September 5th, 2006

self portrait

Interesting fashion choices

Last week I observed two distinctly different fashion choices by pedestrians in downtown Minneapolis.

The first was a young black man in sweat pants and an athletic jersey. Now, normally this would not be worthy of notice. You can see many people in similar attire every day. They span economic strata and race. It is a casual style that reflects some measure of both the physical activity of the wearer and a certain esprit de corps by association with a professional athletic team.

In this case, however, the young man had one leg of the sweats pulled up to the knee. The left knee, specifically. I watched him walk for at least two blocks with this arrangement. At first it seemed he had a slight limp and so I thought he perhaps had a brace of some kind on the left ankle. No, just an athletic sock. He seemed unconcerned with his unorthodox style, for which I can only salute his self-confidence and daring.

I wonder, idly, if this style might catch on and become some form of signaling among subcultures in the way that colored bandannas can be used. The height to which on raises the leg of their sweats and which leg one chooses to raise could carry all manner of information about the individual.

The second individual was a young white woman. She wore a pretty floral dress of the type that one often sees during the summer. Not being familiar with all the parameters of female fashion choices I would call it a sun dress, but I could be mistaken in that characterization. Again, not an unusual choice in itself.

The thing that drew my attention, however, was her choice of footwear: knee-high black boots.

The boots themselves weren't something that I would have found unusual. I see, fairly frequently, young women in dresses or short skirts wearing boots that look like they could do some serious ass kicking. What this particular woman's outfit was lacking, however, was the sense of rebellion or deliberate irony that usually goes along with that look. Again, not being a woman I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that at least some of the women I see in this sort of attire choose it precisely because of the apparent dichotomy between the femininity of the skirt and the toughness of the boots. They usually accent that dichotomy with an otherwise eclectic wardrobe. Hello Kitty t-shirts, multi-colored striped tights and accessories with a carefully distressed look are typical.

Perhaps this young woman was simply taking it to the extreme, putting a very feminine dress deliberately with extremely butch boots. Perhaps the boots were her only pair of shoes and she wore the dress to appease a traditionalist family at the function she was attending. More likely it is somewhere in-between, as so many things are; I'll never truly know and have to take what joy I can in the mystery and diversity of life.
self portrait

Quiet night

It's quiet here tonight. Ericka is off at a sleep study at HCMC to check up on her sleep apnea and how well her bi-pap is doing. The initial report is that the pulmonologist thinks the two values of pressure in the bi-pap are not far enough apart for her. They also think she may be having trouble ridding her system of CO2, resulting in some aphasia and other complications. This is consistent with what I know about her COPD, so it makes sense to me.

Ericka being gone, however, means that there is no whooshing of the bi-pap, no thrumming of the oxygen concentrator, no hum of a fan to cool her off. It's weird.

She should be home tomorrow some time, though they may keep her for additional tests if things aren't conclusive.

Young Fashioned Ways--Muddy Waters--The Anthology: 1947-1972
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