“You have a spot on your pants.”
I was headed out the door and the Pocket Babe touched a spot on the right leg of my light-colored Dockers. She was right. As I looked…as we both looked, there were actually several spots on my pants. She had noted the most obvious one.
“That’s okay. No worries”, I said and off I went. As I drove away and headed into town for a short meeting, I began to realize why I was not concerned about a spot on my pants.
For the vast majority of my working life, I was a suit and tie guy. I was no clothes freak, by any means, and cared nothing about labels or brands. But, I did want to look good. I needed to look good and professional during that part of my life.
Like most men, I hated to shop. I had a favorite clothing store that did things exactly right. They knew most men hated to shop so they kept a file on their regular customers that noted preferences, styles, colors and sizes. I would simply call my sales person and tell her I was coming by at a particular time and what I needed. When I arrived, she would have at least 3 complete outfits displayed atop one of several large countertops. Coats, trousers, and a variety of shirts and tie combinations, all perfectly and stylishly matched. In just a few minutes, I would make my selections and they would double check my measurements, telling me to stop back in a couple of days and the alterations would be complete. In 30 minutes or less, I was done. Now…THAT’S how to shop!
In those days, I drove a nice, clean car on smooth paved roads. I walked on asphalt or concrete parking lots into glass and steel buildings and sat on nicely upholstered furniture sitting upon carpeted floors with air conditioning regulating temperature and humidity. I lived and worked in a relatively clean cocoon, even while living in Alaska.
These days, as a retired guy living in San Vicente on the coast of Ecuador, I live in a much different environment. The road system in San Vicente is dirt and is in a perpetual state of improvement. That means clouds of billowing dust around numerous pot holes and detours that change hourly. Both the interior and exterior of our car (Rocky) is coated with layers of dust and grime. We wash it, wipe it down and within minutes….it’s filthy again. Eventually, the roads will all be paved but until then, they’re not.
Okay, I wish I could blame my spotty pants entirely on the dirty roads but I can’t. The truth is that sometimes, I drop food on them or unconsciously wipe a dirty hand on them. Sometimes a dog will jump up on me to say howdy or the grime fairy makes a special delivery. I honestly have no idea how they get so damned dirty.
You know what? I guess I just don’t care about a couple of spots on my pants. They are still absolutely functional. Unless they are horribly dirty, I try to wear my pants for at least 2 days. All the other stuff gets changed daily but pants…they gotta’ do at least two days.
Water is a resource here on Ecuador’s coast that needs to be carefully utilized. Before living here, I’ve never even considered the scarcity of water. It was always plentiful and inexpensive. Now, I consider it. I wash my hands in a trickle of water and try to use shower water sparingly. I don’t flush after every pee. Now…I finally care.
I’m not claiming that I wear dirty pants only to save water, but it does cut down on laundry. So…if you see me and you happen to note a few spots on my pants, feel free to point them out. I’ll probably say that I’m retired and I don’t give a damn!
But if you ever see me wearing Bermuda shorts with knee-high socks and open-toed sandals, just kill me on the spot!