power jam

costumes. costumes are a productivity tool.

this morning, on my way between breakfast and the bank, i saw a business man running full tilt down the street. a business man like from a children’s book: in a conservative, navy blue suit and tie, with dress shoes, holding an open umbrella upright above his head. running fast, with long steps making his trousers flap. his tie might have been over his shoulder, but that seems like an embellishment that i would add.

i used to want to organize some kind of annual soccer game where everyone would wear power suits. navy vs. brown (i.e., bankers vs. car salesmen), or white shirts vs. blue shirts. (i also like camping in skirts and mary janes, or just generally taking control of my office wear.)

but the connection that made me realize what an excellent, if obtuse, productivity tool was available to me in costumes was remembering, when i saw the business man running, how much better i like doing housework if i’m wearing a tiara and carrying a wine glass. the glass could be full of water or hot tea for all i care, but carrying it around makes dusting or scrubbing a fun time. an event.

i’m sure you understand right away, what it is like to do housework in a tiara and carrying a wine glass (or a martini glass), because i tried explaining all of this at the sara marreiros show tonight and everybody caught on right away. “you should get some of those slippers with the fluff on the front.” and the thing is, i had some and i ran them into the ground doing housework. we are all on the same page here.

i’ve been thinking about running stairs lately anyway, because it seems like a weird and efficient urban exercise option, and i think if i got a washable power suit i could really get into running. you can wear running shoes with a skirt suit, i think. that’s a classic commuter move. nylons would be best but i have to draw the line somewhere (and they look really weird with my furry legs).

a lot of self-employees and telecommuters make a point of getting properly dressed to work at home, because it gets them into productivity mode. i do that too (my key items are a bra and real pants). i’d like to figure out a home office costume that goes one level further, not just into productivity mode but into like, titan of industry mode. what is the word for one of those pillars of society who wield massive business powers yet are admired for their philanthropy and preferably also some type of artistic skill? genius? character? sarah’s imaginary friend? i want to get into like, gomez addams mode. mon sauvage!

contenders for my new work outfit.

  • a clerical cloak of some type
  • a green bookkeeping visor and crisp shirt
  • power suit
  • my old default: the tiara and the wine glass
  • sassy underwear (possibly combined with the clerical cloak?)
  • dresses with hosiery and jewellery. and footwear.
  • cleanroom spacesuit.
  • specialized garment, like a lab coat or a utility belt
  • monochrome outfit of any kind

i think part of what is holding me back from my ultimate productivity-sauvage costume is that all the glamorous titans of yore were dudes, and the lady workers did not have cool 3-piece suits that suggest timeless power. this is an unforeseen feminist battleground.

High holidays

Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday, balanced by Thanksgiving and New Year. I was up late at a pretty dull party, and up early for a long, slow breakfast with a lumbering behemoth of a group (my cousin’s bicycle activist tour coworkers), and now I am too tired to make witty paragraphs. It’s a list format day.

Highlights from my adventures as Bride of Frankenstein:

  • So that’s how you use Tupperware to build tall hairstyles…
  • Galen’s great-aunt: “So dear, you’re a ‘goth,’ aren’t you?”
  • More great-aunt: “How did you get your hair so tall?” (Making me feel suddenly awkward because her everyday hairstyle is a beehive variant and I wasn’t sure whether she thought mine was ridiculous or not.)
  • Dragging the hem of my white dress in puddles and mud on purpose, because it was only a bedsheet.
  • Still having gray streaks in my temples at breakfast today, and getting to talk to our waiter about it. He still had metallic green fingernails from a Satan costume. We said one sentence each, I think, but I liked it. He was a good waiter. I might have had a 5-minute crush on him.

And of this Hallowe’en in general:

  • Mistaking Rebecca for a couch twice, instead of recognizing the back of her California Raisin get-up.
  • Walking around having serious conversations about work and responsibility and taking charge, and being taken by the snippets that passing pedestrians must have heard coming out of that Raisin, with her huge aqua-rimmed sunglasses.
  • The whole city smelled like brussel sprouts. Probably from fireworks? Hopefully from some anti-loitering stink-bomb we imagined the city bureaucrats setting off.
  • So many fireworks going off. I love the spectacle, but this year I was actually moved by the way pretend-bombs emphasize the absurdly peaceful and neighbourhoodly place I live. (Bang!… no flinching. “I’m sure that’s fine.”)

The whole reason I like Halloween is for the costumes. I can’t come up with a reason that costumes are important or worth a holiday, but I stand by Halloween. New Year’s I like for the cyclical celebration, and Thanksgiving because gratitude is one of the few things I practice in what could be considered a spiritual way. That one actually is important. But the costumes!