Not long ago, the Lovely Louise decided that the carpet in the master bedroom was full of foul and evil things and must be banished from our demesnes. And thus began the saga of our new hardwood flooring. But that’s actually not the story I want to tell you.
As part of this process, The Queen of Just About Everything moved all of our clothes out of the bedroom and into one of the spare bedrooms. Besides having to wear the same clothes for three days because I couldn’t find anything to wear, I was told that I had to examine each item of clothing before putting it back, and to separate them into two piles: keep and don’t keep. She was then going to wash all the clothes I wanted to keep before putting them in the dresser or the closet.
All right, then. I can do this. I grab the first armload of clothing and dump it on my bed. The first thing I grab is a wonderful fleece pullover from L. L. Bean. I have to keep this, I thought, but then I realized that I live in Florida in the winter and would never need it. Now what do I do? Since it’s possible, although not likely, that I might someday find myself back on Cape Cod in the winter, I decided to keep it—along with my other fleece clothing, sweat shirts, sweat pants and, in fact, all my winter attire. That should do it, I thought, staring at a two-foot-high pile of items to keep and a pile of three items to get rid of. At this rate, I might as well just put everything back. Never mind, I shall soldier on as my Queen commands.
The next pile is underwear. I have lots of different kinds of underwear, including some that Louise bought for me at Marks and Spencer in England. I’m not sure I like them, as it’s clear that Englishmen are built somewhat differently than us testosterone-laden all-Americans. I’m not casting aspersions here, just stating a fact. Anyway, I found more than one pair that appear to date back to the seventies. They’re full of holes and the elastic has worn completely away, but on the other hand, they’re finally broken in. I have a dilemma: I don’t want to throw them away, but I want Louise to see that I’m really making an effort to simplify my life. I’ve got it—put one on top of the throwaway pile and hide the others where she can’t see them! This way she’ll see me throwing some away, but she won’t know I’m keeping some. I’m nothing if not clever.
Back to the spare room for more of my clothes. This trip is an armload of pants. The first pair I grab must belong to Louise. I hold them out and they’re clearly men’s pants. I check the label and see they’re a size 32/30. Thirty-two? Seriously? I haven’t been a size 32 waist since … well … I think since I was just out of college. Just how old are these pants anyway? A quick calculation tells me that these pants are over forty years old. I’ve hung on to them for that same reason I’ve hung on to all my clothes. There will come a time when I am once again a 32 waist—it’s just not today. And so I must keep my pants so that when I regain my lost body, I will have pants to wear. After all, I don’t want to scare the children.
Checking closely, I see that I have pants in waist sizes 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40, and 42. I’ve been losing weight and am now between a 36 and a 38. And so I ask you, do I dare throw out the 40 and 42 inch waists? I’m never going back there, and while I may not get down to 32 again, I’m pretty sure I can make it to 35 or 36. Okay, decision time. I’m throwing out the 32, 34, 40, and 42. Hopefully I can soon throw out the 38’s, but I know myself: somewhere out in the world there’s a Snickers bar with my name on it, and dammit, I’m weak.
Another trip to grab armloads of shirts and bring them back for sorting. OMG, these are just like my pants, I think, as I hold up a dress shirt with a 14 ½-inch neck. I think it’s a similar vintage to my 32 pants, but since men’s styles don’t seem to change much, I’m not really sure. I did locate a shirt that I know I bought in the 80s, and it’s a size 15 ½, so the other shirt must be much, much older. Into the “don’t keep” pile it goes.
What the heck is going on here? Just a few years ago Louise made me throw out my old clothes. I clearly remember putting them in large plastic garbage bags to bring to the Salvation Army. I did do that, didn’t I? I head upstairs over the garage to our little attic to check, and there I find five large green garbage bags full of my clothes.
Now comes my next dilemma: I haven’t even seen these bags for several years, so I obviously don’t need any of the clothes that are in them. I should just bring them to someone who can use them. But what if there’s something really good in there and I don’t even know I’m missing it? I agonize about this over lunch, and decide after my turkey club on toasted whole wheat with extra mayo to just load them in the truck and remove them from sight. Yes, that’s the right decision. Then why am I so uncomfortable about it? I think I need therapy.
All in all it hasn’t been too bad a day. I got rid of thirty-seven pairs (I know, I counted them) of matching white socks that I haven’t worn in years. Not to worry; I have more than twenty pairs left. An old sports coat with moth-eaten sleeves is on its way to some deserving homeless person who may have a job interview. My size 32 pants and 14 ½-inch shirt are being given to some ten-year-old who might actually be able to wear them.
And me? I’m having a beer while I write this blog and congratulating myself on a job well done. Maybe I should wait and see what Louise says.