And so it goes that Pete came home from an early morning photo shoot with the crotch totally ripped out of his pants and barely hanging on his waist.
Anyone who saw him that morning might have guessed he was doing a walk of shame after a night that was very very good or very very bad. Truth was he was hopping a fence (in an area he probably shouldn’t have been – shhhhh) and the thin red pants ripped mid-hop.
“That’s it!” he said, “I’m down to two pairs of pants.”
I shouldn’t have laughed given the paltry state of my own wardrobe (although c’mon, he looked hilarious, but sorry ladies, no photos), as I sat there in sleeping shorts that I had bought in Bolivia six years back. The elastic was gone and the shorts sometimes only stayed up by one butt cheek. I have a big hole in one of my short leather boots. I have only two pairs of pants myself and one sweater has been snagged all to hell. All of my dresses are becoming faded and out of shape. We’re about to go to Hawaii and my beloved pair of flip flops was destroyed in Tanzania.
Damn it. It’s time to go shopping. We couldn’t put it off any longer.
I remember a time when shopping for new clothes was my therapy and my wardrobe was a work of art. Now, after over 6 years of living out of only 60 litres of space, I have such a strict set of guidelines for my clothing purchases that it takes all fun out of the task and sometimes renders it impossible:
– Clothes can’t be white. (Or at least, I must accept that they won’t be white for long as we routinely wash all of our clothing in one load.)
– They can’t be bulky or heavy.
– They must be multi-purpose and be able to span multiple seasons. The best solution I have found for this is to get short-sleeved cotton dresses that can be paired with a light sweater and leggings in winter.
– Leggings must be those made for sports without looking like they are made for sports (or else they will barely make it six months).
– Sandals are best in a metallic colour so that they can go from the beach to looking somewhat dressy. (Yes, I realize I am dreaming if I think that my new metallic gold Havaianas are dressy, but I have to work with what I’ve got.)
Gone are the days when shopping didn’t have to be strictly practical. And overall, I am completely okay with that. I don’t miss having a big wardrobe (although I would kill to wear a pair of tall boots some days), and I think I’ve managed to strike a balance between being homeless but not looking homeless as best I can.
Most days I don’t mind. But then there are the shopping days.
Here in Portugal’s second biggest city of Porto, the shopping options are surprisingly slim. There is one long shopping street, but if I have to shop, I want a mall. I want to have a bunch of stores in one place that I can browse quickly because my tolerance for shopping these days lasts about one hour. After that hour, my mood evolves into a state similar to hangriness (can I call it shangriness?) where if I don’t finish my task immediately someone’s head is going to be chewed off.
We found a mall nearby and stopped for lunch along the way (so that I wouldn’t get hangry AND shangry at the same time – which could turn into a super hybrid state of HASHangriness and would likely cause the fall of stock markets the following day). The mall itself was only a handful of stores and as suspected, nearly useless for my clothing needs. A quick tour found no dresses (of course, it’s autumn!) and as cute as those bulky sweaters were, one of them would take up all of the space in my bag. I couldn’t be bothered to try and replace my sleep shorts or find supplemental leggings.
Pete had no problem. His pants count is now up to three.
I also found no flip flops inside (save for the Crocs versions – AND I DON’T CARE HOW COMFORTABLE YOU SAY THEY ARE – I have some self-respect and refuse to wear them in public), and so I left empty-handed. Although we managed to be in and out in under an hour, so at least my shangriness was kept in check.
Across the street, a magnificent shoe store, and I bought the last pair of metallica Havaianas which happened to be in my size.
All such successes must be celebrated.
We’ll worry about the rest later.
Want to see more behind-the-scenes posts “in real time”? Go here!