Today I wore my favorite striped dress shirt, spring sport coat and Kenneth Cole lace-ups for two reasons.
First, I was participating in a demo of MTV’s new broadband project for a bunch or label execs and I wanted to look the part. And secondly, because I was having dinner with two old friends from high school and I wanted to look the part.
The ridiculousness of the latter is not lost upon me. These two women have known me since I was twelve-years-old. They’ve seen me in every incarnation: Izod-clad preppy, tie-dyed hippie, and now, urban yuppy.
Heather and I ran for student council together freshman year. What we wore, who we purported to be, was part of our campaign. I was committed to a family vacation the day we were supposed to give our big speech, and so, with MTV in its infancy and Power Point presentations nary a twinkle in Bill Gates eye, we crafted a multi-media slide show. In the presentation, accompanied by a tape-recorded speech and backed by The Beach Boys’ “Be True To Your School,” we smiled from behind the slide projector’s light in our soccer uniforms, our Sunday Best, our sunglasses, and our Top Siders. (We won.)
As humiliating as that photographic record might be, there is worse.
“I have a photo of you and Jon naked in a canoe,” Jennifer said. “And remember when you were dancing naked to ‘Shiny Happy People’? I have those too.”
So much for public office.
“Remember when you broke the banister at Senior Week?” Heather asked. I flashed back to me with a pony tail, OPs and Chuck Taylor’s.
“Listen, I did a lot of drugs back then, but how could I forget?”
“You went and hid down by under the pier with your guitar!”
“I remember it well.”
They asked me about this ex and that, about my mom and my brother and Ethan, about The MTV (“How long have you been there now? Wow!”). They asked me how I’m doing with very little context to why I might answer one way or another.
“I’m ok,” I answered. “I’m good.”
I slid them into a cab, and sent them back to the East Side. Walking towards home, I looked down at my dress shoes, and remembered why I’d worn them in the first (and second) place. Then it occurred to me that they’d probably love me no matter what shoes I wear. It’s all me. And they’ve seen it all before.