April 21st, 2019
I like to travel, but I don’t like to pack. Actually, I don’t mind packing my stuff. It is just that it gets stressful when Karin and I are loading the car together. That never goes well. I never seem to load the bags correctly. Whenever I have been foolish enough to take the initiative, Karin has always rearranged our belongings in a way that meets her own requirements. I am now at the point where I just let Karin load everything. If something is heavy, I will place it in back of the car exactly where she wants it. Even then, she usually needs to adjust things a bit.
We loaded the Toyota a few minutes ago. Karin had two suitcases and several other carry on bags. I had a backpack. She asked me about that.
“Is this all you are taking?”
I replied, “Yes.”
“Are you sure? This is all for four weeks? You’ll be stinky.”
I sighed. “Okay. The fact is that all my clothes are little more than rags. Why pack them? I need to get some new clothes anyway. I’ll buy things as we go along. I can also wash things as we go along.”
Karin seemed somewhat satisfied with that answer. The truth is that I seldom buy clothes, and I wear what I have until they are reduced to shreds. More than once, I have mistaken for a homeless person.
Seeing as today was Easter, and I had to read from Scripture in front of the congregation, I wore some relatively new slacks. Karin complimented me on that as we drove to church. I muttered something to the effect that I don’t care how I dress.
Karin thought for a moment and replied, “Well, that’s not quite true. You wouldn’t wear something pink or flowery.”
I sighed, “Yes, that’s true.”
Karin went on, “But you don’t dress to impress anybody with how you look.”
“That is also true.”
I have spent most of my adult life wearing a uniform, both in the military and out. Sometimes the “uniform” simply meant that I had to wear a necktie. For years, I dressed to meet the idiosyncratic requirements of various organizations, and now I am done with that. I’m retired, and I just don’t give a damn. I am no longer part of the system. I don’t answer to anyone, and there is nobody that I need to impress.
I do not own a tie. I think that the last time I wore a tie was when Bill Clinton was in office. I can conceive of no situation where I would even consider wearing a necktie.
There is a story about Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. She cared for the poor, and she was notoriously frugal with regards to her own needs. One year, just prior to Easter, she considered buying something nice to wear to Mass. After much soul-searching, she finally decided that she should buy herself some new shoelaces.
Last Thursday, I bought myself some new shoelaces. I needed them.