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Comments Off on Our Town – November 29, 2012

Our Town – November 29, 2012

| Clothing, Our Town | November 29, 2012

“Do you know,” said Rocky to the Soupster, whom he had trapped in the supermarket’scanned-beans-and-tomato aisle, “that when they recently measured the major U.S. cities to see which was the laziest, they counted how many people wear sweatpants?”

“Couldn’t those people just be returning from the gym?” the Soupster asked.

Rocky reached forward and vigorously snapped the elastic waistband of the navy blue sweatpants the Soupster wore. “Were you just returning from the gym?” he asked, pithily.

“Well…” said the Soupster.

“Wearing sweatpants may be a sign of the decline of the American Century,” wailed Rocky.

“You’re taking this extremely seriously,” the Soupster told him. “They’re just cheap, comfortable pants.”

“You’ll see,” said Rocky, turning the corner and heading for the dog food aisle.

Rocky had his effect. The Soupster suddenly felt naked in his sweat pants. He wore the indelible proof of his sloth, visible to everyone. And what was worse, the place where Rocky had snapped his waistband did not go back to its normal shape. Now his pants felt like they were starting to slip.

The Soupster had stopped wearing sweatpants until they fell apart (although he was still tolerably tolerant of sock holes). He had stopped wearing light blue or gymnasium grey sweats, figuring black and navy were more respectful.

Respectful! So he did feel apologetic. And as the idea formed in his brain, it felt as though the waistband of his now-cursed pants slid down another half inch.

The Soupster cradled the can of beans and two cans of tomatoes in one arm and yanked his waistband up with the other hand. But as even the Soupster knew, yanking upone side of a pair of sagging sweatpants does not help them stay up – it may even be counterproductive.

Those who know, know that the worst sweatpant accidents occur soon after trying to yank the pants up by one side. The Soupster would take no chances. He held up the sweatpants at the waist with one hand, while he paid for his groceries and carried out the bag in his other hand.

There’s a walk you can do to minimize the pants’ desire to slip and the Soupster did it. Yet, by the time he reached the side of his car, it was but his hand that held the pants aloft.

He should have put the grocery bag down and used that hand to fiddle with the car doorhandle. He should have kept his grip on his waistband no matter what. And he certainly should have looked around before he embarked on any plan to get the groceries into the car and keep his pants up. But he didn’t.

The Soupster let go of his waistband to open the car door and his pants slid all the waydown to his ankles.

Rocky, who had left the store behind the Soupster, walked over and stared wordlessly. Finally, he spoke. “Soupster,” said Rocky, “Even for you, this is low.”

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 9, 2012

Our Town – February 9, 2012

| Clothing, Our Town | February 9, 2012

“There is nothing like warm friends, cozy food and a good house,” thought the Soupster as he prepared to bid goodbye and step outside into the competing storm fronts buffeting Our Town from one end to the other.

Leon and his brother Russell threw a great party, but the Soupster had an early date with a daunting list of chores, so before it got too late, he’d better get cracking. He said farewell to his hosts as well as Suzi and Lynn and Phoebe and Rowan and Sue-Ann and Glenn and a bunch of other people he knew even less well.

The Soupster had a little trouble extricating his coat from the tall pile draped on the stairs. He waved a final farewell to his buddies and stepped onto the cold floor of the mudroom to retrieve his XtraTuf boots.

And therein lay the rub(ber)! There were about 20 pairs of boots in the mudroom, every single one of them, XtraTufs. Which set was his?

Only a few pairs were decidedly too big or too small. A few pairs were older and their shine had faded and one had a bad scuff on the toe. But most looked like they would fit the Soupster. For the life of him, the Soupster could not tell his boots from the others.

So the Soupster made the best choice he could. The pair he chose looked to be about the right level of worn. He slipped them on and they fit. He went out the door and into the near gale.

The Soupster pulled his head into his coat collar, like a turtle, against the weather’s onslaught. Did the boots feel a little tight? The Soupster felt himself lurch forward as he slipped on a rock and twisted his ankle slightly. Then he felt someone grab his arm.

“Soupster,” said Rowan, who had come running out of Leon’s house after him. “You’ve got my boots!” The weather was too foul to discuss the matter outside, so the Soupster followed Rowan back into Leon’s mudroom. Rowan showed the Soupster the small image of a sailboat Rowan had inked into the inside tops of the pair to show they were his. He sympathized with the Soupster, but then said “artichoke dip” and disappeared back into the party.

The Soupster was embarrassed. He wanted to get out of that mudroom before anyone saw he had to come back and ask why. He found a left boot that he was sure was his and it fit perfectly. Then, he heard the voices of people rising and getting closer. He hurriedly grabbed the boot next to the left one and, hopping on one leg, quickly pulled the second boot on and headed out the door.

The Soupster’s right ankle felt terrible – he must have really strained it earlier. He hobbled down the front steps and limped toward the street. Again his head made its turtle move into his coat. And again, he felt someone pulling his arm.

“Soupster!” said Rowan, forced to shout over the wind. “I think you’ve made another mistake with the boots.”

“I know the one boot doesn’t feel right,” the Soupster said, “but that’s because I slipped before.”

