I have been wearing several items of clothing for far too long...specifically, a men's large gray t-shirt and a men's large gray hoodie. I'm not sure where they originated. It feels as though I've always had them. They have been the comfort food of clothing. Where other pieces of my wardrobe have come and gone, these two have become staples.
The hoodie keeps me snuggly and warm during the winter days and nights. It is fleece lined, cozy and yet is thin enough to allow a coat to be tossed over it. I leave it on underneath my parka for a more formal appearance as is expected when going out in public, grocery shopping, for walks and the like. It gives me the perfect "Walmart shopper" look. The t-shirt is a world traveller. It has accompanied me on many excursions and has passed for a workout top, a nightie, a bathing suit cover and well, just a basic muumuu to hide the body. It has in line skated, rock climbed, kayaked and slept on the high seas.
I don't know what it is about the colour gray. Gray is distinguished. Gray is warm. Gray is intelligent and mature. Gray is sporty. Gray is in fact the most popular car colour. Oh, I know that there are people who actually believe that their car is "cinerescent silver", "argentine ash" or "shadowy shellfish". But if they're being honest, it's just another shade of gray. Gray is a descriptive colour. On the other hand, I don't suppose that saying "Every cloud has a gray lining" would sound quite as pretentious or poetic as "Every cloud has a silver lining."
When the zipper on my favourite gray hoodie broke, I decided it was time for a change. I went shopping and came back with not one, but three new hoodies. I had blue, black and brown. Made sense to me. Those colours should match almost everything in my closet. I could alternate and all would last for quite a few years. I picked up my old gray hoodie, turned it over a few times and decided I just wasn't ready to part with it. Three new hoodies now sit idle in my closet.
Last year, I went on a cruise to Alaska where I found the ultimate bargain. It was a gray t-shirt with "Hoonah" emblazened across the chest. I made a decision. For only $2 I would replace the old gray shirt with this brand new version. Besides, this one was a better fit since I am in fact only a medium man. I got home, took out my tattered tee, then put it back in its drawer. Finally, after six more months of wear, I made a bold decision. Upon removing my favourite t-shirt from the washer and noting that it had not one but many holes, oil type stains and runs, I walked ever so slowly toward the rag bin. I looked at the shirt, thought about what it represented and enjoyed the flood of recollections it brought me. Then I knew what I had to do. With a tear in my eye, I got some scissors, made a snip and shredded it before changing my mind. I then gingerly deposited the remains of my old friend into the container with the rest of the ragged memories.
So here I sit, in my nubbed gray fleece hoodie with the broken zipper, pondering its future and thinking about the phrase from Andrew Gide, "The colour of truth is gray". The truth is, I am not ready to part with another comforting friend in the same year.