I have red ones and blue ones, some have stripes and patterns. Some were very expensive to buy, others not so much. A few have spots where I spilled coffee or soda on them, most are made of sheeny silk and glisten in the light. They sit and they wait for me to pull them off the shelf.
Close to ten years ago, the company where I work instituted a new dress policy, moving from formal business attire (i.e., suit and tie) to a more lax business casual policy. With one swift move, my wardrobe changed overnight.
A casual relationship
When the change came down, I didn’t need much convincing. I moved on from the suits pretty quickly. I liked to dress up in a suit and I still occasionally wear one for weddings, funerals and formal events. I like the way I look in a one, but I normally can’t wait, within a few minutes, to change out of what what I respectfully call “my monkey suit.”
My suits became my own kind of uniform. I have horrible style, but thanks to my wife, I started to develop habits and came to learn what went well together and what didn’t. In any event, I was ready to throw my suits out or give them to charity and start anew.
The ties that bind
The collection of ties in my closet though have been the problem. They mock me from the back of the small, cramped closet. They sit and stare back waiting to be used.
In the years since, I haven’t had it in me to get rid of them. I have more than 100 of them and they stare back at me every morning. They beg to be taken off the shelf. But still they sit.
A red power tie that I always loved wearing because of how the red pops in the light challenges me to give it a try, to wear it and take charge of every meeting I attend.
An old Winnie the Pooh tie that my daughter bought me one Christmas peaks out from behind the stack, hoping that I pick it. I can almost hear Pooh say: “Sometimes Piglet the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
I pick up still another tie, an odd black and brown patterned one that has most definitely seen better days. I hold the tie for a second and think about putting it on simply because I remember wearing it oh so many years ago when my kids held tightly to my legs when I came in the door and begged to get in a pillow fight or some other made-up game that we created.
Forget me not
My ties pull at my heart strings, but, even when I do pull one down like I did recently for a wedding, I couldn’t remember how to tie the damn thing. I stamped and fumed in front of the bedroom mirror. Thank goodness for Youtube videos to walk me through the process of tying a tie until rote memory took over or I would’ve looked more like a clown than a friend of the bridge and groom.
But like I mentioned, rote memory kicked I and my crisis was averted. My wife though could’t help but laugh at my plight.
Oh I’ve threatened to throw them out or even better yet, give them to a charity that helps provide interview attire for needy people trying to get a job, but I find one reason or another to save them:
–I’ll need them for my next job.
–I serve as lector at my church and need to look nice.
–My son might need one for some event.
My responses are pitiful. I can’t argue it. I need to keep a couple of ties, I don’t need 100. My logic makes no sense, but still I worry. The time has come though. I’m determined to act. I’ve given myself a deadline of getting them out of the house by the weekend.
I’m breaking the chains — in this case, the ties — that bind me. So long ties!