1 One Sunday In Perry
2 What the Army Taught Me
3 Not My Mother's Shopping List
4 Brain Calisthenics
5 The Pono Nano Diet
6 Oatmeal Jim-Jams
7 A Walk in the Park
8 Escape to California
10 Printer's Devil
11 Pono - The Addict
13 Love in the Woods
14 It's a Small World
15 Culinary Crutches
16 We Want Sandin
17 Better With Age
18 Parallel Universes
19 Mårten Nilsson Finne
20 Hawaii Is A State
21 Shake-em-up Flashlight
22 The Use of E-mail
23 Normal American Schoolboy
24 Lake Gogebic Early Days
BETTER WITH AGE
Upon graduation from high school, I think I received 3 or maybe even 4 wallets. It was years and years later that I took the last of these out of storage and put it into service. Wallets tend to mold themselves to one’s body in a way that is so comfortable it’s like a skin graft. Of course this process takes a long time, but once it completes it takes a calamity to force change.
About four years ago, my current wallet started deteriorating. The plastic pockets for cards started splitting so the cards would slip out. I got caught in a rain on the golf course one day and failed to put the wallet in the plastic bag I carry for that purpose, so it took a while to dry and of course the leather suffered. Nevertheless, some sticky tape kept my cards in place, time dried the leather, constant use smoothed the rough spots, and it is still in service today. Soon after the wetting incident, I purchased a new clone of that wallet and it is sitting quietly in my dresser drawer awaiting its turn to become the next (maybe even the last) Pono skin graft.
I’ve been in Hawaii for more than 13 years now (can you believe that?). When I got here I had a pair of sandals that I purchased many years ago when we vacationed here. They were decent looking, but not meant for real use, mostly just to be seen. I did some research and decided on Teva sandals, based on their sturdy looks and recommendations from my kids. I bought a blue pair and wore them occasionally during my work years, when I continued to wear shoes most of the time. After a while I found a flaw in the front strap and complained to Teva. They wanted to replace them, even though it had been quite a while, but I never got around to returning them. Instead, on a trip to the mainland I found a place that had the same ones on sale and immediately purchased a brown pair.
The brown ones immediately became a part of me. They float over and mold themselves to my feet when I even think about going outside. They are total comfort!
Now those brown Tevas have just gone south. Both soles have split and are dripping parts as I walk. The Velcro ankle straps have lost their pizzazz. Other straps have loose threads trailing. I will be forced to replace them.
Since my retirement, I’ve been wearing sandals constantly. I estimate that I’ve put 4,444.22 miles on that brown pair. I’ve walked on ‘a’ā and pāhoehoe lava, rocky trails and sandy beaches, in (and on) water, and on lots of sidewalks and roads. But hey, I’ve also worn them on ceramic tile and carpets. Why would they give out so quickly?
I will buy another pair of Tevas, but I will not throw the brown ones away. Duct tape will resole them and an on line place that keeps sending me e-mails has a medication that promises to put the cro back in my velcro. A careful “haircut” will get rid of the loose threads and I’ll bet I can get another 444 miles out of them. At that rate I’ll approach a penny a mile!
Ropy pāhoehoe lava
Shirts are another issue. About 20 years ago, Clae bought me some shirts for knock-around wear and I fell in love with them. They fit my pear shaped torso in a way that is almost sensuous. They are Panhandle Slims (no comment, please), permanent press, short sleeve, western style, with pearl snaps instead of buttons. I don’t know how many of them I’ve owned over the years, but I have 24 in my closet at the moment.
There are six “new” ones that I save for “best” (remember, this is Hawaii). The next group consists of about nine. They are worn for “everyday away from home”. The lower rod also has about nine. These are used for “everyday at home” when I don’t expect to be seen by anyone.
The everyday away from home group contains one very special shirt. It is the one I grabbed on Thanksgiving night 2004 when I called 911 to take me to hospital. It served me when I came back home after two weeks, when I returned to hospital for reattachment surgery in February 2005, for each of my 12 chemotherapy treatments, for my port removal and hernia repair, and for a number of doctor visits since. I seldom wear it for any other activity.
Another of this group also stands apart. I really dislike it, so it misses its “turn” very often. The consequence of this is that it will last (and torment me) forever.
I think you can see that I’m very comfortable with these shirts (except for the odd-ball). So, what’s the problem? The “new” ones are in fine shape, since I just don’t do “best” things very often. The everyday-away ones are showing wear. The collar-stiffeners are wearing through the cloth, the pocket corners have little holes, and the fabric is getting thinner with each laundering. I typically leave the house for errands twice a week, so even with their aging, that set could last for quite a while.
However, the at-home set is in sad shape. Not one of them is whole. They range from well worn to tattered. One is so ripped up I have trouble untangling it after washing. I snicker every time I wear it ‘cause I’m beating the system. The screen on the drier has a few threads on it after a load of these shirts but almost no lint. I carefully put them on hangars after washing, but the hangars threaten to make new holes so I have to be careful. I just took a potty break and after washing my hands I noticed that I must have flexed my powerful back muscles while writing – I now have a slit in the middle of the back on this shirt, too.
One day I need to take a deep breath, steel myself, grit my teeth, gird my loins, gather my nerve, firm up my resolve, harden my heart, and burn every shirt from the bottom rod! No, they would not make decent rags. The snaps are a problem and the material is so thin it just doesn’t absorb liquid anymore. And if they were still in the house, one of them might sneak out of the rag bag and slip on me when I wasn’t looking. Meantime I put a clean one on each “at home” morning and giggle.
Here are my six “best” shirts.
My “lucky” shirt My least favorite
The word obsessed comes to mind, but I don’t think it applies to me. I COULD move on from these things . . . I’m just not gonna!
So what’s the lesson? (Do Ponograms need lessons?) It takes a while to develop comfortable relationships with clothes and other things. However, once that comfort level develops, we barely see the flaws and defects in them. I suppose the same is true of people – after all, I still like you!
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