Saturday, September 10, 2011

free clothes and new friends

Around the corner from my big, old house there is a great little cafe. The owners are a couple, lovely and in love. He is or was an actor too, with a face I remembered from ('Neighbours?' - 'Home and Away.' - 'Were you an evil tradie?'- 'An evil mechanic.') She teaches drama on the side and makes a mean haloumi melt. 

A few weeks ago, inspired by the unfurling Spring, I did a big wardrobe cleanout. Out went clothes I kind of liked but never chose to wear. Out went the clothes I really did like but that didn't fit anymore. Especially out went anything stained, holey, or laced with that intangible not-rightness every time I put it on (you know what I mean? In theory, it's a cotton fox. In practice, when your head and arms go through, you don't even have to look at your reflection to know it's ALL. WRONG.)

So, okay. I had three bags full of clothes. I was too lazy to ebay so decided to take them to the Salvation Army bin down the road. First of all, though, I needed a coffee. Heck, when don't I need a coffee is the response to that statement. Cue a lazy stroll around the corner, up the street, slow dash across the two-lane road. Lolling against the wooden counter, probably wearing some end-of-winter inapprops costume like short shorts with a thick jumper, and they ask what I've been up to. I share my the account of my spring-clean freaker purge with them and she smiles. 'I bet you got rid of some good stuff.' I grin back. 

Offhandedly, she goes, 'so... what are you going to do with them? Market stall?' Got my skim flat white in hand by this point and I tell her I can't be bothered, I think I'll just donate all of it. She pauses, smiles, looks at me then away. Sam, her boyf, interjects with a laugh, joking to me that she's about to ask which charity bin so she can go there. We all laugh and my Saturday sedate mind finally clicks- 'hey, why don't I bring some stuff in and you can see if you'd like any of it?'

Which is how, the next day, I walked over with a selection of the clothes that I thought she'd like. She promised to do a wardrobe purge too and bring some in to the cafe to swap back. 
Today I went in (my feet beat a path to this place as if externally programmed, I tell you. They do things with haloumi cheese you've never even DREAMED of) and Angela had a big box for me. I got home and... alors. Tsubi jeans, reader. Vintage tee-shirts. Soft-as-flannel-flowers plaid. The best thing was, I didn't expect anything in return when I took my clothes over- I seriously just wanted to give away some things that had been precious to me that might give Angela a kick for a while. 

So that's what's brought me to this point, sitting here and just feeling great. My wardrobe is looking mighty streamlined (yet still jammed hanger-to-wooden-hanger. How?) and I have some broken-in lovelies to thrill my limbs. Best of all, I'll wear them remembering our little unexpected exchange and that makes it even better.

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