Thursday, July 19, 2007

Character And Charm


Last night was the North Miami Board of Adjustment meeting. I'm on the board, and for the last dozen years or so I've been pretty much dressing this way regardless of where I'm going or what I'm doing. Rumpled unironed fishing shirt, jeans, leather boat shoes with no socks, a curly mop of hair, and a scruffy beard. It doesn't help. I still get board appointments and I still have to remind everyone from the secretaries to the city manager that I'm "Al", not "Mr. Kaplan".

Last night I decided to have a bit of fun. I put on a midnight blue (that translates into half a shade lighter than black) tropical weight wool suit, button down collar dress shirt just long enough to show the requisite 1/2 inch of cuff below the jacket sleeves, and a bright red silk neck tie. Because of staff changes over the years just about nobody there last night had ever seen me dressed that way. I got a few compliments and some questions ranging from "Is that really YOU?" to "What's the occasion?" There was only one item on the agenda so it was a short meeting, and yes, I did shoot a few self-portraits of me up there sitting on the board!

I headed over to Starbucks for my nightly cuppa java. That's where I really shocked people, but I also had some good conversation. I gathered that a few of the folks over there had never believed me when talked about some of the things I do because I didn't seem to dress the part. "Clothes make the man!"

Tonight I went for coffee and it was like instantly that I was joined by a couple of young ladies gushing about how great I'd looked last night. Brooke didn't come right out and say that I was too old for her but she did remind me that she already had a boyfriend. I mentioned that my hair looked a bit ratty for wearing the suit & tie thing but she insisted that I had to promise not to cut it. She wants me to grow my hair long. "I just love ponytails on men!" was how she put it. My hair doesn't grow all that fast but if I eat all my veggies I just might have a pony tail by the time she hits 21.

And the house? Yup, it has character and charm, alright! I just wish I could remember whose house and why I was there.

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