Every girl needs an escape hatch.
Here's mine, made of paper and ink on a steel door.
When I was young, I’d hoped that this little quirk of mine signified something remarkable, that it would enable me to assume identities not otherwise available to me. I could imagine that I was a Mediterranean goddess turning heads, not a suburban Jewish teenager flipping the pages of a book. I could even foresee a celebrated career as a secret agent, known in certain circles for my chameleon-like, undercover abilities.
Then the Berlin Wall fell, and along with it my fantasies of foreign service intrigue. I soon became my work, my home, my spouse, my children. I had so many real identities to reckon with, who had the time to imagine a parallel life? And once over the threshold of adulthood, I didn’t want to pretend to be someone else anyway, so eventually it neither bothered nor inspired me when you mistook me for your mother’s hairdresser.
At least until the second glances from complete strangers began in earnest. I was stopped. I was gushed over and consoled. My black beret was complimented. At work, I was excluded from a group photo with the visiting prime minister of an emerging nation. Something big was up.
This was 1998 and it seemed that I looked very much like the most famous of White House interns.
Transfixed like the rest of the country, I watched the news as the blush-inducing, presidential scandale unfolded. I debated how exactly to divide my sympathies, yet stood by my vote. Then, forever limiting my hair-covering choices, I swore off black berets entirely.
Now, thirteen years later, no one stops me to ask if I’m Monica Lewinsky. That moment in time is, thank G-d, all water under the bridge. But out of the blue it comes back to me: To keep her cool while on page one, Monica would knit. Yes, a girl needs a door through which to flee her reality – whatever it may be – and crafting – whatever your game – makes a perfect escape hatch.
I can’t help but wonder, though, whatever happened to that Mediterranean goddess I didn’t become. Maybe she’s at her computer somewhere, staring longingly out her window onto the sea, writing a blog while she waits for the last load of laundry to dry before heading up to bed.