today I’m wearing a dirty white T-shirt

Today I woke with a plan to wear my white long-sleeved T-shirt. I’ve worn it twice already in the past fortnight and it has a little bit of makeup on the inside neckline and a little bit of a lived-in smell to it. Today I’ll be riding on my bike between meetings. A slightly uncrisp white T-shirt is appropriate.


But there’s this: my white T-shirt is one wear off a wash. And I have a load of whites in the machine, waiting to be justified as a Full Load. Waiting for another white-in-need-of-a-wash. And so, wearing this white T-shirt today and washing it tonight (with a dash of bleach) will bring me a disproportional sense of satisfaction. Completion. It’s the Capricorn in me.

As I got dressed this morning (pulling on a short summery skirt because I like to “wear up” all my summery gear before I move into my cooler weather wardrobe), I wondered: Do other people have Little Life Processes like this? Little things that bring completion? Little thoughts and structures that fill their brains between more important thoughts? If so, what are they?

For it is in these Little Life Process Moments that I think so much about a person can be really seen.

These nerdy, particular, slightly odd-ball moments are so intimate. I fall in love with a person when I see them engage in theirs. It’s a moment of care. It’s a moment of uncensored them-ness. It’s a moment that exposes their needs, their vulnerability.

I know my need for completion and for “using things up” says oodles about my need to feel safe, to feel that I’m a “good girl”. I grew up with parents who bought very little; everything was recycled. Bottle caps had second and third lives.

In the bathroom earlier, I bent down and scooped up some rosehip oil from the floor. I dropped the bottle on Saturday night. It smashed and splattered. I left the mess where it landed and for four days I’ve been scooping (and removing splinters of glass from my fingers) and applying the oil to my face and body. Does anyone else do stuff like this?

When you live alone, you sometimes don’t notice that you have these Little Life Process Moments (actually, I think living alone renders you more eccentric by virtue of the fact that you’re allowed to have more of them, uncensored).

I have to walk or ride a different route to a regular destination. I count to 40 when I fill petrol at the bowser; when I get to 40 I stop the hose. On a few occasions I’ve hit it right on full. You can’t imagine the satisfaction this brings.

I, almost daily, have the thought, “I wonder if I’m the first person in the world to step on this particular square of earth this year?”. Or, similarly, “I wonder if I’m the first person on the planet to ever have thought this exact thought?”. Or, “Does the light stay on in the fridge when you close the door?”

I watch a woman next to me at the cafe rule a double line margin in her notebook, like we did in primary school, before she officially sets out to jot down whatever she was a-jotting. She clearly does this every time. And probably must do so to be able to a-jot.

My friend Kerrie has to do up her daily to-do list with a thick black texta on a full sheet of paper. A biro won’t do.

A girl who used to work with me would have to “tap” the endpoint of her walk each day. If she aimed to walk to the end of the beach, she’d have to tap a particular post on the headland.

I had a boyfriend who had to come home between things. He called it “home-basing”. Even if he just walked in and did a wee.

I watch on old man on a bench peel half his orange, then eat that half. He then peels the remaining half and eats that.

Do we all do this? Do we get to see enough of these moments? Do we witness enough of them in ourselves? Do we let them make us smile? Please do share…

Share this post