I ordered a skirt. The skirt arrived and it was too large. I called the clothing company and I spoke to a man who seemed very nice but not particularly good at computers. I asked for the same skirt in a smaller size. He said, no problem. A week later a package arrived. I opened it up. It was a skirt. But it was not the skirt that I had ordered. Though it was the right size. And also the same color. But it had a different cut, and pattern, and buttons. The first skirt had not had any buttons. I tried it on anyway and it was a good skirt. But it wasn’t the skirt I had ordered. I felt bad. I felt bad about the man I’d talked to. Either he or I had made a mistake. Or maybe someone at the warehouse had made a mistake, or maybe somone who puts the stickers on the bags at the warehouse had made a mistake. I don’t know. Someone had made a mistake. I kept thinking about this. Feeling bad turned to feeling anxious. I put the skirt on a shelf and I decided I would deal with it later. Then this morning I woke up and it was hot.
It’s always hot at least once in the fall and everybody always forgets. It gets cold and then it’s horribly hot and then it’s cold again. These are hard days for people who get dressed in the morning. There are so many problems you think of when you wake up and in addition you were just starting to think about sweaters and tights and that was feeling like a solution to a problem but it’s not, anymore, now that it’s hot. All the things in your closet that were good, that were summer dresses, that were sandals, that lay across you in a way both attractive and cooling, they look rumpled and old and when did your closet turn into a lousy secondhand shop, and why isn’t anything ironed. Nothing is ever fucking ironed at this point.
And I thought, when I woke up, I am going to need to wear something good today. Something funny. I thought, something funny. Something that makes me laugh. I am not a good dresser. I mean I am capable of putting clothing on, and sometimes I look surprisingly okay while wearing clothing. But overall it is not my strength. So more often I dress emotionally. Prescriptively. If I wake up and I am sad then I will put on something that is simple and unfussy. If I wake up and I am tired I will put on something that makes me feel powerful when I walk in it. That sort of thing. But funny, that was a new idea. What is funny, to wear.
I took the accidental skirt from the shelf and I put it on, and then I put on a shirt that is a color that I generally do not ever wear, and then I put on some boots, barefoot I put them on, and it absolutely looked funny. Wrinkled, also. I took everything off and turned on the iron and put on some music and talked to the cat and ironed everything and put on socks and put on the skirt and the shirt and the boots, no longer barefoot, and I looked fine. I looked funny and I looked fine. I could see the places in the outfit that would be ruined by time, how the shirt is a little too long and how the skirt is a little too poplin and so how they will have and are wrinkling at my waist, as I sit here, at a desk, all day. And the boots I knew would be a little too hot. And my necklace falls at the wrong place. And.
Then I went to the kitchen and my roommate was there and she said, “Oh, nice outfit,” and I said “THANK YOU” with the sincerity and emphasis of an entire kindergarten class on a field trip. “I’m calling this Last Gasp of Summer,” I said, even though I wasn’t, until that moment. And then turned the corner and strutted down our long hallway, which is a catwalk, in that I was walking on it, and my cat walks on it too. So as far as I can tell, the moral of the story is that sometimes you know what you want, and also sometimes accidents happen, but overall if you can incorporate knowing what you want with the accidents that happen, things will not go too badly. Even when it is hot in the fall, like it always is.