Thursday, 21 September 2006

Take a walk on the wild side

Objective: Test my readiness for going back to work tomorrow.
Plan: Go to the nearby newsagent, get today's Age, and walk for 10 minutes or so to the nearby park. After reading the letters, opinions and movie review sections, I was to head back home.
I wanted to make it as similar to going to work as possible, even though work involves significantly more walking than what this simulation involved. So I wore one of my cargo pants instead of the now regular track suit (it was clear, though, that tucking my shirt inside my pants was out of the question) and left for the newsagent - about 150 meters away.
Alas, less than 50 meters out of the door I realized that just cannot work. The pressure applied through my pants on my lower abdomen was too much to bear.
I managed to get the paper but altered the agenda: I trotted softly and slowly home instead of the park, where I replaced the cargo pants with the pants I would actually wear to work tomorrow, and then set my headings to the park.
This time around it wasn't exactly a pleasure ride either, but it was bearable. Again, tucking the shirt in my pants was a definite no-no, but I did manage to enjoy the sunshine and the overall excellent weather for a walk (circa 20 degrees).
I got to the park, found myself a nice bench to take control of, and started the eternal struggle with The Age - the paper whose pages are as big as a skyscraper and whose pages are often used as sails for yachts taking part in the America's Cup. Since it's school holidays at the moment, I was also able to observe lots of children in action in between reading people's opinions: there were children congregating under a tree, obviously plotting some evil childish plan to take over the world; children taking rides on ponies; and children playing around while generating lots of noise. There was even a builder around whose car stereo, that was set to "way too loud", was playing a Led Zeppelin CD - two points for the excellent taste in music.
All was fine and dandy until the time came to get up and walk back home. Suddenly, things were far from their cheerful status just a minute or two ago; I felt like I was wearing the cargo pants again.
The walk back home must have been my slowest walk ever. I took steps the size I would have taken when I was 5 years old. I held my pants pushing the critical areas away from my body to avoid the irritation while keeping constant surveillance around me so that no one would ask to arrest me for acting like a pervert. And the first thing I did upon reaching home was to take my pants off and breathe a deep sigh of relief.
Conclusion: I don't know whether I will go to work tomorrow or not yet (my father's comment, made yesterday when discussing the same issue, was: "why suffer?"). But I just can't help thinking how stupid it is to know that it is mainly business clothing that prevents me from going back to work now. Give me a track suit and let me wear my shirt un-tucked and I would be fine; but nobody does it here and I would feel like I don't know what if I did.
So there you have it: my up to date opinion on conservative clothing at the workplace and its benefits. Not that it changed much today; if anything, I just became more extreme in my views.


ek said...

Although I am defintitely not laughing at your situation but this line made me laugh:
"... keeping constant surveillance around me so that no one would ask to arrest me for acting like a pervert"

I could picture the scenario in my mind! I'm glad you got home in one piece though. I'd definitely say- stay home today! I agree with your father, why suffer???

On the topic of The Age, I was actually complaining to my colleaguer yesterday about the size of the paper when fully open. Ridiculous. Perhaps there is a department I can visit here on one of the floors...I could put in a change request for "paper dimensions".

Moshe Reuveni said...

Well, I ended up following my father's advice and I'm staying at home today.
With regards to The Age's size: when we were in the UK exactly a year ago, The Guardian - a newspaper that is very much like The Age (only better in most respects) has changed from an Age like format to a smaller page size (ala Herald Sun).
It was funny: one day I bought it and it was large sail size, the other it was small, nice and readable.
They said they decided to have this change despite the image issues of becoming similar to the cheaper and shittier papers; I have to say I think they did the right thing. The people this paper appeals to should not be the type that's discouraged just because of the paper size's image.
When we came back to Australia I actually sent The Age an email asking them to copy their British counterparts, but I never heard anything back. From time to time they do publish someone's letter complaining about the size.

Anyway, to summarize:
the biggest problems with The Age is that you can't take it with you to the toilets (other than the friendly Green Guide) or read it on the train without knocking a few people over every time you flip the page.