Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This must be how a stripper feels

It happens almost every Wednesday.

Around 6:30AM, I stagger into the YMCA men's locker room after a fairly vigorous aerobic workout. I quickly peel off my soaked clothing to avoid wallowing in my own filth any further, and prepare to enter the shower. I am naked.

And then he walks in—the supply delivery guy.

As I stand there basking in my funky glow, we look at each other. He always says something like, "I'll just be a second. I just need to refill the antibacterial soap." At this point, I usually feel like we're filming the opening scene to some gay porn flick, like "Towel Snappers IV" or "Saving Ryan's Privates," and it doesn't really matter what he says to me. This man has seen my nude body more than I have.

After these experiences with Chuck (that's what his name patch says), I always feel just a slight bit better due to one fact—he was wearing a uniform.

People just don't wear uniforms like they used to. Back in the day, gas station attendants would jog out to your car, their crisp uniforms accentuated by a hat and bow tie. They would pump your gas, check your oil...one Chevron attendant was so thorough, I can remember turning my head and coughing for him. These days, someone sits behind bullet proof glass, takes your money and sells you a Baby Ruth and a pepperoni stick.

Garbage collectors, at least in my neighborhood, no longer wear uniforms, but that's fine with me. If they're willing to haul my odoriferous waste away, rain or shine, they can wear assless chaps for all I care. The same goes for bus drivers. I'm simply thankful that someone is willing to confront rush-hour traffic while a passenger two feet behind him chops up crack with a machete. If the bus drivers want to wear nothing but a boa and a change belt, good on them.

Some occupations require their workers to wear a uniform for safety reasons, like the water meter readers or mail carriers. I'm sure there are areas of rural Snohomish County where they must also identify themselves audibly: "Attention, homeowner. I am reading your meter. I don't want your meth stash. Repeat, I am not a tweaker. Thank you."

In my opinion, the most important uniform of all is the physician's white lab coat. I don't think I'd be able to relax enough for "the exam," if the guy slipped on the rubber glove while donning torn Levi's and a stained wife beater.

If that gym supply guy wore a lab coat next time, I might stand around and talk for a while.

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