Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Coat + 20

I've told this story here once before, but considering it's the 20th anniversary of the purchase, I'll tell it again.

At this time 20 years ago, I was "between jobs."  If you've ever been there, and I hope you never are, it's not fun.  You worry about everything-- especially money.  Even though I've always been a saver, I had no major expenses, and the government provides a safety net, I was still frightened.

You do have to live, and I allowed myself one minor extravagance a week.  Most of the time, it was an afternoon movie and a big soda.  Some weeks, I'd go for a long drive.  There were times I'd walk around the mall.  I'd confine my purchases to a soft pretzel and a soda.  I just liked looking at stuff and people watching.  Plus, I had to get out for a while.

I don't remember how I wound up at Burlington Coat in Eynon one day in January of 1997, but I did and I saw a winter coat I liked.  It wasn't expensive, and I didn't buy it.  Several days had passed, and I started thinking about the coat.  I went back to see if it was still there.  It was, and I bought it.

Part of me felt guilty for buying something I really didn't need, but after getting beat up for a while at the old job, and then the early days of unemployment, I felt a small need to be nice to myself.

I still wear the coat many times every winter, and I'm wearing it in the photo above, taken Thursday morning.  The coat and I went back to Burlington for a visit.  No, I didn't buy anything else last week.  Burlington used to have a kick butt tie selection.  It looked like the store needs to replenish stock after Christmas, in many departments.  There were vast spaces of emptiness.

The moral of the story:  no matter how miserable things might be at the moment, there are times you have to stop and be kind to yourself.  Don't do anything silly.  Don't do anything stupid.  A winter coat was a decent investment, and I still have it.

If you know someone who is unemployed, be kind, be patient, be understanding and be supportive.

I eventually found a new job, and then a better job when that one ended.

I was lucky.  I found a good coat and a great way to make a living.