Let’s Never Get Dressed

Sometimes when a person fails to get dressed it’s because they’re having too much fun.

Sometimes it’s because they’re not having enough.

And SOMETIMES it’s because they got too big and the clothes don’t fit ha ha.

When I fail to get dressed it’s because who gets dressed before the bath or shower? Plus both bath AND shower take so long and wreck your hair to boot, if the bath is really hot the way it needs to be.  After either one this is how my hair looks: like the hair of this chick above. That’s Alice in Wonderland’s hair in the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. All bumpy with raggedy frizz in other words.

My hair used to look like this: like the hair of a little clown-in-training. This is me at age five:

Showers will do this to your hair if it’s curly to begin with. Plus it’s so much work to police the whole body, scrub brush in hand. I mean I look down at my feet and they’re so  far away, you know? Alice noticed this too when she was down in the rabbit hole and had drunk the magic elixir that made her so Jefferson Airplane-style huge. Her feet seemed to her so far away she said she thought she’d have to mail them their Christmas presents each year.

Yep all this care of the body is time-taking all right. Yet what feels nicer than the hot shower? What feels nicer than the scalding bath when you turn lobster-red and you get so tenderized you don’t even HAVE to shave your legs? Those tiny hairs just kind of levitate right up off your skin.

I bathe or shower every day of course I do, but then there’s all that moisturizing. One cream for the face, another for the legs and arms, a third for the soles of the feet so they don’t start feeling like owls’ talons… It’s work, like I say.

That’s why I barely got dressed on the other day. It’s why I barely got dressed that day last week . The rain really pelted down that day and really my work was right here in the house. Who needed clothes? I wrote all day long; I just never got dressed. Which was embarrassing when the doorbell rang at 2:00. I peeked out the window of my study here to see who it was: the florist. I quick grabbed a couple of bucks and hurried down to tip the man who was delivered this amazing gorgeous orchid plant coming as it did from a loving neighbor.

“Sorry I’m not dressed,” I said to the guy. “We had this death …”

It didn’t count as news to him, meaning HE  didn’t care about me and my recent death. He just gave me the old FTD smile.

It counted as news to me however. I knew down deep that I was having trouble getting dressed because I am sad. Because my close friend and constant companion rose from his nap on April 4th and met death four hours later, he was felled as if by an axe in his bathroom and I just miss him so much.

Apologies for the shift in tone here. I’m Irish, and that’s how the Irish are. One minute we’re laughing our heads off at the kitchen table and the next we’re all sobbing into the dishtowels.

But that’s not the lesson for the day if there even is such a thing here at Exit Only whose title means that you can get off this old highway, sure you can, but once you do you can’t get back on again.  The lesson is, Dress or don’t dress but whatever happens let your life brush up against another human life. Doing it helps you blurt your truth, which might remain hidden even to you otherwise.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Never Get Dressed

  1. While reading this realized why I have always been drawn to your writing. We must have some of the same DNA; except you have such a wonderful way of expressing it in print. Often your words are like giving me a hug; especially after a few of these cool, damp days we have had lately.

    Enough said. Just know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as this is being sent. May God find a special way to brighten up your day.

    1. We met only once that time I gave a talk at your library but I too feel you every day, and think of the work you do (with the imprisoned, with the forgotten.) Feels to me like I’m the lucky one to have you on the other end of the ‘line’y!

  2. Crying into dishtowels and conversely laughing our heads off at the kitchen table are what life is about. Your post reminded me that I need a day when I don’t get dressed. Life! Your writing always touches me. Thank you.

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