I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I became the kind of person who comes home from a long day and immediately changes into “comfy clothes.”
My comfy clothes are basically a pair of either tattered navy blue or black sweatpants and a former boyfriend’s white Oxford shirt, which is missing 2.5 buttons and no longer smells like his cologne, which is either good or bad, depending on the day I’ve had. I also have in my Comfy Armoire a sweater that is so ragged and busted, it is literally no longer a sweater. It is some sort of knitted object with sleeves.
No, I won’t win any fashion awards in my comfy getup, but that’s the point. It’s not about impressing anyone. In fact, it’s the privacy that feels so good, the “I don’t care and I don’t have to” thing. This transition — changing from whatever I was wearing “out there” into something more comfortable as I look ahead to an evening full of homework, YouTube, the ol’ PG, and various other tasks — has become one of the most glorious moments of my day.
I was trying to think why the “let me slip into something more comfortable” thing feels so new to me, because it does. It’s grad school.
Because I’ve been working for myself since 2005 as a writer, performer, and quilt person, and while a lot of my work is in front of (a lot of) people, a good deal of my work is done on my own, in my house. I have worked in offices, but not a lot of offices and not for long periods of time. I don’t do well in captivity.
But going to school is like going to work and I like to look presentable, you know? Actually, I like to look better than presentable, since it is my belief that wearing a smart outfit with polished-up shoes will carry a gal through any challenge (or victory!) the day may throw her way. The clothes make the woman, that’s what I say. (The other reason I like to dress up when I go out for the day, which might sound funny, is that putting thought into what I wear “out there” shows respect to the city I love so much. I like to meet Chicago looking my best. Is that cray-cray?)
All this is well and good, but these days, by the time I get home it’s like, “I need to take off these pumps and hang up these trousers now. No, now.”
I fling everything off and change into my lounge getup. I get out my laptop. I grab the chips and the salsa. I collapse on the couch. In my fantasy, of course, little Philip Larkin jumps up into my lap. (I’ll have an update on Philip soon, by the way.) And there, home at last, I can relax and unwind and drip salsa on my shirt.
Which I assure you will happen again. Because it happened just now.