Friday, February 25, 2005

Casual Friday

It's Friday once again; the work week is over (well, mostly...my travel agency runs seven days a week), so that means a couple of days of playtime. It may be a soggy weekend if today's gray, rainy weather is any indication. But that's okay, as the rain is sorely needed to offset the growing brush fire danger.

When I worked on-site at my job in Chicago, Friday also brought another perk. Besides being the gateway to the weekend, it was also the one day a week that I could wear blue jeans. I always envied my husband, who was allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts every day of the week. For me, I had to look at least semi-civilized for four days out of the five. Even on Casual Friday, t-shirts were not allowed, but jeans feel so much better than dress pants even if you have to wear a dressier shirt with them.

Now, every day is a casual dress day for me. That's one of the cool little perks of working at home. I could work in a fuzzy robe and bunny slippers if I wanted to, although I don't go quite that far. My usual Florida "uniform" is a t-shirt and either jeans or shorts, depending on the temperature forecast.

I have never been a "dressy" kind of person. I prefer being outdoor, and as a teenager I spent a lot of my time around riding stables. No sense in wearing anything decent when you're going to be grooming muddy horses and shoveling smelly stalls. My horses are still around, and of course I have cats and a bird too, which adds to the mess potential. My cats are very skilled; they shed the light hair onto my dark clothes and visa versa for maximum mess effect. I did find a great hair-remover brush at Target. It's not one of those sticky rollers; rather, it's some sort of plush material that grabs hair like a magnet. But even with the "miracle brush," it's almost impossible to keep up with shedding felines.

Besides my jeans and t-shirts, another staple of my Florida wardrobe is slip-on canvas shoes. I used to prefer tennis shoes, but that means I actually have to dig up some clean socks and then sit down and lace up the shoes. I go barefoot in the house, so being able to just slip into the canvas shoes at the door before I go out is very convenient. I get them at K-Mart, where they come in white, beige, and black varieties. I've learned that black is the best option in a state where the grass is thick as a jungle and always wet from either a) rain, b) the sprinklers, or c) both of the above. Light colored canvas quickly gets water stains that are hidden if you wear black.

I need to learn to overcome my laziness when I go walking, though, as the canvas shoes are not really geared for long distance hikes. The other day, I wore my white shoes when I walked downtown. I didn't feel a thing, but when I took them off, I noticed a huge blood stain on the heel area of the right shoe. I was bewildered till I looked at my foot, where are skin had been worn away by rubbing from the back of the shoe. It was one of those painless but persistently bloody wounds. Finally I managed to staunch the flow with a Band-aid, but my shoe was trashed. Did I learn my lesson? Heck no...for my walk yesterday, I donned my beige shoes and stuffed some Kleenex down the back.

A great thing about Florida is that its dependence on tourism has created a casual dress code almost anywhere, even at some of the nicest restaurants. When people come to Disney World on vacation, they don't bother to pack their dress clothes. Thus, "dress code" at any of the nicer WDW restaurants typically means no swimsuits. It feels odd to eat at a place like Jiko (a wonderful upscale African-themed restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge) or at the Yachtsmans Steakhouse in the Yacht Club in blue jeans and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, but that's what most people are wearing on any given evening. Oh well, I'm happy to do the same.

I love to stock up on cheapie t-shirts for wearing around the house or in the garden. 192 is a tourist Mecca, a neon strip of fast food and cheap souvenir shops. Everywhere you look, you'll see signs like "T-Shirts, Two for $10." Wal-Mart and Walgreens have cheap shirts, too, so I like to stock up on a batch as ultra-casual wear. They only last through a few washings, but that's fine with me. For $5, I feel like I get my money's worth if I get a few household wearings or gardening sessions out of them, and then I can recycle them as rags.

My "regular" wardrobe, like my husband's, is heavy on the nicer shirts that you can buy at Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line ships. I know it makes us look like corny tourists, but I don't mind...after all, we spent many years as visitors before we finally moved to Celebration. If someone still mistakes me for a tourist, so be it. We do have Chicago shirts to show some loyalty to our old home, but they still have a Disney flair...we got them when we went to see the "Lion King" play, so they have a huge lion's head superimposed over the Chicago skyline.

If I want to be recognized as a local, I don one of my various "Celebration, FL" t-shirts. I have several in various colors and styles, as they sell the standard shirts all the time downtown and offer special versions at special events like Fourth of July, Founders Day and Posh Pooch. Tourists can, of course, buy them, but they seem to be more of a "local" thing.

I do, of course, have some dress clothes for those rare occasions when I want to look like a decent human being, but I would be content if I never had to dress up again. I love being a casual, blue-jeans-and-t-shirt-wearing kind of person, and Florida is the perfect place for that. In the Sunshine State, every day is Casual Friday, and that's just fine with me.

My email address is celebration@mailblocks.com

My website is www.celebrationinfo.com

1 comment:

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