I had a lovely trip to the coast: managed to get in three hikes, saw several friends (and met a new one), stuffed my face with good food (including the Mexican food I’d been craving), saw Prometheus (and guffawed over the “science” in the film), and generally loved being back in my old stomping grounds.
On several occasions, the differences between my old Oregon coast hometown and my new Portuguese hometown smacked me in the face. I could make a lonnnng post listing them all, but one that really impressed me was the difference in dress.
The Portuguese draw a distinct line between home clothes and street clothes. My wife won’t set foot out our door unless she’s dressed to be seen by others. I can’t even convince her to help me take out the recycling after dark if she’s in sweatpants, and no amount of protesting that the neighbors won’t be able to see makes any difference. Our housekeeper arrives for her once-per-week cleaning session in better clothing than many of the people I saw in Newport. Nobody, but nobody in my little corner of Portugal would ever think about going to the store dressed in sweatpant shorts, unlaced tennis shoes, and a baggy, untucked football jersey (or wifebeater undershirt). But that’s exactly what I saw while running errands. Some outfits were one step above pajamas, while others appeared determined to offend.
No, I didn’t see this exact shirt, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.
At its heart, Newport is a fishing town, full of hard-working people who get dirty on the job. So there’s a certain amount of practicality involved in some of these style choices, but that doesn’t explain all of them.
And now I’m trying to remember if I ever ran to the store in sweatpants while living in Newport. I have a feeling the answer might be yes. It’s a sign of how much my new home has rubbed off on me that I would never consider doing so now.
(Photo from the People of Wal-Mart web site.)