I didn’t think too much about it. After all every day is casual day in Far North Queensland. Unless you’re overdressed. And wearing the wrong t-shirt.
Besides I was on holiday. I opened the suitcase. I grabbed the first t-shirt I saw. Board shorts and thongs completed the wardrobe.
Though worn, that t-shirt made me feel good. It didn’t make me look good. But I was on holiday. I’m finally starting to relax. On the t-shirt was a well-known picture. It advertised an annual fund raising event in big blue and white letters. In small letters on the top right hand side was the logo of my then wife’s workplace.
How could this be the wrong t-shirt to wear?
We did a quick stopover in a Cairns shopping centre. We had just exited the supermarket. All of a sudden a woman looked straight at me. Then she stared at the t-shirt. She approached me and began asking questions.
Where did you get the t-shirt? A second hand gift I said. It was true as the year of the fundraising event was long gone.
She asked a few more questions. I focused on answering the questions exactly. Unusually for me I didn’t add any extra detail or rephrase the question. In short I was friendly and unhelpful.
I had a clear intent. It was not to reveal my wife worked for the organisation whose logo I was wearing. After all we were on holiday. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see that she was becoming annoyed. I just hoped the conversation would end in time.
And it did. The final questions were direct. Did I work for that organisation? No. Do you know how to contact them? Actually no. It was true. I hadn’t rung my wife at work while she was working at Cairns. That’s it. I’m done. I started to walk away.
But then my wife spoke. She turned out to be more friendly and helpful than me! She introduced herself. She confirmed that she worked for the organisation advertised on my t shirt. I wanted to interrupt and say that we’re on holiday here. I opted not to. I had already said enough.
She really listened to this person’s concerns. They were quite trivial. She ended up giving details of who to call. After the conversation finished, she called ahead and prepared that person for the call. As I said she was both friendly and helpful.
We began to walk out side. Then my wife turned to me. She said, “You are never ever wearing that t-shirt again.”
I said, “Ok.” I took off the t-shirt, turned it inside out and put it back on again. No one noticed. My wife didn’t say anything either.
After all we were in a shopping centre in far North Queensland. By their standards, I was overdressed! Anyway we were now on holiday. And I wanted it to stay that way!