I bought these pants in a Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store* at the Mall of America on the advice of a friend who loved them so much she got multiple pairs in every available color, and she was right, they're great, especially for wearing over a wet swimsuit, or in a kayak because they're so thin and dry so fast. I don't always think about that trip when I wear them, especially since it's been so long since the actual trip - 10 years, I think - but sometimes I do. There was the house we stayed in, owned by a minor rock star and rented by my friend who loved the pants and her girlfriend, where every room was painted a different color. There was a high-concept fusion restaurant with mean fortune cookies and cocktail monkeys, and there was a slightly terrifying flash flood that totaled a nearly-brand-new car and forced us to walk I-forget-how-far through what I remember as more-than-knee-high water after the engine cut out and we noticed water rising from the floorboards. Or maybe that was another trip to Minneapolis; I think there were three altogether. One of them was a frigid spring break, cosmic payback for the time the friend who loved the pants visited me in Boston on her
spring break just in time for the April Fool's Day blizzard of 1997. Anyway, it was a long time ago that I bought these pants, and I wear them a lot, especially over wet swimsuits and in kayaks. The fly is not a zipper, or buttons, it is velcro
, which is a tiny bit of absurdity in public restrooms that only add to the charm of the pants.
I wore them last year on a hike on Cat Ba island, which is mostly limestone with a glaze of topsoil and vegetation and people. At some point during the hike I banged my thigh against some exposed rock. I didn't notice the scraped-up bruise until that night, and I didn't notice the small rip in the fabric of the pants until days later, when it took some thinking to figure out how it might have gotten there. The rip is hard to spot, just barely large enough for a finger to fit through, and I keep meaning to sew it shut, but I haven't gotten around to it, and I still keep wearing them. I wore them on a pack-in-your-own-water-but-sleep-under-a-r
eal-roof camping trip last month, and I'll pack them for this next trip. Probably while I'm away I'll buy some other article of clothing or useful object that will fit itself into my wardrobe or my habits and I'll think about where it came from for a while, but maybe I'll keep it for so long, or use it for so often that it's just there
, and every once in a while I'll remember where it came from while packing it up to take on another trip and lament that some day it will fall apart completely. In the meantime, I'm gonna wear these pants. But I should really sew up that fucking rip.* I happened to be in a location of the same Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store last night, trying on pants. Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store is particularly guilty of vanity sizing to the point where I now habitually pull clothes from the kids section to try on. According to Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store, I am a boys size 12 or 14 and that is fucking ridiculous, especially because Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store has this totally obnoxious policy where they don't carry plus sizes in their physical stores because they, I dunno, want to keep fat customers hidden, but sell dudes pants with an advertised waist size of, like, 36" that are actually 41". You are weirdly hypocritical, Crappy Fast Fashion Chain Store!