Incidental Amusements

Beginning my senior year, I started working two jobs that required me to be in uniform. The entire concept of being required to wear something specific was initially confusing to me. I have grown so accustomed to wearing whatever I want – no matter how unflattering it may be. Yet, I must begrudgingly admit that I have learned to appreciate my uniforms.

Before accepting these jobs, my day-to-day outfits consisted of clothing normally worn by patients in the psych ward of a hospital. This mostly stems from the fact that when I wake up in the morning, I’m so groggy and disoriented that I just throw on any random assortment of shirts, pants and sometimes socks in my attempt to be on time for class.  

Unsurprisingly, most school days I end up looking either deranged or like an amnesiac hipster. Freshman and sophomore year, I would often stroll into class with a pasta sauce-stained sweatshirt and pajama pants clearly made for the tallest person in the world. Needless to say, people were begging to be my friend.

As a junior, I joined the Geneseo Fire Department as a volunteer EMT. It wasn’t until my senior year, however, that I got my uniform, which consists of a pristine pale-blue shirt, a heavy black belt with the largest buckle imaginable and strangely sexy ebony boots.   

I also recently took a job in the emergency room of a local hospital. My specific position requires me to wear dark purple scrubs. If you’ve never seen or worn scrubs, they are essentially glorified pajamas.

Oscillating between my formal EMT uniform, my casual scrubs and whatever unflattering clothing I happen to wear to class has caused me to have somewhat of an identity crisis, partly because each outfit elicits vastly different reactions.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I look like a total badass when I’m on duty and wearing my EMT uniform. One time I was walking down Main Street and a passerby whispered to her friend, “Is that a cop?” I found this particularly amusing, since I have the build of an awkward, prepubescent teenager. Hearing their exchange gave me a sense of heightened authority.

Compared to the authoritative appearance of my EMT uniform, my scrubs are almost too casual. While no one really questions the aesthetics of scrubs in a hospital, if I ever happen to wander outside of the hospital premises, I get very strange looks. I will admit, the baggy, purple pants definitely give off an “I’m a clown on some sort of illicit drug” vibe, but they are really comfortable and, sometimes, I don’t feel like changing after work.

Despite the wide range of responses I get from my different uniforms, I have learned that these outfits don’t need to be at odds with my everyday attire. One of my go to outfits now consists of my purple scrub pants, an amorphous, dirty sweatshirt and my fire department hat. Not only does it incorporate each aspect of my life, it also gives off the impression that I set fires for pleasure.