I worked in a restaurant when I was a teenager, and Department of Health regulations required us to wear head coverings while preparing food. (There's nothing more disgusting than finding some stranger's hair in your salad.) They gave us little paper hats to wear, and I hated them. I had very long hair at the time, and I pulled it up into a ponytail and tucked it under the paper cap, and it looked and felt awful. I was very happy to see a little piece in The New York Times this morning on the head coverings worn by baristas (people who prepare coffee) throughout the city. They manage to combine their personal style with the health regulations, and I think that's wonderful. You can see the little slideshow here.
I am very grateful now to have a job that requires no particular clothing items, just that I look neat and professional. My husband told me long ago that lawyers who look like lawyers get more respect than those who don't. In other words, you could be the smartest lawyer in the world, but if you show up in court in hiking boots and sweats, the judges aren't going to like your argument. (This statement, while clearly true, always reminds me of the astronomer in The Little Prince who was laughed right out of the astronomers' convention because of his native Turkish dress. Do you remember him? Grownups really are morons sometimes.)
I don't go to court anymore. I spend my days mostly in my office, interacting only with the other men and women who work for my company. If I speak with an outside lawyer or a client, it is always by telephone, and most of those people haven't the slightest idea what I look like. Nor do they care; as long as I get the job done, that's all that matters.
The advent of the internet has changed our way of life in so many ways. There are people out there making a great living without ever having to get out of their pajamas. (On snowy days like today, I wish I were one of them.) Entire commercial enterprises are run from the comfort of one's home. There are people who succeed at communication who, a generation ago, would have been too disabled to share their thoughts. And there are people like me, aspiring writers who can reach a wide audience from a little basement computer.
My "Bullying" post has generated a lot of reaction. To my great relief, my older sister not only liked it, but she republished it on her Facebook page. Childhood friends from my old neighborhood reached out to me. I had dinner two nights ago with a friend from seventh grade who told me that she had had no idea what was going on at the time. (Most people didn't.) At least two people have contacted me to tell me their own bullying stories. I am encouraged and pleased by all of this. Thank you.
And now back to shoveling out the driveway so I can go to work. Have a great day, everyone.