Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wear & Tear

Today I settled into my spot at the café as I always do. Purse down on the windowsill next to the table. Coat on the back of the chair. The Laptop Bag on the opposite seat. Then I run off to grab my tea or coffee or sandwich before removing my computer from its sheath and getting to the work of finding work. But when I pulled off The Laptop Bag today, I noticed a red smudge.

I keep the strap of the bag long so that I can wear it across my body. This configuration leads the loop of fabric where the strap hooks onto the right side of the bag to bounce against my upper thigh. There it often meets the vivid red of my peacoat, and the fibers have begun to transfer from one to the other.

There are, of course, clothes and shoes and bags that I hope to keep in immaculate condition. That are perfectly cared for and for which the appearance of a small hole or stain or streak would lead to severe devastation on my part. But for most pieces, such wounds are to be worn as badges.

The peacoat in question is missing the button of its right epaulet. Forced off by repeated tugging on the purse that I carry on that shoulder, I've never felt the need to replace it or complain about its absence. The button's loss was my own fault. When there is no purse to hold it in place, the epaulet flaps mildly in the breeze. It shows how much I care for the coat. Shows that it rarely left me last winter.

Long jeans that are not rolled or cuffed begin to fray at the bottom. The leather of boots goes from smooth to rough, changed by rain and snow and occasional mud. Headbands stretch and appear misshapen in my hands but sit perfectly once placed on my head.

In the end, clothes are meant to be lived in, and each of their imperfections tells a story.

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