September 5, 1997


“Style” is my middle name--or so I would like to think. I am pretty good at telling what goes with what. Now my children may not agree since my choices of clothing seem to bring them endless amusement.

I thought about them the other morning when I was getting dressed for my daily, walk, run, crawl or whatever it happened to be that day. The T-shirt I had chosen really clashed with my running shorts. So what! Who cares! Who is going to see me at this time of day? None of the neighbors know me anyway!

Well, I care. I have been taught to care. I have been taught that how I look to others matters. I have also been taught that how I look does not matter to me. I cannot figure out that one. All that I know is that I judge others by what they wear, so they must be doing the same to me. And I want to be loved, so I changed my T-shirt.

My abilities related to style are not limited to clothing. I am also an expert on flower color, although I did not know this until recently. My wife and I were moving around a pot of flowers near our front door, trying to find just the right spot for it. This is not a pot which I particularly like. It contains about seven different varieties with seven different colors of blossoms. And even I know that orange, yellow, red and various shades of purple do not go together. I think it is the orange. Orange really goes with...well, orange. It just looks out of place in this big pot with a frenzy of blossoms. It looks so...uncontrolled and unplanned. But of course, I did not plant it and, amazingly, I had not been consulted.

But now was my chance! I was being consulted about the best rearrangement of several pots, one of which contains those orange flowers! We agreed on the final location and I remarked that the big bouquet clashed with the purple hanging plant in the background. My wife simply replied, “All flowers go together.”

“All flowers go together.” My God, she is right! Since flowers are among the most beautiful of the natural wonders on earth, of course they would go together. To think otherwise would be sacreligious. My mind has seen the glory.

In addition, my mind has seen the utilitarian nature of such a view and the value of its possible expansion. If all flowers go together, then would not all T-shirts and shorts go together? Would not all socks go together? What about fabrics in the living room? Do curtains really have to match?

I do not mean to make light of my wife’s statement. I truly believe that she is correct. And it has lifted from me a certain need for coordination and order. I am ready to break out of some of the old molds. But I am not sure that my neighbors are ready for my morning perambulations.

No comments: