I dash out into the garden to water the plants. As I turn on the hose, I notice that there are puddles everywhere. I stand still and think, as stillness and thought are a good combination. I check the sky. I check my neighbours’ gardens. Deserts. The sprinklers in my garden haven’t worked for nearly four years. Could they have spontaneously come back to life? Has the sprinkler fairy visited during the night? I have no clue. I decide that to water a wet garden would not be a productive use of my time. I decide to be productive elsewhere. Do I need to examine the ‘to do’ list that is tattoed on the inside of my skull for easy reference? No. I shall tackle the biggy, the very overdue biggy.
I refuse to suffer in silence any longer. I devote myself to the new campaign, a double one, campaign that is to say. Hence forward I shall treat my slightly manky body as a temple. I shall restore sanity via underwear.
I am sick to death of my inadequate underthings. My underthings are in need of my careful attention. I attend to them. I pull out drawerfuls of underthings and begin to sort. I shall be ruthless, whilst maintaining standards of environmentalism.
I no longer wear tights or pantyhose, ever. I donate them all to the garden, because everybody knows that the tender touch of pantyhose is ideal for supporting roses. I turn to my note pad - ‘buy 123 standard roses.’ I feel better already released from the stranglehold of gussets.
Opaque becomes translucent, sheer ecstasy.
I tackle the bras, or more specifically the nursing bras because I am approximately 7 years late.
It is a strange and unfamiliar number that doesn’t even match my chronological age of 47. I could quite comfortably park my entire bottom in one cup. I wonder if I dragged out the sewing machine whether I could refashion this garment into something for my nether regions? Do I wish my nether reasons to be clad in grey cotton? Would this be an improvement? I test elasticity. It is without twang. I decide that I do not wish to wear something with the elasticity of overcooked spaghetti, especially around the vicinity of my nether regions. I debate. What part of this garment might I be able to salvage? I notice the hook and eye tabs. A veritable padlock. Is that really rust?
I give up and pull open the next draw. I remove everything that fails the elastic test. I discard every item that has more than three holes. I toss anything with loose tickly threads. I do the ‘feel’ test on everything. Anything that has pokey, scratchy or raspy bits is sacrificed to the great goddess of comfort.
I stand in my walk in closet hobbled by the quagmire of useless underthings. It is a graveyard to the mysteries of the American sizing system. They have Misses, Petite and Miss. They do not have ‘plank.’ Straight up. Straight down. No ins. No outs. I step out of the cemetery into the bathroom to clear my head. It dawns on me that I have missed one vital step in my cunning plan. I need to go to a shop that sells underthings. I need to dress prior to departure. I need some underthings to put on under my things. I am now completely thingless. How can I go shopping for things when I don’t have any?
I am alarmed to realize that I have a life long habit of skipping essential steps and being clueless.
It reminds me of the time that I first went to the hairdressers alone, because I was a mature sophisticated woman of the world at 13. At that time I wore my hair in two bunches. They resembled cow horns. I disliked the bovine connection and chose instead to twist each bunch into a bun. This was handy because it meant that I didn’t sideswipe myself when moving too fast. Now I resembled a skier with oversized ear muffs before Princes Lea was fashionable.
Yards of hair had been transformed into a neat bob. The hairdresser had no hair drier. Instead she put my head in rollers. I left, uncertain why all the staff were giggling. I was in love with the continuous coil of sausaged hair that ringed my head just above ear level.
My mother was quite clear on the matter as I recall. “What on earth have they done to you! You look like a deranged poodle without the benefit of a bow!”
Now I stand in my bathroom. I debate how debased a person must be to go shopping without underthings? I decide to pretend to be a sexy young thing, the kind of young thing that always goes shopping without underwear because it is a sexy thing to do. This is too difficult a trick to trick my brain into. I decide to have a shower. If I am really going to try and do, this then I need to ensure that I am scrupulously clean. I stand under the shower and try to imagine what clothes will feel like against my skin without the protection of underthings? I decide that I will stop imagining how itchy, scratchy and pokey they will all be, because otherwise I will have to throw out the entire contents of my wardrobe. I will be trapped in my house without a stitch to wear. I wonder what a coat feels like? I remember that I don’t have any coats any more because I live in California. I step out of the shower and I look across at the steamed up mirror where a pale, ghostly, stick insect peers back at me. My wrinkles have wrinkles, only partially due to excess showering. Real life is passing my by. Reality becomes hard to touch. I am turning into Miss Haversham, a recluse, an eccentric, a shape shifter. Soon I will live in a cobwebbed tower, a hermit without a shell or a shift.
I grab my dressing gown and skip downstairs to the kitchen. Maybe I do need a lobotomy but not whilst the laptop still maintains an internet connection. Shopping online. The solution for those with who have challenges, not technically.
N.B. ‘Knickers!’ is a mild but rude swear word. I don’t think it would work if you shout ‘underpants!’