Back on a summer Saturday in 1998, I ended up going to Lilith Fair alone, because O got a job on the same day that he needed to take. All our other friends were working that day too; such is a life in film.
O managed to sell his ticket to some random guy over the phone, and rather miraculously, I found him outside of The Rose Bowl on the day of the concert.
Between sets on the main stage, I wandered the outer perimeter looking at booths with info and merch. About ten feet away, I noticed three women staring at me. One approached and asked, "What does that mean?" while pointing at my WYSIWYG shirt.
"Oh." I pointed to the box of small words printed on the bottom right corner of my shirt and read aloud, "What you see is what you get."
"Is that a proposition?"
"Um... no." If I wasn't turning red, it sure felt like I was. "What do you mean?"
She and her friends laughed, and then she said, "Where did it come from?"
"It was a gift."
"No, not the shirt, the acronym."
"Oh. It's a computer term. Like if you're designing a web page, a WYSIWYG editor would let you see what the page would actually look like instead of showing a bunch of code."
"So, you're a web designer?"
"Then why are you wearing that shirt?"
I liked the honest sentiment of What You See Is What You Get, but all in all, it was just a fucking t-shirt, not a big personal statement. At the time, I didn't have the presence of mind to say that however, so I stammered through a convoluted explanation of cameras, lenses, viewfinders, and subjects.
"Are you a photographer then?"
I didn't want to go through another round, so I lied and said, "Yes." For those purposes, it was close enough to the job I was aspiring to at the time: cinematographer.
"That's cool," she said.
"Yeah." I felt drained, anxious and tense; I couldn't take anymore. "Well, see ya," I said and walked away. I made a mental note to kill O for abandoning me to work when I got home.
Last weekend, I was making my way through a massive show of gems, minerals, and fossils when I noticed an older male proprietor reading my KBHR shirt. It says:
The Voice Of The Last Frontier
I'd been walking through the show for a couple of hours without a break, and I was beat, so I walked around him to ward off the imminent question. However, my move prompted him to say, "I was just reading your shirt," because he assumed that I thought he was staring at my breasts.
"Ok," I said, walking to the next table. In my peripheral vision, I saw Mom drift over and start explaining my shirt to him, but I just kept moving.
I'm tired of explaining. At some point, either you get it, or you don't. For me, that point is now. So how can I blow off people's t-shirt inquiries without being rude?
A lot of my t-shirts are looking pretty beat these days: faded, frayed collars, small holes forming; I could use some new ones. What to buy though? More question-inducing threads or unapproachable solids?
I never did much care for solids...but I really am tired of explaining.
Two years ago at TTaT: tip of the week- Adult Swim fans
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