Deb: I love new things. If this is coming as a surprise to you then ... WELCOME to the Middle Ages Blog! You must be new! I love love love new things. I love it when they are new, when they still have their tags on, unworn and full of promise. I love the first time I put something new on, fresh from its closet house, ready to strut its stuff. It’s always exciting for a new outfit as it steps out into the world, waiting with bated breath for admiring glances, compliments, and the ultimate kudos for new hopeful ensembles: the coveted, “Where did you get that outfit?”
So it got me to thinking as I packed for our trip to the Yukon how odd it is that there are some things I do not like new. I seem to be attached to the strangest oldest things in my life and I cannot make sense of it. Examples include my little make-up bags with the Dick and Jane characters fabric and the Doc Marten shoes with the leopard print I bought ten years ago.
The other day I was hanging up my housecoat when it came out of the laundry and noticed a small tear in the shoulder. It can be easily fixed I thought, but it got me to pondering the length of time I have had my bathrobe. I surmised that it must be upwards to eighteen years. Honestly, eighteen years. Am I too lazy to go shopping for a new one? Hardly! I love to go shopping for ... anything! So what is it, thought I? Well, it’s because I am attached to it emotionally. Attached to it like it were a person or an animal or ... a bathrobe, which it is! It’s like a friend, my bathrobe. It is all baby blue chenille with white stars and a yellow crescent moon on it. It is an inanimate object. And it is my friend. My intimate friend.
My housecoat is my go-to for comfort. I think many women feel this way. When I have had a long hard day or even when the light leaves early in the winter months and I come through the door, my welcome and my comfort always comes from my boys, my dogs, and my bathrobe. At this point I might be inclined to say, “Not necessarily in that order,” but I won’t!
My bathrobe and I have been through many colds and flus together, many tears and sadness together, and numerous Buffy the Vampire Slayers and Doris Day movies, which my bathrobe loves! We have cooked breakfast and collected the newspaper together, taken out garbage cans and recyclers, and picked up dog poo. Housecoat is part of my unglamorous life, my real life. It knows all my intimate details and that’s why I love it. We fit, the two of us, all sloppy and oversized, into the coziest part of my existence. We understand each other and never judge. If my teeth are unbrushed or housecoat has dried egg on its sleeve, we are still good. We are solid. No need for explanations. We are still as attracted to each other as we were on the first day we met, fresh faced and fresh price-tagged.
And I know there will come a day when it becomes threadbare and we will have to part. The fact that the day has not come before this is shocking and sweet. Housecoat hangs in there because it knows that I depend on it. And when the day dawns when it cannot take another mending, I will gently cut the moon and one star out of its faithful self and sew it into a small pillow full of lavender to keep.
And then I will go on the only shopping trip of my life I don’t look forward to.
Barbara: I know Housecoat!! I don’t know why I feel so proud to be able to say this, but I do—I know Housecoat and I love her. She IS cozy and sweet. And utterly Deb. (And I can also confirm from personal experience that Deb really truly does normally like things new—in fact, I have been the happy recipient of a few hand-me-downs … that still have their price-tags on…) But as I was reading this adorable post, I was already racking my brain for my own story of Housecoat. I even started to write my corresponding sentence, “I too have my old…” and then couldn’t think of one damn thing. Not to say that lots of my stuff isn’t old, but that I don’t hold onto it because it means a lot to me. I’m always surprised to realize how relatively un-nostalgic I am. I kinda feel like I ought to be—not by “judgment” standards, but by the way connection is, in other cases, sooo important to me. So today I will live vicariously through you, Deb. Because it sounds awfully lovely.