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Come As You Are

There is a well-worn story among my old friends about the time my then 80-year-old father – all of his faculties intact – tooled down to the Laurel Village Peet’s in San Francisco early one Sunday morning, clad only in his Young Man’s Fancy pajamas and terry robe, to pick up the newspaper and a blueberry muffin. (He would make his own coffee, his way, at home.) My mother was out of town on a fishing trip with friends and I, having come home the night before to order Chinese and watch a movie with him, couldn’t believe my eyes when I’d seen him pull into the garage dressed as though he was home from a slumber party at the senior center. “Dad!,” I exclaimed, examining him a little more closely as he ascended the dozens of stairs leading up to our front door clutching his branded loot, leather slippers slapping against the bricks. “Did you just go to PEET’S in LAUREL VILLAGE in your BATHROBE?!”

Images of this silver-haired fox sliding into an empty parking spot, dropping his quarters into the newspaper box, shuffling across the sidewalk (note, slippers) and happily standing in line with the next generation of his lycra-clad neighbors – not to mention the look of horror on my mother’s face had she known about it – vaulted me into unknown territory as judge and jury in our father/daughter relationship. “What’s the matter with that?!” he replied, looking me straight in the eye, “I was a helluva lot more dressed than anyone else in there!”

I’ll give him the benefit of a pretty dashing way about him and his generally indisputable presence, but Sandy Tatum would have fared beautifully in this current climate of welcome to my living room, don’t mind my roots, I’ll get to that laundry in the background – Come As You Are – because none of that mattered as much to to him as Tell Me What You Brought.

I was reminded of this perspective by all of the stories I’ve been seeing lauding the joy of letting go in our Lululemon. Because there is an ironic freedom in the controlled climate of our current virtual reality, a refreshing loosening of the reins that’s making room for more meaningful connection – more listening than judgement.

I know a guy in his pajamas who would be delighted to hear all about it.

Shelley Tatum Kieran is Partner at MOCA+.

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