As I ride the ferry to work, I glance down at my shirt. No coffee spills. (It’s sad that I view that as an achievement. Sadder that it’s bound to be temporary.) When did I start wearing t-shirts to work? It’s not even casual Friday.
I’m a school principal. I’m supposed to wear a dress shirt and tie. And a blazer or a suit. Okay, I’ve never been a suit. When I worked in larger school districts, I’d see them all arrive at management meetings, dressed formally yet immediately draping their jackets on the back of their chairs. What’s the point? I’m too practical for that. When I head back to my school, I don’t spend much time in my office. I’m sitting on the carpet with groups of children, coaxing unskilled students off the bench to learn dribbling skills and traipsing through sand and gravel to marvel at the civilizations children have imagined outside with branches and pine cones.
I can justify the t-shirt. It has the school logo on it. All students and staff have one. It’s harder to justify all the wrinkles. I used to iron everything. (Okay, not socks and underwear. That would be silly.) When no-iron dress shirts appeared in department stores, I scoffed. Lower quality. For divorced men with caveman brains who believe ironing is women’s work.
I wear iron-free shirts now. When I’m not wearing wrinkled school tees. Haven’t worn a tie in months. There really is no one to impress.
Perhaps it’s freeing not to care. But I feel a sense of alarm. Is this a sign of aging? First, it’s wrinkles on a shirt; then, it’s wrinkles that can’t be ironed away, even if I bothered. And there’s more to come.
Untamed bushy eyebrows.
Knee-high brown socks with sandals.
Crocs. In bright green. Worn with anything. Matching doesn’t matter.
Gaudy Bermuda shorts that couldn’t possibly match anything. (Good thing it doesn’t matter.) They’re a thrift store bargain. So what if the pocket linings have holes in them.
Fanny packs. A logical response to having cheap shorts with holes in the pockets.
I need to stop there. No doubt it gets worse, but I’ve seen the future. Ain’t pretty, indeed.
And to think it all started with a wrinkly school t-shirt.