I was going to write about cleaning closets, a chore I generally put off until the spiders demand maid service, which I began providing at 5 this morning after I was wakened from a deep sleep by incessant claps of thunder and the renting of skies. But what I really want is to find a Marimekko dealer. It is time to replace the long striped gowns that I've had since about 1979. When I stretched the vacuum hose across the stack of shoes, I heard a tearing sound that was not in my back, but on my back. The renting of fabric. Before too long, the bottom half of this tee is going to separate from the top half.
But I don't want to let it go. I can't bear using rags made out of clothing that has seen me through most of my life. Old clothes are not only the most comfortable clothes, they are the most comforting clothes. They conform to your body, whereas new clothes demand your body conform to them. Eventually, your body wins out. But it takes years.
And those years matter. There is nothing like the satisfaction of breaking in your own clothes, as anyone who was a teenager in the seventies knows. Remember how we used to scrape our nails across the knees of our jeans? Wash them endlessly till they wore thin? Patched our boyfriend's sweaters at the elbows? Or picked a thumb through the cuff of a long sleeve? I am not too embarrassed to tell you that only a couple of years ago, I went to the Gap for new jeans (when my knee went all the way through). I pawed through the piles, brought some styles back to the dressing room, and realized with horror that some of the clothing was filthy, and torn. I took the stack up to the cashier.
"You have some defective items on your shelves. Or possibly a gang of bad girls left their old jeans here and took new ones. I just want to let you know. They have holes in them. And they look dirty."
She looked at me in awe. She had never seen a live alien before.
"They're supposed to be that way."
I'm not going to wax on about how nightgowns carry my history, as I've already done that in Slow Love. Instead, for those of you who know exactly what I'm talking about, I offer a link to the most-excellent Mary Chapin Carpenter, singing This Shirt. She says it all, about the shirt that was a pillow for a weary head, and a place to keep cigarettes, and a place where a cat gave birth to five. And a place with a tear in the sleeve where she wore her heart.
Joan Baez, Stones in the Road, and another to MCC and Shawn Colvin at ZooTunes in Seattle recently, singing That's the Way Love Goes. And while Joan Baez is on my mind, (picture swiped from the net, courtesy Henry Diltz) may I say that every time I listen to her singing Sweet Sir Galahad at Woodstock my throat thickens with memories of torn jeans, worn elbows, frayed cuffs, and leather headbands. Here's to the dawn of their days... This is what comes of getting up too early, finding myself adrift on the slow, wide River of YouTube. But I do wish I had grown up to be a dj.
Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, and I was a goner. Not only did the movie fry my tiny feminist brain on the subject of marriage, men and relationships, but it catapulted me out of my Lanz phase into the long horizontal striped cotton tee shirt phase that seems not to have abated, with the exceptional appearance of silk gowns in scenes from love affairs. (And if you have to ask about Lanz, you probably did not go to summer camp, or live in a girl's dorm.)
That Liv. Could anyone make depression look sexier?
(Whoa. What's this? A real-time experience of New Age Internet Spying. Moments after typing in Slow Love, above, I got an email from Amazon. "Looking for a memoir?" say they. "No, not really," say I. Coincidence? I don't think so. But while I'm on the subject, feel free to add only glowing reviews to the Amazon group.)
For years now, I've contemplated replacing a couple of these tees (I have four) but I know perfectly well that I'll just buy a new one, and add it to the old pile. There were a few decades during which they were impossible to find, but they're back again, probably due to the demand of all us moms who liked the cotton stuff from Hanna Andersson we were putting on our babies better than the stuff we could find for ourselves.
Speaking of which, I made a trip to the Banana recently to find new shorts, Theo having made off with a few of mine, which, admittedly, I originally made off with but that was years ago, so by rights....Banana Republic is selling fabulous plaids in muted and unusual color combinations. But only in the Men's Department. I'm cool with that--and probably it means Theo will take his pick of my shopping--so I load up on shorts, a great shirt, and pants. All classic but modern, so to sales speak. Then I mosied down to the Women's Department just to make sure they didn't have something that would fit better, and I was sort of shocked. Do Banana men and women live on the same planet? In the same decade?
The men's stuff is durable (but why must they put the buttons on the wrong side?) and classic. The women's stuff is backless, frontless, lengthless, neckless, sleeveless, and flimsy and ruffled. Are women expected only to be able to topple into their martinis? Weird.
It is a lucky thing, in a way, that I didn't have daughters. My child-rearing repertoire would have been reduced to one line: "You aren't going out in that." Which, come to think of it, is what I would say about myself in my torn and tattered gowns.