Friday, August 04, 2006

The Bush Woman

No, not Laura, and not some half-naked tribal matron in National Geographic either, although I secretly like the idea that some of you may picture her this way. The Bush Woman, as I call her in an attempt to convince myself that she is too insignificant to warrant remembering her first name, is my antithesis. She is the embodiment of all the snooty moms from The New Adventures of Old Christine.

I live in a town of 4400 people, surrounded by corn and soybean fields. There is one high school, 4 stop lights, and an estimated 23 Christian churches. I may be exaggerating about the churches, but not by much. My daughter goes to school with a normal little girl, unremarkable to casual observance. But the girl's mother is the one I can't stand.

You know the type, always drops her kid off at 8am in perfect hair and make-up, president of the PTA, the first name on the class party volunteer sheet. There are other mothers more involved than me, more put together than me, but this one somehow surpasses all of them combined. Her husband owns his own business, and she drives a huge pick-up truck emblazoned with the company name, lest anyone think her any less than the wife of a successful entrepreneur. She gained quite a bit of weight when pregnant a few years ago, but it doesn't make me happy like it should. Probably because she doesn't seem to care. She still carries herself as though she is perfect, but worse, like she is MORE perfect than any of the rest of us. She is the woman who has never made a bad choice in her life. She never dated a loser, never got a tattoo she regrets, never woke up hungover hearing stories of what she did the night before. She married a great man and had great children, and no doubt lives in an great house full of great furnishings. She's Donna Reed, and it makes those of us who struggle look like Peg Bundy.

The obvious solution would be to shrug it off. Declare her to be a snob and then go on my way, but come on! Who really has the self-esteem to walk by that upturned perfectly formed nose and not want to sock her in the stomach? So I should just avoid her, avoid even seeing her. But I can't! She's the one taking the money at the school book fair. She's the one helping the kids with their costumes for the Halloween parade. She's the one walking out of the parent-teacher conference while I wait to go in, thanking the teacher for all the praise. I'm the one waiting to hear how my kid can't concentrate and doesn't participate in class. Hello! My kid can't concentrate because she's been reading at a junior high level for 2 years and you're trying to explain how to pluralize words ending with S.

The worst part is, Bush Woman syndrome will be passed on to the daughter. Her father owns a business, her name is one that has been in this town for generations, and she's not disfigured. She will be prom queen, class president, and have all the right extra-curricular activities on her college resume. In high school, she will have no acne, braces that make her look all-American rather than awkward, and in gym class she will complain about having to shave her legs every week to keep them smooth. She will get a car on her 16th birthday, a $300 prom dress, and date the football star of the class ahead of hers. She will go off to college and continue her charmed life, and then move right back to this town to breed another generation of Bush Women with a different but equally revered last name.

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