Saturday, January 25, 2014

Old Friends

I'm cheap. I'll be the first to admit it. I think part of it is the way I grew up. My mother, in particular, was frugal. I remember putting the little bits of soap left at the end of a bar in a jar with a bit of water in it so we could use every little piece. She also kept leftovers and served them up long past what I would consider a safe expiration date. That's what happens when your parents grew up during the depression. I remember her quoting "Waste not, want not" a lot.

So it's no surprise to me that the only clothes I've bought in the past year were for my nephew's wedding in October.

Since I've retired, I haven't paid much attention to what I'm wearing. Half the days of the week I don't even see anyone except in passing on my sometime walks. When I was working, my normal routine was to iron the clothes I was going to wear before breakfast. I haven't been ironing much either. The clothes I wear to church are mostly permanent press that don't show wrinkles. I've got some wrinkle-release spray for the tee-shirts that look too messy to wear on other days.

But this week, I was going out where someone might actually notice what I was wearing. It was a big event, my monthly appointment with my hairdresser. I might be cheap and not pay much attention to clothes, but I won't skip an appointment to get my hair colored and cut. This prompted me to pull out the ironing board and iron. When I started ironing what I'd chosen to wear, I noticed something:

See the frayed cuff? And you might notice that it's a little faded. That's because it belongs to this shirt:
From the WUMB logo, I got this when I lived in Boston, which was from 1997 to 2005. Picking a middling date, this shirt is twelve or thirteen years old.

Of course, it's not as old as this one:
I had to get this at the QLink Sunset Bash in October of 1994. They gave out a bunch of old QLink merchandise. It's in such good shape because I'm saving it as a souvenir and don't wear it.

Then there are my jeans:
I have several pairs with frayed bottoms, but I hold onto them for two reasons. One is that the rest of the jean is still good. The other is that it's made of heavyweight denim, which is almost impossible to find now. I'd like to know why all the jeans in the stores and online catalogs are that thin stuff, pretend-denim. I like my jeans to have some heft to them. I like them to be sturdy, the kind of jeans that will stand up to being worn. Cowboy jeans.

Then there's footwear. No, I'm not a shoe collector. Imelda Marcos's record shoe collection is in no danger from me. But there are several items that I can't bring myself to part with. For instance, I l-o-n-g-e-d for this pair of sandals:
But I almost never wear them. They're not as comfortable as they look. And my toes get cold without socks. I almost always wear sneakers.

And can someone tell me why I'm holding onto these?
It never snows in Tucson. Well, I think it's snowed twice since I've been here. Neither time has it been more than an inch deep. But maybe someday the Polar Vortex will dip this far south. Or I'll have to travel back north in January.

The truth is, these (and others like them) are my favorite pieces of apparel. They're like old friends. They fit. They're comfortable. And they still have some wear left in them. (Well, maybe not the WUMB shirt.) So I hold onto them and even wear them.

Speaking of old friends, I couldn't end this blog without mentioning books.
That is one of my seven bookcases. Yes, I do most of my reading on an ereader now, but I still like books. I have a hard time parting with any of them. There are books I haven't read yet and books I've read several times. There's something comforting about seeing them on the shelves. They, too, are old friends.

I promised myself that when I retired from programming, I'd get rid of all the programming books. Not only am I not doing that any more--and with no desire to write code for fun at this point in my life--most of them are also outdated. If I were to start programming again, I'd probably need new books. But I invested so much money in them and so much of my life in programming, I have a hard time letting go.

Which explains the seven bookcases. This is all the empty space on them that remains:
I suppose it could be worse. Everyone has their quirks.
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