methow grist 2011-2014 archive



Half a century or more ago in my father’s flower shop, I learned that it was bad taste to mix pink with red flowers. Later I discovered that green and blue colors were never to be married. And overriding these dictums was the admonition that one never, NEVER mixed plaids with any other patterned clothing.

These no-no’s came to mind on a mild noontime as I walked to the road to collect our emptied garbage can. As cars went by in both directions, it came to me that I was wearing my pajama bottoms, a not-quite tartan pattern in shades of brown and tan with blue highlights. Above this apparel on my upper body was a gaudy red, orange and yellow cowboy shirt with pearl snaps. As noted, it was a mild day and I wore no upper outwear than this shirt.

I thought of this gaffe and those driving by. It was a ski weekend and I envisioned the vehicles’ occupants in logoed Lycra gear, staring at the garish concentration of color and pattern and looking aghast at the approaching apparition of bad taste.

Over the years, pink and red somehow became an acceptable combination. If not Frederick and Nelson department stores in the 60s mixing green and blue in their ads and gift boxes, the current Seattle Seahawks’ colors are proof that fashionable combinations can and do change—but not plaids and contrasting palates of opposing colors.

But I make no excuses. I was wearing PJ’s because they are comfortable. I was working indoors and anyhow, who cared? I guess that would be at the least, myself. I shook off the self-administered shame, got the garbage can and resumed my indoor duties.

Pajamas are wonderful garments. Not too many years ago, layering clothing for added warmth leapt upon the outdoor scene as the next best invention since sliced bread or Viagra. Of course, primitive people eons ago knew the secret of layering, practiced it and survived to become our ancestors. But in their day there were no ad agencies, no cave-to-cave clothing store competition.

Today one can buy various objects of layering in prices ranging from very cheap to over two hundred dollars. Like some fleece vests. Or tight-fitting, thermal pants and under garments. Top and bottom pajamas are a lot cheaper and in many ways more practical.

Had the day I wore my egregious ensemble been cold, I probably would have pulled a pair of jeans on over the pajamas, whereupon the latter became a component of layering. They are flannel, have a soft fuzziness, an easily accessible fly, and lead to a more efficient means of preparing for bed at night. Underwear is an option whether for additional layering, habit or compulsion.

Pajamas have become so popular as outerwear that some stores and mail-order companies have been marketing what they call “lounge pants.” These are essentially pajama bottoms of varying degrees of heft, and pockets on either side. No drawstring tighteners, these have 360 degree elastic. I tried a pair and discovered that my wallet caused them to list about twenty degrees to port at that place on which I sit.

You might want to give it a try. Even in summer, like when you’re mowing the lawn, a pair of PJs will keep the sun from scorching your legs, keep burrs from invading your skin, and if you choose a wretched enough color pattern, most likely will scare off the rattlesnakes in the tall grass.


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