Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pulled Under by a Pullover

There is something you need to know before I tell you my story:

I hate to shop for clothes.

If I had my way, I would wear jeans and a polo shirt to work every single day in the warm weather and jeans, a plain t-shirt, and a fleece jacket every single day in the cool weather.

So, if I find something I like, I have the tendency to buy it in more than one color. It goes along with my "I wish I had a uniform" mindset.

Two years ago, I bought three v-neck sweaters for $10 each. I then decided they were too tight, and they were relegated to a drawer. I have since lost some weight, so I pulled one out this morning, pairing it with jeans and a plain white t-shirt.


This leads us to another story-- a story that took place on Election Day, 2004. A day on which I was fervently hoping to avoid a second term with W. I was desperate to cast my vote, and so I went to my polling station before heading to work. One of the polling places nearby was experiencing technical difficulty, so my polling place was packed with unexpected voters. I am standing in line in the racquetball court of our apartment complex's clubhouse. It is hot. The line is long and not moving very quickly. I am wearing jeans and a cashmere turtleneck.

It is hot.
The line inches forward. My coat comes off; I do that floppity-floppity thing you do with your shirt to try to get air moving around your torso. It is hot.

I make it out into the cramped hallway. Just a few more people ahead of me. It is hot. Why isn't everyone else hot? Why are there so many people? Why are they all breathing in my space?

Things begin to move in unexpected ways. I take a step, but my body moves down instead of forward. I am on my knees and people are yelling. I have no idea if I black out, but I am aware of someone yelling to call an ambulance and someone else yelling that I don't need an ambulance. I am grateful that none of the yelling is being done by me. I am somehow seated on a folding chair and then I am breathing. I fuzzily fill out my paper ballot and walk into the blessed coolness of outside, shaken.

I give away that sweater and vow never, ever again to wear a turtleneck of any kind. Not if I'm skiing in Aspen (highly unlikely to begin with), not if I am nearly decapitated and have a horrific scar, not even if it has a cute applique of a puppy on the neck.

I am unaware of it, but over time my Election Day paranoia expands. I consistently choose cardigans over pullovers. I always, always wear something under a sweater so it can be removed if necessary.

So, this purchase of v-neck pullovers was a departure for me. I blame it on the after-Thanksgiving mentality, the low price, and the uniform factor.

When I put that sweater on this morning (over a white t-shirt--I'm not crazy), I was fresh from my morning shower. As I was putting on my makeup, I realized that I was hot. Was it really that hot in here? Was I going to be hot all day? Was I trapped inside that sweater? Images of falling to my knees in a crowded clubhouse full of people--some of whom may have been voting Republican--exploded in my head.

Let me be perfectly clear: We're talking about the beginning of an anxiety attack over putting on a sweater.

Those who know me think they know what happened next. They think I whipped that sweater over my head and into the drawer in one panic-filled motion. They think I thanked God I had not allowed myself to get trapped into an acrylic hell and went to work in a short-sleeved shirt.

They were wrong. I am wearing the pullover.

It's called personal growth, people.

It IS hot in here, though, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this story for the first time, and firstly - yikes! That must have been frightening and secondly, "acrylic hell." 😂