I am a person who is sensitive to color and patterns. Given that I spend most of my year as a campground host you may ask if anyone even cares.

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I spent 30+ years in corporate America. What I wore was an important part of fitting in as one of the few or only women in executive positions. I once bought a “Brooks Brothers for Women” suit to present to a major Wall Street bank. The price was exorbitant but I figured that I needed to fit into or at least not ring alarm bells in their corporate culture. My client contact looked at me and said, “That window pane plaid is pretty out there you know.”

For the record, this suit (shirt and jacket) was mostly pale grey with very subtle plaid. I had told Brooks Brothers at the Mall of America where I was presenting and what image I wanted to present. I told my client how I had chosen my suit and asked him basically WTF? He said that he really wanted my message to be well received and he was 100% behind me. My co-presenter was a retired Colonel from the Army and an artist. Jim came to the meeting wearing an artist’s vest with hundreds of pockets filled with markers and knee high suede boots laced up. Jim, the client and I were in agreement about the presentation and what we hoped to achieve. I looked at Jim and then the client and said, “You are worried about a Brooks Brothers suit on me and his vest and knee-high moccasins don’t bother you? How sexist can you be?”

So I have a long history of “matching” and trying to fit in. (Jim and I won the contract to go forward from the bank’s board and not a man mentioned my suit.)

Forward to camping clothes. Most campers just wear weather appropriate clothes. My niece is a non-matcher. I am a matcher. My sister is a matcher. I decided to try to become a non-matcher. It is not going well. I once had an independently wealthy neighbor who was color blind and definitely a non-matcher. He wore the most amazing collection of patterns, stripes and plaids. He worked at a railroad because he loved trains. He ran their IT department even though he could have never worked a day. Art loved trains. Art was the goofiest ever non-matcher.

Sometimes when I try to break my matching habit I look in the mirror and think, “Not quite my niece but then not quite Art.”

I’m not sure there is a future for me as a non-matcher.

Among the questions facing the world and America, this doesn’t make anyone’s top ten most important list. It is however, my latest experiment in living.


Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.