Out shopping the other day, I spotted her: one of the strange old ladies who can be seen wandering around Murwillumbah. I’m well acquainted with this particular one and don’t usually see her so externally; but catching sight of her unexpectedly like that, I realised how funny she looked. It wasn’t only the hair dyed an improbable shade, and the plethora of rings and necklaces. She was wearing a long black evening skirt topped by a casual, striped windcheater starting to fray a little at the seams. On her feet, incongruous under the skirt, were black socks and a pair of purple and white joggers.
I understood her rationalisation for this attire: all her trousers had got too tight and the skirt was the only thing she could wear comfortably just now. And she needed the nice warm top and the good, supportive shoes. Very sensible of course; just odd-looking.
Not that her friends seemed to care. I observed that those she bumped into as she did her errands didn’t appear to find her outfit remarkable, if they even noticed it at all. (Well, Mur’bah has always had a great tolerance of eccentric dress.) It was obvious that all they saw was her, the person. She was greeted with hugs and kind enquiries as to her welfare. I guess you can afford to be a little weird in the interests of comfort, in a town where people love you and see straight through to your inner being.
All the same, that sudden confrontation in a shop window was disconcerting. I think I’ll at least wear my black shoes next time!