Modern Man

I've never been the kind of person to enjoy wearing a uniform.

I had to wear one for school, but was one of those kids who would push it as far as they could to try and reclaim some sense of individuality amongst a sea of conformity.

The headmaster and I had an ongoing battle about my hair (too long), tie (missing) and badges featuring obscure punk bands that adorned my school blazer (not appropriate, apparently).

So I guess I knew from a fairly early age that I wasn't destined to be the kind of person who wears a suit and tie to work everyday.

Because after all, a suit is just another type of uniform.

There is a set of social codes and expectations that go along with pulling on a 'bag of fruit'; a role for the wearer to play.

A suit says to the world "I am serious and I have important business to conduct." But there's also a sense that when you pull it on, you are required to leave part of your personality at the door.

(I'd like to see parliaments and board rooms across the world filled with the kind of diversity you see in everyday life, but I digress.)

Jobs that require actual uniforms (the military, police, fireman, etc) were never going to be my cup of tea either.

So it's kind of ironic that I find I have developed my own 'weekend uniform'.

Pretty much every weekend I will pull on a pair of paint-splattered King Gee pants, an old T-shirt, a sensible hat and a pair of work boots. Then I am transformed into 'Garden Man' (aka 'Handyman').

If something needs to be chopped, weeded, dug, cut, mowed, planted, painted, nailed, drilled or taken to the tip, I don my weekend uniform and all the characteristics that go with it.

Of course there are practical reasons for donning that particular uniform for that type of work, but sometimes I feel like an actor getting into costume to play a part.

Since ex-cyclone Oswald blew through, I have been chainsawing fallen trees and branches, hand cutting tangled bamboo and finishing other odd jobs to make sure the place is safe for the next big storm that comes to town.

And it's a part I like to play.

Garden Man is useful, productive and practical and feels a great sense of achievement when completing a task.

I wonder if I could get away with wearing it to work at The Echo?

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