Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I am changing

One of the first things you see in my bedroom is a line of footwear. There are a few pairs of discarded shoes—replaced but not worn out enough to be thrown away. My water shoes lie beside my trainers. I have two pairs of Rockports—one for formal occasions and one for more casual events. My every day boots are a pair of Danner akadias. These are so well worn that the heals are ground down at an angle and the tread is almost gone in some places. The Rockford umbwes, my business casual choice, show a little bit of wear on the toes but are in otherwise excellent condition. The dress boots haven’t left the bedroom since I gave them their inaugural coat of mink oil. I spend most of my life in the Danners with occasional diversions to the UMBWEs. That’s how my life breaks down. I spend most of my life dressed for casual tactical. Once a year I may have to put on the suit and tie with the dress boots.

I’m not altogether comfortable with this division. When I started working for the bank life was spent in a suit and tie. I worked so much overtime that casual didn’t happen much. Then the dress code changed and the only difference between work and the out of doors was whether I wore a polo or T. Now everything is mixed up.

I have this default idea of what I look like. It use to be a well dressed business professional who slummed it on the weekends. Now I wear combat boots to work. I have a utility belt. I carry my lunch in a maxpedition versapack loaded with

EDC gear. I wanted to be James Bond, Paladin, and the well dressed man of action. This practical tactical thing doesn’t match up

I have a good life. It’s just not what I expected. I pictured myself in the tux not the Carhartt. I came to this realization last week when I was waiting to get fingerprinted for my HQL—more on that in another post. I sat down with the range owner and was negotiating the sale of a couple of my colt revolvers. It is my practice to try and trade instead of selling on consignment. I don’t like all the paperwork, the waiting, getting the money—it’s simpler for everyone to work out a deal and shake on it. I told him what I had. He gave me a number. I looked in his case and said why don’t we trade for this nice new S&W Governor? I’ve been looking at the governor for a while as a compromise survival/recreational revolver. It was an easy pick. What surprised me was how utilitarian my tastes have become. Sure, I want to fix everything up and make it pretty. There was a time when I wanted antique pieces as much for the cache of the brand as their utility. There are a few, like my Colt gold Cup, that fall in that category. But most of what I own and what I want to get are quality tools.

Society tells us to be ourselves. I’m not sure what that means. Who am I? I know who I want to be. I know how I want to be perceived. My experience has been that people judge you by your clothes, your gear, and your personal choices. People make assumptions about what kind of person you are your interests, your beliefs based on seemingly trivial details. In this case I’m changing. It’s not bad, it’s just different and I’m not sure what to think of that.

To be fair, I’ve always looked a little askance at the weekend warrior wanabes. I like military gear because it’s durable—and I need that. I like my shades because it was cheaper to buy a pair that could double as range glasses and sunglasses. I like boots, so I got the most comfortable and durable all-weather pair I could find. I guess you never outgrow the high school desire to be accepted or the teenage fear of being viewed as the poser.

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