I think I have lost all my clothes in Hurricane Irma.
This is less dramatic than it sounds. The hurricane didn’t suck my clothes high into the air or anything like that.
No, everything just got wet. Mould is the culprit.
So what does it feel like to lose [nearly] all your clothes?
Imagine: someone in a pick-up truck is telling you to go to your house, grab your passport, and meet him in thirty minutes to dash to a helicopter, which will be waiting at a bombed-out looking airport guarded by armed police. You never thought this would happen to you, and it doesn’t feel as cool as you would have expected.
You have to go on foot because a bloody hurricane has trapped your car behind fallen trees. It’s going to take you longer than 30 minutes to walk to your house and back. So you run (or rather, you do your best approximation of a run, which is a gait that can only accurately be described as a ‘stumble-jog’).
You have a few minutes at the house to try and close it up against further hurricanes, leave food for your cat, and come to terms with the massive shift in your reality over the past 72 hours.
Your leave the house carrying a beach bag with some hastily-gathered stuff in, unsure when you will ever go back. Your gait back to the waiting pick-up truck deteriorates from stumble-jog to stumble-sob.
And after that…
Stage 1 – damage assessment
Your reach safety and have a look in the beach bag holding your stuff. On a quick assessment, you calculate you have salvaged about eight items of clothing. Almost impressively, you have managed to pick a selection of items that do not work together at all. How is that even possible? To pick eights things and have not a single decent outfit?
Stage 2 – champagne Buddhist
A few days later. “There’s something that feels quite fitting”, you say, as you sip your drink at a hotel bar, “about losing all your belongings”. Oh, come the fuck off it. You have an income. Do you even know how lucky you are? You are drinking a $12 gin cocktail. Having to pop to Victoria’s secret for 10 pair of knickers does not make you the Dalai bloody Lama.
Stage 3 – delusions
A week into post hurricane lift, and you’ve been shopping for a few ‘basics’ now. You skip around in black ankle-grazing slim-fit trousers, an ivory blouse, and little black slip-on shoes. Maybe, you think, this is the new you: you’ll be all creams and neutrals and classic pieces and silk scarves and timeless style. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? You are not some sort of elegant minimalist. You lost all your clothes in a fucking hurricane, and you’re wearing boring black trousers from Macys because it’s pretty much all you have (aside from joggers).
Stage 4 – la nostalgie
Just as you’re realising how dowdy your ‘capsule’ wardrobe is, the memories hit. Misty gingham-filtered insta-memories.
Someone likes a pre-hurricane Instagram photo of you, and you eye catches on the much-loved dress you’re wearing in the post. You loved that dress and now it’s gone. With a slightly dizzy feeling you realise that pretty much everything in your pictures is gone. All the impulse buys, the carefully selected wedding outfits, the vintage capes, the lulu guinness bag that everyone said looked like a vagina: all gone*.
You feel sad. And then a bit ashamed for feeling sad. And in fairness, you SHOULD be ashamed. You’re mooning over your own Instagram feed. Could you BE any more self involved?
Stage 5 – acceptance
You reach new heights of self-involvement by blogging about losing all your clothes. And you realise you need go shopping.
*actually, I think the vagina bag will survive. It is STURDY and I can’t see it getting looted