Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

We've chosen a nice life for you

We got up early today and went back to Spring Creek Trail for a nice hike through the woods. I love the sight of squirrels eating nuts, fish in shallow clear creekwater swimming against the stream, and one giant-size great blue heron flying just above the creek. It was not too hot, though quite humid, but we had a grand time.

Then I finished one of my notebooks. It came out pretty ordinary, as all my artistic efforts do, but ordinary in a hopefully earnest and not unlikable way. I'm excited to send it out; it's a good exchange.

On Friday, I managed to once again ruin one of my "good" suits,
so after a failed effort at a mall department store, we went to one of those chain big and tall men's stores to find me another. We went to a store where an energetic man named Lee helped us with selections. I tend to wear basic business suits when I must go to court or deposition--grey pinstripe, blue pinstripe, navy, charcoal, perhaps a light grey or green, sometimes jet black.

I am not a clothes shopper by nature. Show me the sizes that fit me, at a price within my specifications, and I will make a prompt selection. Lee wanted to share some sales banter about how I "should" look and what "was traditional". He lost points when he tried to argue that oversize shoes in a Russian leather were more "traditional" than my usual "business" shoes. Still, my wife and I were undaunted. We soon settled on a nice charcoal suit which will meet my needs well; it was a bit less light than most of the "tropical" wools they were selling. I am very hard on clothes, so it was a relief to find something with more substance, even if it is a bit lightweight.

After I had been fitted, and tailored, and handed the suit over for final alteration, Lee suddenly acquired a theatrical flourish, and turned me over to Brian, the "shirt specialist". Never mind that I had not asked for shirts, and had, indeed, indicated that my needs were limited to suits. Brian, a charming, rotund, mildly bookish kind of man, had arranged 10 assortments of shirts, ties and braces for me to survey. In addition to traditional business white with black braces and a semi-traditional blue shirt, he had chosen for me a bewildering array of multi-colored shirts, ranging from earth tone to lavender to purple. You see, as per Brian, I am not only supposed to be wearing suits to work, I am to also be attending "not too casual parties" at which I am to wear an NBC peacock array of finery. I did not tell Brian that I wear suits only once or twice a week, usually on 'court days', and don't plan to acquire a party life any time soon. Brian undaunted moved on to turtleneck pullover shirts, which I am to wear under the suit to nightclubs. In short, Brian was going to help me have the kind of north Dallas nightclub life to which I never aspired. I would "look the part" for the first time in my life.

Of course, when I asked the price, Brian quoted me figures which were roughly 2 times what I normally pay for each item, from brace to shirt to tie. They were not exactly "high" prices--in a nicer men's store they would be modest. But Brian missed the fact that for years, my menswear outlet was the dear, departed, Watt's Department Store, in Camden, Arkansas, where my clothier, Mr. "Tombo" Watts, fitted me out in perfectly respectable but utterly modest semi-formal attire, all at a very modest price, and all at a height of fashion which would be perfectly acceptable at any church in this very Sunday-attire-conscious Bible Belt town. I would wait and buy ties and braces at some store with "dress for less" in its name. I did not bother to explain to Brian that while I have to have the proper material and weave, I have found that the main difference between wearing an 800 dollar suit and a 300 dollar suit is that I am 2.6 times as sorry when I ruin the 800 dollar suit. I don't think that Brian and I would have been sympatico if I had tried to explain to him that I pay half for nice shirts and ties than the prices at his store.

He did have one item, though,which caught my fancy. HUGE, amazing cedar coat hangers. The cedar has a moth repellant quality, of course (I was mildly suprised that Brian spelled it out for me), but its main virtue was its sheer sturdiness. It could have been a murder weapon in the game of Clue ("It was Colonel Mustard in the Dining Room with a Giant Cedar Coathanger"). As they were only mildly outrageously priced, I asked for two. I will be able to hang suits on cedar with the best of them. Brian, no doubt, now recognizes me as the type of well-dressed man who foregoes the shirts and goes straight for the hangers.

We then retired to the great little Australian pub near the suit store, easily one of my favorite lunch places in Collin County.
I had fish 'n' chips that were to die for. A jazz trio began to play in the corner. I have read a lot of folks knock jazz lately, but I must admit that I like jazz. The saxophonist was quite good, although a later clarinet solo was a bit flawed. A HUGE thunderstorm came upon us, which we could see through the huge plate glass windows as we sat in the cafe. It was gorgeous!
Pigeons flew away with a fixity of purpose, just like those fleeing birds in jungle movies. I love dark clouds and huge raindrops.

We then went to a shoe store, where I got a great deal on some dress shoes. Dress shoes came to our minds after I inadvertently brought as my "try on suit shoes" a mismatched pair of dress shoes. No wonder Brian wanted me in oversize Russian eel hunter shoes! I will never be a very good stylish man if I wear mismatched shoes to the suit fitting. Being a grown up is so hard.

This afternoon I have been generating more material for more scrapbooks. I love it when I can put aside that inner hesitation and just get the job done. I wish I did that about everything.
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