Jon de Vos: Out, damned spot
It’s 7:38 a.m. Find some pants, shoes and a shirt. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah, socks. I never heard the end last time I forgot socks. Pick one, actually two. Race downstairs, pat the wife, kiss the dogs. Uh-oh, that’s backward. Turn around, do it again. Hand outstretched for the door knob when, suddenly, life and its accompanying travail screeches to a halt, “You’re not going to work looking like that, are you?”
Mid-stride pause, “Um, like what?”
“Oh, you know, with that spot on the middle of your shirt.”
“I, uh, didn’t notice any spot when I picked it up off the floor,” I said. “Is it, you know, like a big spot? What if I held my hand in front of it like this? Can you see it now? Maybe it’s just water.”
“Well,” she said, “have you been drinking pizza-colored water? It’s up to you if you want to go out looking like that, but I’d be embarrassed to be seen with you. I’d think you would care about your image despite your behavior at the last office party.”
“Oh, you can’t bring that up again. I’ve said I was sorry a bazillion times!
“You need to go change into a clean shirt.”
I stare, downcast, at my shoes. A tinny voice says in my ear, “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE,” so I pull off the offending shirt and toss it back on the floor on the theory she might not see the stain next time I try it. I root through the closet for another shirt that will pass muster. Aha! I produce a stainless shirt, carefully iron the front and soon I’m rounding the kitchen table, heading for the door when it happens again.
“Wait! That shirt doesn’t match those pants at all! Don’t you have any color sense?”
“But … but … but,” I sputter defensively, “they’re both green. That counts, doesn’t it?”
“Only if you’re intending to run off with Maid Marion and surround yourself with a band of Merry Men. You need to go change either the pants or the shirt.”
“I just did! Please, please, just turn your back and let me slip outta here.”
“Not looking like that if you expect to find me here when you come home.” (RESISTANCE IS FUTILE)
Sobbing now, “I’m gonna be late for work.”
“You were late for work yesterday because you couldn’t find a matching pair of shoes. They’re used to it by now. If you showed up on time it would scare them. Maybe if you organized your closet and put dirty clothes in the hamper some of this could be avoided.”
“We have a hamper?”
“I thought that would surprise you. It’s been at the foot of the bed for the last 17 years. If you would pick your clothes up off the floor and put them in the hamper, miraculously, they’d be returned to you within a very few days without spots. But enough theory. Right now you need to go upstairs and pick out a shirt and a pair of pants that are clean and vaguely coordinated.”
So, another setback, another shirt, spotless, coordinated, I iron the front again. After a brush with the Spot Patrol and a run-in with the Fashion Police, maybe I can climb in the window behind my desk and nobody would notice how late I am.
Her eyes assess me like a Cyborg as I edge toward the door. She speaks, “In the mornings, would you like me to pick out your clothes? You’re a little old to need help dressing but I’d be happy to. Wait, turn around.”
“Because there’s a hole in those pants.”
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