The Quest for Blue

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

As a young man, I was always wardrobe challenged. I could not put together the right colors or clothes combinations. One day, for my birthday, our teenage son Ken, who had his mother’s artistic quality, secretly went into my closet, and sewed tiny pieces of different color threads into my shirts, pants, ties (when we use to wear these), and jackets. At my party, Ken took all of us into the closet and showed off his efforts, even providing me with written instructions on how to use his legend to make myself look good.

What a gift!

One of his pieces of advice was that a solid blue, button-down poplin short should be my go-to easy wardrobe centerpiece. Blue is a good color for me, button down’s keep the collar in line, and poplin is an easy to maintain fabric that can be dressed up or down. Ken’s advice continues to drive my fashion decisions.

As I’ve been stuck at home the past few years, I haven’t worn my blue button-down shirts very much but when I had an in-person client meeting last week, I reached into my closet for one of those special shirts.  I have several and I noticed they all looked a little tired, like an undriven car that has been sitting in the garage for several years.

This past weekend, I thought it would be fun to go out and buy some new ones. The journey began with much excitement and wound up being a test of resilience and fortitude.

I was encouraged when I saw some button downs at the first store, but none were in my size. Next door at another department store, they had one my size but the line to check out was 25 minutes long. Hmmmm.

Now I felt a challenge was upon me and I decided to head over to the mall where there would be big department and specialty stores. Nordstrom’s lacked my size. Macy’s button downs were not the right color. On and on I went. For the next 2 hours I travailed from one store to the next.  One store kind of had what I wanted but there dressing rooms were closed! 

Just when I began to think that there was a conspiracy going on, I realized that I had been sent out on a Quest and I must honor what is happening and make it more of an adventure. I committed to walking both floors, from end to end.  On the way, I noticed teens hanging out and laughing with each other, parents cuddling with their babies, and salespeople folding clothes left by browsers. I was offered free merchandise from kiosk owners and tips from the tailors whose measuring tapes hung around their necks, like surgeons getting to use their stethoscopes.

My in-person quest failed, and I gained so much more from enjoying the journey. At the end, I checked my Apple Watch, and I had 11,000 steps. Maybe I should have gone with the slim fitting shirt I saw somewhere?

It is not always easy to change perspectives when life throws a curve but on this journey, it was worth it.

© Richard Citrin 2022

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