were at once radiant and reserved, classic and charismatic, blue-blood and young blood. You were the picture of everything I'd hoped to find in a woman - the woman I hoped to find in you. And then when I met you, I could not believe it. I asked you if you were from New Hampshire. You said Maine. I called you my Maine squeeze. You laughed a little. We talked about work.
You said, "I knew you were different when I realized you were always in front of the same lake. It took me until the fall catalog to realize that your jawline was an exact replica of the rugged water's edge they always put you in front of. What beauty."

No one had ever noticed that before. I told you then that I loved you.

You turned away shyly into a sunset, then looked back, laughing over your shoulder as your red head scarf blew into your neck and provided the perfect complement to your navy blue sweater. I can see you just like that now - laughing over a shoulder casually, looking so at ease with the life you are living.

I would say it's because of my strong and abiding memories, but it's also helped by your appearance on the spring issue's shoe pages. Boat shoes, maryjanes, dress sandals. You could make them all biz cas, even lifting your foot spryly behind you on page 54. Such is your grace.

What happened to us? After I went to do those flannel shots in the snow at the cabin for the winter online catalog, things were different. You swore you did not mind my new winter catalog beard, but I still think that played a part in the distance between us. You said it was the snow, but I know Miriam has a snowmobile, I've seen her all over the outdoor section. She even did a snow shoe page!
I know, I should not blame Miriam. This is about us. But I still feel like you could have tried harder to see me. I grew a beard, you took to the fireside with a warm turtleneck sweater and a perpetually hot cup of cocoa, and it seems like ever since the lake between our pages has become the lake between our hearts.

And then the thing happened. I know you still say it's not any different than my growing a beard, but I, I am sorry. I cannot change the way I feel about it. I cannot help feeling like you lied to me. I thought you were a white blonde. That your hair gleamed pale white in the sunlight with a purity that none could sully - its own superior genetic mandate that it remain perfcct. And then I found you, hair wrapped in foil and dye, casually perusing a Lands' End catalog. "They have cheap polos" was all you could say.

Well, it tore away a piece of my heart as easily as one can tear away the long legs of detachable hiking and camping pants simply by means of a zipper. But the pieces of my heart did not get tossed in your stuffsack. They flew away, into the campfire of life. To see you, exposed. Dyeing your hair blonde. Cheating on L.L. Bean with the last resort - the End of the line. Sullied.

I felt filthy. Suddenly even the happy barks of my chocolate lab Miles from his Tartan dog bed were only semi-sweet. And that made me think of your Yellow Lab Lucy, and how you'd probably dyed her fur too, since she was always impeccably clean despite living in such rugged environs. You weren't the real thing. You were only an image of the woman I wished you would be. You had me fleeced. In a periwinkle midweight fleece. And my God did it complement my hair's natural blonde highlights and allow for breathable outdoor comfort and all of the mobility of a lightweight jacket. I already felt the pangs of regret at losing you, but then that image of you in the foils would come back to me. Haunting me.

Never again would we stand and enjoy tea in front of a fire in our matching lightweight silk long underwear, anticipating the inevitable seduction that would follow when the motion of our ragg wool socks conducted enough static electricity that sparks would literally fly. And then we'd carefully set out tea mugs on the fireplace mantle, and then make our way down to the handwoven loop rug below where we'd smother each other with smoldering glances in the fire's light.

I am sorry Paige. I cannot abide these betrayals. These truths. These are wrinkles that, though my wrinkle-free khakis can withstand their weight, my heart cannot. You have pierced my heart as my gaze pierces many many catalog shoppers. That night, when I got in my canoe to leave you on your side of the lake, it was so hard to look over my shoulder as I went and know that I was looking less than 100% rugged, but that's what I was feeling. I am sorry you had to see me that way, as I know first-hand how devastating it can be to see someone not live up to their pages. And Paige, my Paige, I can no longer look at your pages. I just can't believe you're actually having that much easy-going fun with light laughs. Trevor isn't even in the same section. It's just not feasible.

Anyway, even with all of this pain, there is pleasure. The pleasure of knowing I'll use this pain to make myself look even more rugged. More rough and tumble. More grizzled. I may even try to get a hiking boot tableau. We'll see.
And even in all of this despair, I hope you don't get the mom swimsuits this year. No one deserves that.

Know you were once my everything, now just a Paige in the past.

Keep smiling though.

Ever through the trees,

p.s.- you should probably dye yellow blonde this summer, I hear orange is going to be big and I think it'd help make your eyes sizzle.

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