Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Commuting is an unnatural activity, perhaps even moreso here in the Land of Harmony. It should therefore come as no surprise that strange things occur when mass humanity undergoes the physical delivery of self elsewhere. As founder of the Brady Museum of Commuting Oddities, I myself have seen or participated in numerous of the escapades on exhibit at that virtual institution, but the Bright Blue Aloha Shirt stands alone in its own special corner by the Museum entrance.

Gaudy is not practiced much in Japan, in fact it is generally frowned upon, particularly among the elders. So when I of the long white ponytail and two gold earrings don my blinding blue-and-yellow flowered Aloha shirt, some might call it the acme of gaudy, but I say up theirs. I use that shirt or one of its less glaring fellows on certain days to lift my energy level like a cup of coffee does in times of other need, in the present case to offset (or at least belie) the severe F.O.G. (Fog Of Grandparenting) I was experiencing after several long days with the three GrandGirls.

It was in the early morning version of that drowsy miasma that I selected the brightest garment in the morning dimness, to get me through a long day in the big city. I pulled the technicolor article off the clothesline, put it on over my jeans and blue-and-red running shoes with the big, sun-yellow laces, and set off for work. I was the apotheosis of gaud. No way I could close my eyes too long wearing these duds; a look in the mirror was a refreshing slap in the face: Thanks, I needed that. I took the station steps two at a time I was so buzzy, my shirt seeming to catch the eyes of plodding gray-clad fellow commuters taking one step at a time. I was feeling zipped already! I had no more idea of what was really drawing their attention than do you, honored reader of these humble meanderings.

But ignorance of actuality has never stopped me before, apart from the occasional sudden brick wall, so after a shirt-displaying wait on the platform I boarded the train, where my dazzling garment also caught a few passenger eyes like a sunburst. I edged past an aisle-seated man and took the seat by the window. His eyes too followed my shirt. As I sat down, I heard an unusual snapping sound, my belt-edge catching on the seat piping or something. I had no idea. F.O.G., you understand.

When the train arrived in the big city I got off onto the crowded rush hour platform and was pleased to note that my shirt was bringing joy to many in the crowd; it IS a very refreshing shirt, in its flashy, exotic fashion. And thus I walked the usual streets to the office, noting admiring glances at my shirt along the way; next week, perhaps a few of these smiling folks would take a chance and wear their own hidden Aloha shirts.

Got to the office, shirt admirers in the lobby and all the way to my desk; sat down thereat and heard a snap and then a crunch; reached around and found bits of what had been hanging from my bright blue shirttail ever since I left the house: a bright blue plastic clothespin. My fellow morning rush-hour enthusiasts hadn't been admiring my bright blue Aloha shirt, they'd been enjoying my bright blue plastic tail!

These gaudy foreigners sure can be weird...


Pam said...

Heh. That must have been one heavy F.O.G.

Chancy said...

Oh I bet they were amused by the shirt and the tail.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh those moments! I would think, however, that you would have caught your share of attention Bob. I would have noticed the cool dude in the flashy Hawaiian shirt, long white ponytail, and gold earrings...and that dang plastic tail would have nothing to do with it.

Bob Brady said...

Thanks, Joy, you ease my anguish at the recollection.