They say that when you have to give a speech and you’re nervous, just imagine your audience in its collective underwear, or better yet, underwear and socks. That should humanize them and thereby make them less scary.
We started a little later on this, our final day, so the trains were less crowded. Toward the end, the seats were all taken but there were few people standing, so I could look around and surmise. The weather is crap today so everyone was bundled up to their teeth, but I could see faces. And I wondered how many pairs of underpants were hurtling along the rails with mine and how those underpants matched those faces.
(Today I’m wearing green cotton bikinis. It is not possible for a woman shaped like me to buy underwear in Japan. Underpants only come in three sizes: itsy-bity, teeny-tiny and grandma. So I found a brand that fits well, lasts a long time and is commonly available in the States. Hanes for Her, cotton bikini–not high cut or low rise–size 7, assorted colors and/or patterns. Boring, I know, but reliable underwear is one of the things that makes my world a happy place. My birthday is July 2. Thank you.)
So I was looking around the car and found myself starting to analyze. I figured it was safe to assume there were at least as many pairs of underpants as there were people, give or take a few. The more intriguing question was what those underpants might look like.
Of the ladies, what percentage wore cotton? Silk? Lace? What percentage bikini? Thong? Up-to-the-armpits Grannypants? As for the men, how many wore boxers? How many briefs? How many conservative stripes or plaid? How many more risque flowers or hearts or dancing Mickey Mouses?
How many were fresh from the mint? How many torn or stained? How many had shot elastic? How many were bought in person? How many by wives or mothers or creepy uncles? How many came from fancy department stores or upscale shops? How many from local supermarkets? How many were stolen from upscale shops or local supermarkets? How many were stolen from the neighbor’s balcony?
Whatever the unknowable answer to these questions, I started to grin and couldn’t stop. As I looked around the car, peering at people’s faces and contemplating their corresponding undergarments, they would occasionally look up and catch me staring with a goofy grin on my face. Just as I’ll never know what they were wearing, they’ll never know what I was thinking. And that thought made me smile even more.
So, this begs the obvious question. What are YOU wearing?