When I was young enough not to know any better, I took a job as an administrative assistant for an ice cream company. (One would think that this would be my dream job. One would be wrong. I'm neither cut out for office work/politics nor strong enough to handle the temptation of ice cream available at all hours at work.)
One of my fellow office assistants was quite the clothes horse, which meant she was quite irritated at having to wear our office uniform of khaki pants with a polo shirt with the company's logo stitched over the breast pocket. She mentioned to me once that she still had socks and a couple of shirts from middle school, plus pretty much everything from high school. (She was in her late twenties at the time.) She detailed the work she went into to keep her duds looking new and fresh year after year.
I felt both a pang of remorse and a sense of inadequacy while she talked. I certainly didn't make sure to wash everything in cold water and then air dry it all to make sure that it did not become threadbare. My clothes barely survived a couple of years under my care. I wondered for weeks if I should be taking better care of my clothes.
One day, my co-worker gave me a ride home, and I saw that the interior of her car was littered with loose CDs. "Just shove those out of the way," she said, gesturing to the layer of un-jewel-cased music on the passenger side floor. As I "shoved," I noticed that each disc appeared to have at least one scratch.
That was when I realized that each indivdual has differing priorities on which possessions to take care of. I was horrified to see how carelessly my co-worker was treating her CDs, just as she couldn't believe that I threw everything I owned into a hot washer and a dryer on laundry day.
Seeing her cavalier attitude regarding her technology made me feel a little smug.
Fashion styles will come and go:
but your music files will last forever.
(My co-worker was only a few years older than me, but I believe she was old enough to remember vinyl records and would have recognized the folly of that particular assumption of mine.)
In any case, after that CD-scratching/eye-opening moment, I never looked back regarding my (lack of) clothing care. I was the type of person who took care of media, and clothes could go hang themselves. (See what I did there?)
Now, unfortunately, I have a young man in the house who does not regard technology with quite the careful eye that I do. We're currently out three Pixar movies, and I'm wondering where I'll have to hide the replacements to keep them in pristine condition. (Considering the fact that LO often takes the disc out of the DVD player in order to practice putting it back in again, we're also going to have to find a safer place for the player.)
What really worries me, however, is how gently LO brushes dirt and applesauce off his clothing. It's entirely possible that a tech-saver has given birth to a clothes-saver.
Oh, the humanity!