Sometimes I find Friday’s casual day a stress. I find normal weekdays easier — any idiot can look half-decent in an expensive suit.
(Have I told you about my suit? It’s really nice. It was pricey though. It’s so expensive that it doesn’t have a pocket for small change. The makers must have presumed it would be worn by kings and presidents, who never have to carry money.)
I thought I had it figured out: that right balance of casual dress without looking slobby. But this day last week, I had a meeting with people I didn’t know, which complicated things further. I thought something a little more formal was required.
I should have just grabbed my work gear but left the tie behind. Or done my usual Friday thing and worn my nice stripey (horizontal) top with jeans and sneakers.
I looked in the mirror. Hmmmmmm. Shoes not really working.
Let’s just throw in a looming deadline, too. The 8:06 and 8:17 express trains are ideal. They stop only three times before reaching the city. If I miss the 8:17, the next is the 8:31, stopping all stations, which reaches the city 21 minutes after the 8:17 does. So I was keen to save those 21 minutes, and get the 8:17, particularly since I knew I had to nip out of work for something else during the day.
I switched the black shoes to the (shudder) old brown shoes. Then, at 8:06 (the station is ten minutes’ walk away), I grabbed my Myer’s bag full of stuff (which is used to avoid having to carry a briefcase home on Friday nights) and headed out the door to catch the 8:17.
I waltzed off down the street. But something was troubling me. I looked down. Ooh. These trousers just weren’t working. They must have looked better on the rack. Maybe they should be worn with the Birkenstocks, lazing about the house or something. But not with Real Shoes.
In my mind I could hear Wallace, frantically calling: “It’s the wrong trousers! The wrong trousers! Stop them, Gromit!”
A U-turn back down the street, into the house. Found my black-blue jeans. On. Bolted out of the house. I glanced at the time. 8:11.
I sprinted down the road and just made the 8:17 (a minute or two late). Out of breath, sweating, but made it.
The train quickly spirited me to Parliament, as I read my newspaper and pondered if any of my neighbours had seen me depart the house twice in the space of five minutes, wearing different pants.
Off the train, I walked down Collins Street to work, rather self-consciously wondering how I was looking, in my jeans, old brown shoes and the Party Shirt sticking out. I’ve been told by She Who Knows that such a shirt must never, ever be tucked-in. The problem is the Party Shirt is kind of big and long and billowy. When I’m walking it looks a bit like a pregnant lady’s shirt. I’m probably better suited to a shorter, slimmer shirt.
I looked at my fellow CBD-dwellers, at least those who were male, between 20 and 50 and wearing casual clothes. He’s got cotton pants. They look okay. He’s got old brown shoes too. Oh dear, maybe not so good. Damn, look at him, he’s got sneakers. That could have worked. Oh, him — he looks fine. Sticking out slim shirt. Sneakers. Hey, he has a Myer bag with his stuff in it too!
Today, I’ll try and do better.
(Edited to clarify this describes last week.)