I realize this forthcoming statement makes me an anomaly among women, a freak if you will, but here goes: I HATE shopping! Clothes are the worst, especially pants. (Well, especially swimwear, but that's its own sordid, traumatic topic, not suited -- ehem! -- for the annals of this blog.) Whatever happened to simple choices? Khakis or chinos? Or are those the same thing? Levis or Wranglers? Today, there's curvy fit, straight fit, trouser fit, low rise, mid rise, high rise, moon rise, sun rise, crotch creepers (OK nobody calls them that, but come on). There's mid rise curvy skinny, low rise straight skinny, mid rise curvy relaxed, natural rise pleated, mid rise easy, tapered legs, straight legs, boot cut, ultra flare.... it goes on and on and on. Some companies have names for each of these: the Blakely Fit, the Mercer Fit, Fit 1, Fit 2, Fit 3, Fit 26.7. None of them fit me. I found a pair today that was close, mostly not synthetic, mostly not crappy craftsmanship, manufactured in a democracy. The kicker: They were three inches too long. I could have them altered, but that would cost more than the pants themselves. I could hem them myself, if I didn't care how they look. So I left the pants on the rack and bought other stuff-- a nice pan, tighty black-ies, grey-ies, blue-ies. The whities just seemed so...white. Why no pastels for the boys? Tough enough to wear pink-- briefs? Or a practical color, like brown? Socks, dog treats, licorice, and an oil change for the car. All but the pan and the oil change will be sent across the ocean to the coffee farming entourage that is my family. I found some great stuff at Murdoch's Ranch Store that had me lingering in defiance of shopping disdain, adorable flannel shirts and Carhartts everything, but I can't wear any of that to work at the bank. I hate the bank for many reasons, but especially for its refusal to accommodate my preferred wardrobe. I'm parked all day behind a waist-high counter, and nobody sees my pants or shoes. Sweatpants, sneakers and a Brother's Brother blouse would work just fine, in my opinion, but no-o-o-o. They won't have it. When it comes to appropriate, non-jeans leg&butt wear, polyester, rayon, microfiber or otherwise clingy, bulletproof, flammable fabrics abound, materials that melt when held to a match, but come out of the dryer looking swell. What ever happened to wool for sheep's sake? And apparently, cotton is no longer the fabric of our lives.
Columbus Day reminds me of the famous storm that struck the Pacific Northwest in 1962, also known as The Big Blow. My tricycle flew down the driveway. My parents and I watched through the window as it disappeared. There were candles. Lots of them. The power was out, the house was dark but for the glow of tiny flames, and we were all three together, safe inside as the gale raged outside. I think my mom and dad must have been frightened, but I had no clue. To me, The Columbus Day Storm was a blast. The next day, we and the neighbors "discovered" that their garage had been crushed by a tree.
Shopping bust aside, this chilly morning yielded to an Indian summer day custom made to recognize, respect and honor the contributions of native Americans, consciously, if not actively. Rustlings of my paternal grandmother's insistence that we are descended from the Algonquin Blackfoot rang in my head as I listened to Sherman Alexie on NPR, then meandered along the river, through the canyon and over the pass toward the sprawling metropolis of Montrose. It's called Discoverers' Day in Hawaii, the irony obviously lost on those who name holidays there, considering the well-documented fate of that infamous island "discoverer," Captain Cook. But let's examine Columbus. Besides being an exploitative, treasure-hunting dick-wad, he missed. Two huge continents, their combined length spanning most of the globe north to south, and he lands on a tiny island not connected to either one. What kind of navigation skills are those? The Hawaiians, some 1500 years earlier than Topher C. (He's gotta be a Topher. With that hat?), sailing in canoes, managed to stick their landing on a tiny archipelago in the middle of nowhere. Maybe those are the discoverers Hawaii's talking about with their version of the Holiday. In that case, never mind about the Captain Cook crack. Those intrepid Hawaiians are worthy of celebration. And what of my maternal ancestors, those wacky, horny Vikings? The helmets. That's what was horny. Although, after a long journey at sea... Anyway, where's Vikings Day? Why are we not all eating lutefisk with our fries?