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?)
- plastic tabs for marking pages in books
- loose medication
- awesome lipstick x 2
- 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.