Tender Pockets

Detail, silk dress ca. 1920s. Image: Wikipedia. 


Before the pandemic began, I had clothes that could be considered “outside” clothes.

Like so many of you, I tried to maintain some sense of normalcy amid the confusion and fear of those first few months. One of my strategies was to wear my outside clothes inside. I’d dress like like I was going to be seen in public, walk from the bedroom to my desk, perch on my chair and mostly meet deadlines. My desk was a tiny cafe table in the corner of the living room. Eric and I purchased it after we gave up the coworking space we had been renting downtown near the river. The table was barely big enough for my computer and keyboard but I made it work, wearing outside pants and an outside shirt. I even wore shoes for awhile.

But entropy always wins. As time passed, I stowed anything with buttons and zippers and embraced clothes that were soft and contained elastic at the waist and ankles.

That was two years ago. Today, I’m double-vaxxed and boosted. I mostly still wear my mask in public. (So weird that I sometimes forget.) Being outside is possible again. You can tell because today I’m wearing jeans with a button fly and my shirt doesn’t have a stain on the front. I put on my outside face almost every day.

It hasn’t been as fun as I thought it would be to get my outside clothes back into rotation, though, because most of my outside clothes have pockets. (None of my inside clothes have pockets.) As I hang things up, I check the pockets and it’s breaking my heart. It’s not just because the objects represent life pre-pandemic and that feels sad because the girl who last used these pockets had no idea what was on its way. That’s obviously part of it this time, but switching out warm-weather clothes for spring ones has always been painful for me. My pockets, myself: The objects people carry tell the story of their life (or at least part of a story.) It’s surprising how much you can learn about a person by going through them.

Here are the relics from my life in 2020:

  • lists (example: “H20, Wite-Out, Nutella, graham crackers, burrito stuff”)
  • used tissues (was I crying or did I just have a runny nose?)
  • lighter
  • plastic tabs for marking pages in books
  • loose medication
  • awesome lipstick x 2
  • lint
  • a wadded up five-dollar bill
  • a couple receipts

The lipsticks were dry but still useable. Plastic tabs will always be my #1 office supply item. I’m still on the same medication. The receipts were weird because a couple of them were from D.C. and I don’t go to D.C. anymore. I put the five-dollar bill in a drawer because I used cash in 2020 but hardly ever now. Lint is eternal.

The arrow of time only goes forward, but the arrow of time doesn’t have pockets. I’m not saying the arrow would ever turn around and go back if it had pockets, but it might slow down to catch its breath.

17 Responses

  1. val larson
    | Reply

    I have missed you Paper Girl

  2. Rita Kaiser
    | Reply

    I am so happy to see you writing blogposts again! My pockets contain tissues and cloth masks that I made when the pandemic first started. I seem to have one in every pocket – pants, jackets, everywhere! I am vaxxed, boosted and getting a second booster next month, as I am going to travel to Canada – finally!

  3. Marj
    | Reply

    Hey Mar
    I always leave change in my pockets because it’s so much fun to put on a coat, reach into the pocket, and find cash. Silly, but it works. Small things amuse small minds, I guess.
    Beats thinking about other things.
    Will this ship will ever right itself?

  4. Jan
    | Reply

    I NEED pockets.
    As a nurse I wasn’t completely dressed without pockets, holding all and sundry needs for the day: keys-pens-tape-scissors-lip balm-mosquitos-alcohol swabs. No phones in those days.
    My mother wore an apron with pockets, at the end of the day she would empty them of items she had picked up during the day. Toy soldiers, hair clips, clothes pins, rubber bands, marbles, tissues, all wonderful treasures a mother of 6 would find during her day.
    Now I only have tissues and lip balm. But I still need these pockets !

  5. Jeanne
    | Reply

    I’m also happy to,read you again! Also very happy to be on a mailing list which is not selling anything!

  6. Michele
    | Reply

    So glad to hear from you again. Also nice to see that I am not the only one finding relics of things in my pockets. Now all I find is a mask in every jacket I wear, plus 2 in my purse. I also got so INTO my soft pants I am now on a diet to lose about 5 lbs plus to get back into the clothes that I used to wear Outside.
    I also have UC and my doctor is SO happy that I have these extra lbs on me . But I cant stand the tight of the pants. GOTTA get rid of it. !!!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Michelle, I pray you’re able to manage your UC these days. I am your sister. You got this. (And I am your sister in wanting to lose 5lbs., too.) 😉

  7. elizabeth a hinze
    | Reply

    My rule was that I had to at least once a week
    I had to wear pants with a zipper

  8. Wilma Bland
    | Reply

    Our change is for a rainy day when the person with the hot coffee ☕️ is just who we needed to come serve our table , not the waitress for our section but the one who spotted us while the assigned person was busy with the three other tables in their section. Life is happening, escaping from tyranny of a virus and so we happen on the recently popular spot of the local cafe or Denny’s—-$5 might put the greeter’s smile more firmly in place or help that person get back into what my family calls peopling. Thanks for coming back with your blog spot and helping us remember we are not alone …

  9. R MacKinnin
    | Reply

    I leave the pull tickets to secure my place in line at the deli in my jacket or pants pockets.

  10. Brandy H
    | Reply

    I am so thrilled you’re writing blog posts again!!
    I get melancholy going through my pockets from 2020. So many masks that I made, tissues, chap sticks of all sorts (yay), loose change & a few bills, cancer center appointment cards…
    I’m glad to know it’s not only me.

  11. Liz Flaherty
    | Reply

    It’s so nice to see you back on the blog.

  12. Eileen
    | Reply

    I am so happy to read your blog again!!

  13. Grammy Judy
    | Reply

    So glad you are back. I hope you plan to stay for a long time, I missed you.

  14. Maureen
    | Reply

    Glad to have you back! My pockets are filled with dog treats, just in case I meet a dog friend while walking my neighborhood.

  15. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    So glad you’re back Mary!
    Really missed you!

  16. Robin Smith
    | Reply

    Hugs ❤️

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