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Return Marge's Sweater Vest

May 17th, 2022

People on War Room know that since late October I've had a task on my to-do list: return Marge's sweater vest. I checked it off last Thursday! But in the interest of sentimentality let's go through why I ended up with Marge's vest and why it took so long to return it.

For mock trial the witnesses in the case are allowed to dress up in a sort of costume that represents how that witness would dress for a court appearance. Cops will have a badge and a dress uniform, or we'll give eccentric characters a patterned blazer, or something like that. Wesley's Texas character had a bolo tie. And for my fall character, I was playing an eyewitness who I'd decided to play like a loser. Think Toby from The Office. And I figured that this character probably wore a sweater vest—because that felt like something losers do.

Side note: as a young child, my parents had us dress up to go on airplanes and I remember having to wear a beige and yellow plaid sweater vest. So you could say this was already in my blood.

So my first step was not to ask Marge for a sweater vest—I'd met her like a month ago. Instead I floated it by Amanda who has sweater vests and she said it'd be fine to use one of hers. And then: the day of the competition. We had to leave at noon on Friday and I hadn't coordinated with Amanda about the vest at all.

Amanda had Do Not Disturb on. I abandoned hope and started to come to terms with the no-sweater-vest reality I faced. But as I waited by the campus center with some other people for the senior driving us to arrive, Marge just happened to be walking by with some dry-cleaning she'd picked up. One of the items: a baby blue Target sweater vest.

I explained the situation and she graciously volunteered it. So I used it for that weekend, then another competition a few weeks later. But then I put it in a drawer and thought I'd give it to her the next time I saw her.

Clearly, that didn't work. I see Marge at least once a week, and for months and months kept forgetting to head up to my room and get the dang vest. Perhaps in part that's because it never felt urgent: I'd see her again soon, so procrastinating on actively choosing a time to give it back was easy. It became a running joke on War Room that for months I'd never completed this simple, administrative task.

But as the year wound up I could no longer hide from getting that vest back to her.

So I put it in a bag and handed it off outside Dewick.

Side note: Marge is one of my favorite people at Tufts. She is extremely mature and grounded. I've noticed that a lot of people have made Marge "their person" in that way people have a friend they go to with upsetting things they need to process, which feels like a pretty good metric for that quality. She was gracious as ever when I apologized for not returning her vest for literally half a year.

Something about that vest became symbolic in the silliest of ways. It was the background chore sitting in the back of my head for freshman year and I think that means it absorbed some of the nostalgia from important moments in the last 7 months. Returning it felt like a declaration that the year was ending. The year of Marge's Sweater Vest is complete.