There's something about getting new back to school clothes, getting that first day outfit in August and calling your friend the night before the first day of school to describe in detail your duds from top to bottom. When selecting my first day of school outfit, I realized how much tri training had changed my body and how much of my closet had become unwearable. Ladies, I don't need to get in to detail on how awesome that feels.
Bring on project try on, where you go through everything, wrestle with zippers, get your arms stuck in sleeves, but then tell yourself how someone else can use your clothing. Then you take note from shows like Clean Sweep or Clean House or some other show that exposes people as sloppy and tip toes around the mental illness of hoarding. I separated my clothing into items for Planet Aide, Salvation Army and a pile which I had the high hopes of selling at a used clothing store called Buffalo Exchange.
I lugged my white scented trash bags full of my beloved clothing that I couldn't pull on past my thighs or zip over my shoulders. I watched as my life was dumped out onto a cold steel table and I watched sentimental items (like a great dress I bought in Ithaca and wore to my last party there as well as to a friend's wedding) be tossed aside and called the politically correct term for "out of style"- slow sellers. Out of my four large bags of clothes, only 5 items were accepted. I walked out with $21 and a dip in my self esteem. With my tail between my legs, I help my sister separate out the work appropriate clothing for her to take to "Dress for Success", an organization that prepares homeless women for job interviews.
I began to lug the bags two doors over to donate to the Salvation Army when I'm stopped by a short, stalky man. He's donning a red tank top and tells me his arms are cold and asks me for a sweater. I offer him a sweater that no longer fits me and the following interaction occurs.
Man: Can I have a whole bag of clothes? I'm homeless.
Me: Sir, I don't think there's anything in here that would fit you. I'm donating these items because they are too small for me.
Man: They'll fit me, I'm built like a woman.
Me: Sir you are bigger than I am and--
Man: Come on, one bag, I'm homeless.
Me: I'm telling you that I don't think anything will fit me and I'm on my way to donate them. (I gesture to the shop next to me).
Man: Come on one bag.
Me: Fine (I reluctantly hand over one of the bags)
Man: Lady what's it worth to gain the whole world and lose your soul? I'm homeless.
Me: Well you got your bag.
I march furiously into the Salvation Army to donate my clothing. I am absolutely steaming about the entire interaction. I'm feeling out of style and my feelings are hurt that Buffalo Exchange didn't like my clothes. I'm worried about the clothes going to waste and completely pissed off about his little quote at the end. I'm not entirely sure how I was losing my soul while donating clothing to charity.
My sister and I drive off when she suggests I circle back to see what he's done with his prize of women's clothing. We turn the corner to see the bag shredded and my belonging strewn about the sidewalk. A little old Asian woman is holding up a pair of short white shorts, shaking her head in disgust. I pull over and my sister and I scramble to pick up my degraded items of clothes to donate. While my sister takes them inside to the Salvation Army. I decide I'm gonna find this guy and tell him something. I look around Davis Square, knowing he couldn't have gotten far. Then I spot the powder blue trucker hat and a neon pink shirt that I got for free while working the summer program. My sister is coming out of the store, and I point out my target and march over to the man wearing my tight shirt.
Me: Um excuse me? (the man turns to me)
Me: Are you kidding me? Are YOU kidding me? You follow me, guilt me into giving you clothes and then dump them all over the sidewalk?!?! You couldn't have dropped them 10 feet over at the place where I was going to take them? You're kidding me! That is so disrespectful.
(At this point I realize the audience I've gained from the people at the bus stop and at Anna's Taqueria and this fuels me, like I imagine the cast of Jersey Shore feels from knowing people tune into their tirades)
Man: I was just going to go pick them up. I'll pick them up and I'll put them in the trash.
Me: The trash??!?! When the Salvation Army is right there? That is so disrespectful, so incredibly disrespectful. You know I'm going to not want to help people who ask for it because of you, so fuck off.
I immediately turn to my sister and remark how happy I am that I did that. I don't think I can recall making such a public scene. I don't think I gained the world in this whole experience, but I'm pretty sure I didn't lose my soul.