“That’s not it,” shouted Rowan. “Look down! You’ve got two left boots on!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – October 6, 2011

Our Town – October 6, 2011

| Clothing, Our Town, Small Town Stuff | October 6, 2011

“Soupster, you can’t practice medicine in this state,” said Linda, scratching furiously at the bug bite on the outside of her right calf.

“But I’ve only had one glass of wine,” protested the Soupster.

“I mean in Alaska!” Linda said.

The Soupster brought over a cold pack from his freezer, an elastic bandage and a tube of antibacterial ointment. “I want you to stop scratching that,” he said. “It’s starting to bleed.”

“Bleeding is good,” said Linda. “It’s a different kind of pain than itching, which drives me absolutely crazy.”

“Counter-irritation,” said the Soupster. “You’re absolutely right. Takes your mind off the thing that’s driving you crazy, by replacing it with something that may hurt just as much, but doesn’t drive you quite as crazy.”

“Huh?” said Linda.

The Soupster didn’t answer her, but bent to his work. He carefully daubed off Linda’s bite and, as he applied the antibacterial ointment, asked, “What are the fashion rules for Our Town anyway?”

“Huh?” she repeated.

“Like okay, is there a time when you cannot wear Xtra Tuf boots?”

“That’s a good question, Soupster,” Linda admitted. “Nothing comes to mind. I’ve seen Xtra Tufs at weddings and funerals.”

The Soupster put the cold pack against Linda’s leg. “That feels cold, but good,” she said.

“Any other fashion rules?” said the Soupster, continuing his work

“Well, you should never ever buy anything that would be ruined if it got wet,” said Linda.

“Like suede?”

“Funny you should bring that up,” said Linda. “My favorite pair of shoes started out as suede and now that they’re mushed down they seem even more comfortable.”

The Soupster murmured his assent as he wrapped the elastic bandage around Linda’s calf to hold the cold pack in place.

“I don’t think there’s ever a reason to wear really high heels in Our Town – I mean except for a lark,” mused Linda. “I think men could go their whole lives in Our Town and never have to wear a tuxedo.” She looked at her caregiver’s well-worn shirt. “Soupster, do you own even one suit?”

The Soupster put a white sock over Linda’s foot and stretched it carefully up over the bandage. He stood up to survey his neat work.

“Have you ever even worn a tuxedo, Soupster?” said Linda, an edge to her voice. “Are you even listening to me?”

“I got it,” the Soupster insisted, “Never wear high-heeled Xtra Tufs with a tuxedo in Our Town. Counter-irritation. How does your leg feel now?”

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Comments Off on Our Town – July 30, 2009

Our Town – July 30, 2009

| Ann Wilkinson, Clothing, Crazy Theories, Guest Written, Our Town, Rain, Weather | July 30, 2009

The Soupster hoped the drizzling rain would keep the tourists downtown in the stores of Our Town and not out walking in the Park. The Soupster likes the Park better when it’s quiet. But understands that, for many tourists, this is the one day in their life they can visit The Park of Our Town.

Near the entrance to the walking trails, the Soupster noticed a familiar face, Lizzy, a local nature writer and naturalist.

“What’s all this, Lizzy?” the Soupster asked, walking up to the park bench where Lizzy was sorting large laminated cards.

“Field guides for my students,” Lizzy said, barely looking up from her stacks of cards. “I’m meeting a group of naturalist students here for a walk through The Park. These are field guides to help them identify what-all they see.”

“Good thing they’re laminated,” the Soupster chuckled as he picked up a stack of cards and wiped rain drops off with his sleeve. “Let’s see what you have here, Birds of Alaska, A Field Guide of Southeast Alaska Trees, and one on Flora of the Northwest. Well it looks like you’ve got everything covered.”

“Just about, I want my students to be prepared,” Lizzy said as she added one more card to each of her stacks.

“Would you look at this,“ the Soupster said. “It’s a field guide to clouds and what weather they bring.”

Lizzy laughed, wiping rain off the sleeves of her jacket. “We don’t really need that one. Today, like most days this time of year, we have mostly nimbostratus clouds.”

The Soupster looked at the sky and then the card. “’Nimbostratus: low lying clouds that produce near constant moderate or light rain.’ That’s Our Town.”
Lizzy and the Soupster watched a group of tourists hurry from the Park Visitor’s Center to the canopy of the forest. Another bus load of tourists pulled up to The Park and tourists were scurrying to get out of the showers.

A few locals of Our Town gathered near a totem pole, talking, laughing, oblivious to the rain.

“Those must be your students,” the Soupster said pointing to the small group. “I guess you don’t need a field guide to tell the tourists from the locals.”

Lizzy laughed. “That’s an interesting concept – a field guide of people. Let’s see — the tourists would be identified by their clothing. Impractical footwear, rain ponchos that look like trash bags, umbrellas, and the females carry canvas bags with cruise ship logos. As for their behavior, they are always in a hurry and don’t tolerate rain.”

“And what about the locals?” asked the Soupster.

“That’s easy,” replied Lizzy, looking over at the group of students, “Xtratuf boots, Carhartts, layers of fleece vest and jackets, and no umbrellas.”

“And what about identifiable behavior?”

Lizzy thought for a minute, “Friendly, easy going, and tolerates rain well.”
“That’s Our Town,” said the Soupster as he entered the Park, happy to enjoy the company of the birds, flora and tourists.

– Submitted by Ann Wilkinson

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