Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Clothing Bank

Don’t ask me what I do. I Collect and Organize the clothes they give patients who get in accidents. That’s why I don’t go to parties so I don’t get asked about my work. I read the logs: S. Swanson, RN: XL shirt, XL sweats. Reason: Patient clothing stained with fecal matter. Randall Sweet, MA: Small T. Reason: Blood in patient’s bra. Lana J, RN: Medium panties. Reason: Sex Assault. Terrible things happen to clothes. I order the cheapest of the cheap--factory seconds, bad dyes. Doesn’t matter, it’s just something to cover them up for when they leave. My aunt that raised me was a seamstress. She knew quality. She weaved her own fabrics on a borrowed loom. She died last year: Lymphoma. I brought her all her own clothes from home. Lots of folks that come in here, they don’t have family. Sometimes the dyes rub off on their skin when they sweat riding home on the bus. I got sick myself last year from the off-gassing; I don’t get windows in here. We think we can’t feel it anymore but we can. That sense that the air is different. What’s happening is everything’s falling back down. Threads from shoddy craftsmanship float into the atmosphere then descend on us, frayed seams, bad stitches, pilling. The purely functional, as Auntie liked to say.  

--Kristen McHenry

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