Everyday is like a super secret spy mission for me as I try to remain stealthy. One of the ways I go about this is to dress as blandly as possible. If you've seen me on one day then pretty much you've seen my getup; I'm always in black pants and the only thing that changes is the color of my shirt.
Yes, I did say color in the singular form because I will never wear a shirt that has two colors, has stripes of any sort (I am adamantly opposed to those designs) whether vertical or horizontal, and any other type of design be it circles, squares, wavy lines, or one other color of any sort. Now, when I'm at home, or wearing an official shirt at a race track my normal rules don't apply. But, if I am at work or out the black pants, single color shirt rule applies.
Now, why does this rule apply? My logic is this; if I am as bland as possible and don't stick out then who is going to comment? My goal is to remain invisible and if I look average then no one will take notice. There are days of the year that are tricky, such as what I wrote in the first month of my blog two years ago on Saint Patrick's Day. If one wears green a person will comment and if one doesn't wear green people may comment and they may also pinch. I still don't understand that one.
Today's color choice was black pants and purple shirt. I do have a system for what color of shirt I wear depending on what audience I am speaking too. Whether or not this actually makes any sense I am not sure, but today I went with purple having no idea that I would be spoken to not once, but twice!
This morning I attended the Saint Louis County Crisis Intervention Team Curriculum Committee meeting and when I got in the elevator at the building it is in the person beside me said, "I like the purple, are you wearing it for Fat Tuesday and are you partying later?" I responded with, "Party?" in a tone that stressed that the sheer concept of me and party, together, has the same chances of space monkeys from Neptune coming down and enslaving us all. The lady responded, "Yes, you know, Mardi Gras? Beads? Soulard?" I stared at her as if she was speaking a long lost language and I wanted to be anywhere but in that elevator. I mean, doesn't social protocol require people to be as still as a tree on a windless day?
I was so anxious that I couldn't give an answer as to why I was wearing purple and as soon as the door opened I was out of that elevator car in record time. Sadly, when the meeting was over, I rode the elevator down and this time there were two women in the car. Again, my color brought about a conversation, "Hey, I like the shirt? Going to party later?"
"Are you wearing it for Fat Tuesday?"
"Were you at Soulard at all?" (Soulard, I take it, is the popular party spot, I think)
The last time I said "no" I said it in a tone of sheer frustration. The entire reason I am as bland as possible is to avoid any talk whatsoever about my clothing and with a span of 90 minutes I was cornered in a confined space and was given an interrogation of sorts regarding my choice of color. This was highly unsettling because random conversations paralyze me with fear. I'm never prepared for them and I always over process and my body goes into a turtle defense of sorts as I try to figure out how to say as little as possible and get away as fast as I can. Okay, maybe "turtle defense" and "getting away as fast as possible" shouldn't be in the same sentence, but that's the way it is.
As I say in presentations, "If you see me outside this realm of public speaking you may not recognize me" and while I was driving to the office after these events I couldn't believe how true those words are. In the right environment I am able to answer unexpected questions, but if it isn't the right arena I am instantly paralyzed. Those two events today and the people that asked me the questions meant not harm, because after all it seems everyone likes to talk about clothing. However, it is these events that I struggle with and, of course, how could they have known? And, when I got a bit snooty with my tone they probably thought that I was a jerk, but it came down to trying to end the conversation out of necessity.
For the rest of the day I am hoping I can regain chameleon status and that no one else will try and deduce if I am wearing purple for Fat Tuesday. For those that will see me you now know the answer and no conversation is needed. For those that haven't seen this I apologize in advance for I will probably say, "no" in the driest, most agitated state I have ever said it before.