I’m convinced that my life would have been different if I had not worn the outfit that I did on the first day of Grade 4.
Let me explain.
I had just changed schools - moved from Toronto to Aurora - and the outfit I chose, despite generally being a very beige person who was a borderline tomboy, was pink on pink. I wore a pink t-shirt, pink denim shorts and shoes that likely did not match at all. I still remember the sinking feeling of regret when I sat down at my new desk. “What the fuck am I doing?”, I thought to my 8 year old self. “And why did my parents let me leave the house looking like a flamingo?” I’ll never know.
This is actually one of my most distinct and haunting memories. I have this thing where I can never forget times when I have embarrassed myself, or that I regret something I did or said, and then these memories come flashing back and make me get embarrassed again. The way I deal with this craziness is, and I’m not kidding, by saying “STOP” out loud. Is this weird? I don’t know. Probably. Whatever.
What if I had worn a normal outfit, like blue jeans and a white t-shirt (which has been the go-to uniform of mine for many years since the pink debacle)? It’s easily one of my most crucial Sliding Doors moments. Maybe I would have been a total “cool kid” and gotten into making out and drugs at a weirdly early age and taken up cigarette smoking then gone to a party school and gotten a job at the bank in my university town and then just stayed there. Or maybe, I would have tried harder at math and science. The possibilities are endless.
My friend Maytal was talking about Sliding Doors moments this past summer. This is the concept from that movie where Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses the tube, but in an alternate reality she makes the train and her life plays out in both realities and at the end of one she (spoiler alert) dies or something. Sorry if I just ruined this movie for you.
We’ve for sure all got these moments scattered through our lives, and this Grade 4 business may actually be my first major one. I can easily list so many more, but I won’t bore you. Some of them are happy, some are really sad, others wake me up at night with stress memories. The usual.
Another thing I remember from the first day of Grade 4 is meeting Michelle. We went to the same Daycare, and after the morning session when we were walking to our classroom (I followed her to class completely uninvited, by the way) I asked her “Hey, can I be your friend?”
She said “OK”, and the rest is history. She’s been one of my best friends since that day (almost 20 years) and was the official witness at my wedding.
And so, I guess this story is sort of about how wearing the weirdest outfit I’ve ever worn* brought me to one of the most important people in my life. Funny how things work out.
*I’ve probably worn some weirder outfits (like that time I wore flood pants on the coldest day of the year and then had to wait outside in line before a Something Corporate concert), but just let me have this one.