It’ll only take a minute

I CAN’T go to work. I don’t have a thing to wear.

No, I am not a cross-dresser. I genuinely don’t have a thing to wear. Not to an office anyway.

If I worked in a garage, or I was a painter (of pictures or houses — it wouldn’t matter) I could provide an extensive wardrobe of work clothes; but a pair of conservative trousers with creases (down the front), a zip that works, no rips, no paint, no grease and no stains is beyond my capabilities.

Yesterday was different. Yesterday I had a pair of grey trousers that the chairman of News Limited would have been proud of.

But the gas ran out.

“Better change your trousers,” said my wife.

“They’ll be fine. I’m only changing a gas cylinder.”

And they were fine. It was easy. It was on the way back from the shed, in the dark, that I forgot the step and tripped down it. There was no blood on the trousers, because my knee bled in exactly the same place that I ripped them. Most of the blood was on my handkerchief.

“We’ll put the trousers in with the work clothes, shall we,” smiled my wife. Thinly.

“I’ll have to wear the blue ones tomorrow. Come to think of it… where are the blue ones?”

“In with the work clothes. You sprayed the scratch on the car with touch-up paint last week. It was only going to take a second.”

“Ah… and the black ones?”

“Checking the engine oil.”

I handed her the blood-soaked handkerchief. “I don’t suppose you’ve got a clean handkerchief…?”

“Actually no.” Her pupils were little black dots. “I have a box full of paint rags, grease rags, glue rags and garden rags.

“They used to be handkerchiefs, but there is not one piece of material in the entire house that is fit for the name handkerchief because some cretin can’t be bothered to go to the rag box and take out a real rag!” she screamed.

Unreasonably, I thought.

“But if I had to change every time I did a little job for you I’d spend my whole life in a boiler suit,” I stormed back. “I don’t intend tripping down the step, or spilling the glue, or holding the spray can the wrong way round!”

“And what about the handkerchiefs! You’ll be telling me next you don’t mean to take them out of your pocket and wipe your filthy hands on them after you’ve changed the tyre, or spilled the varnish!”

“THAT’S… different.”

“No­! It! Is! Not! If you were an astronaut floating in space you’d come back to earth in a spacesuit covered in paint and glue and grease and rips. You’d be dead of course, because of the rips, but it’ll be your own fault.

“Because you never, never, ever get changed before you do anything messy!”



So I can’t go to work. I have nothing to wear.

I’m going to stay home instead, and fix stuff.

And at last, finally, I won’t have to change.

Because there’s nothing to change into. My best clothes are the same as my work clothes.

Indeed… my best clothes are my work clothes.

And there’s no one around to tell me I look like a failed astronaut; now that I’m living on my own…