I've had a two part epiphiny (if that is indeed possible) over the last few days. Last week, I had an interesting encounter with a homeless woman. As is our habit, my co-worker and I ventured out to get some lunch. Our office borders the L, and it runs by every 30 seconds.
We were walking around trying to decide where to go, and as we turn the corner, we see a homeless woman. She is cranky, and impolitely demanding cash. I thought nothing of it, and decided on the recommended 'no eye conact' approach. As we draw closer to her, the train came.
My co-worker, whose listening is unaffected by said train, moves his mouth. I assume he's suggesting a place for lunch, and start to nod in approval, hoping he didn't say anything with sushi or salad in the name.
But before I could, the homeless lady turns her attention to me. Coming out of the apparent daze she was in, she straightened a little, and said "Why are you wearing a gray t-shirt under a brown shirt? It doesn't make any sense." I started to think about a witty retort. But, I quickly started wondering why I heard her, but not my co-worker. And by that time it was clearly too late to be witty .
It didn't take much introspective thought to conclude that I have no hope of becoming a fashionplate, and my attention would be better placed elsewhere. Even so, I made a mental note not to wear the gray T-Shirt with that particular brown shirt.
Then this past Saturday I had a vision of who I will be (at least from a fashion perspective) in my old age. My wife and I took the kids to the re-dedication of Avon School in Round Lake (Beach? Park? I dunno). They had a ceremony to commemorate the opening 40 years ago. The school was not only funded by the community, but it was built entirely through volunteer efforts. We were there because my wife's Grandfather (who has passed) was a big part of the volunteer effort.
I didn't go in to the ceremony expecting much. But it was really touching seeing so many people from one community who were proud of such a big accomplishment. The ceremony itself consisted of people who were involved in the building of the school talking about how good it felt to contribute to something meaningful, something that has been used for a generation.
My father-in-law gave a very cool speech. He started with a 'historical note,' relating what it was like to go to school at Avon when it was a one room schoolhouse, and then graduating after the construction was complete.
He also told a funny story about the guys who built it. Apparently, most of the guys behind the project hung out together and played poker regularly. But one of the guy's was very religious, and his religion opposed gambling in all forms. The man in question apparently wasn't all that concerned for his eternal soul, becuase he went ahead and played poker anyway. However, he didn't want his wife to know about it, so they all called it the "Wine and Cheese Society." He got a good chuckle, although my wife and her mother were off chasing kids around the school, and didn't get a chance to hear it.
It was very cool to see so many people having bonded over one event so long ago, and how proud they were of their accomplishments. After the ceremony, they had refreshments in the cafeteria. And this is where I had my vision. As you can imagine, most of the attendees were older. These older gentlemen pay about the same amount of attention to fasion as I do.
I was on kid patrol, partly as an excuse not to be social and meet new people, but mainly becuase I love spending time with my kids. In between swinging my oldest boy and his cousin around in circles, making them giggle...well like two year olds, I saw this particular gentleman. It was hot on Saturday, so he was dressed appropriately.
He was wearing black shorts, with a not quite matching black light-hawaiian type shirt. Now, black outfit in 85 degree weather, I mean how smooth does it get? But the highlight to me was his black dress shoes with the longest black socks I have seen since my soccer days. Do you think this guy spared 10 seconds in the morning worrying about what G-freaking-Q would say? No. This guy is an island, he is a rock.
I don't admire this guy becuase his fashion sense is bad. I admire him becuase his only worry is comfort and whether he thinks he looks good.