Whistle Britches

Andrew and I were wandering through the clearance section in men’s clothing at Macy’s when we spotted them. A row of corduroy pants in vivid orange and royal blue.

“No one wants the whistle britches,” Andrew commented.

“Do you think they have my size?” I asked. I love a bargain.

“Please, no.”

Andrew does not like to draw attention, and it’s hard to be discreet when you’re dressed in colors loud as caution flags. Plus, everyone would hear the swish-swish of your legs, making it impossible to sneak up on anyone.

I had an entire corduroy outfit in Ninth Grade. The brown pants and matching tunic were hand sewn by a seamstress my mother worked for, cleaning her house. They worked out an exchange, my mother scrubbed and in return the seamstress fashioned my freshman year wardrobe. I don’t remember the rest of the clothing from that year, but the brown corduroy set was extraordinary. I must have resembled a large teddy bear swooshing down the hallways of my high school. Either that, or a giant, rustling paper bag.

I bought a purse at the mall, from one of those pop-up kiosks. An unusual transaction for me, as I usually race-walk past those shops before I’m attacked with a salt scrub or an offer to clean my glasses.

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The purses, however, caught my eye with their loveliness. Handwoven by women of the Wayuu tribe in Columbia, each bag resembled more a work of art than a place to stash your lip balm and that paperback you’ve been carrying around for six months. Dazzled by the dozens of bags, I pulled out my credit card (not an easy task as it was buried in the IKEA backpack I tote when I visit the mall).

The saleswoman couldn’t get her payment processing software to work with the mall’s lousy internet service. She tried standing in the doorway of a nearby shop and leeching off their connection, while I wondered if dozens of strange purchases would pop up on my Capital One account. I offered to scoot down to the ATM and bring back cash. At the last minute I remembered the purse, wrapped and tucked in my IKEA backpack. I handed it back to the saleswoman with a teary-eyed promise to return, like Odysseus at the start of his journey to Troy.

You can find out more about the purses here, and even buy one if you have a good internet connection.

https://tamboraexchange.com/wayuu-people

The purse I took home –

 

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