Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fashion statement - Czech it out

I don't do fashion. Not interesting. I go to stores with sales, but my favorite clothes seem to be discards left in the laundry room. I can't find shoes that fit anyway. I used to wear black, but in SoHo everyone wears black, to prove they're nonconformists, and I'm rather fond of colors, so I am the only conformist in SoHo.

But I have one whimsy: soccer scarves. They are colorful, they are inexpensive, you can find them anyplace on earth except in the U.S. I buy them whenever I travel outside the U.S. and I wear them according to the nationality of the opera I am going to hear, or the restaurant I am going to eat at, or whatever doesn't clash with my jacket. (Mario, in Herzegovina, tells me there's a store where I can get them all. Unfortunately, it's in China, near the factory where they are all made.) Anyway, they're great for inspiring conversations in waiters and tourists who think I am a fan (or double-dyed enemy) of their home team, and I get jolly conversations out of it, which are among my great soul-soothers in any case.

Today I was wearing - for no good reason but the colors are pretty: blue, red, yellow - the Prague scarf. I was dizzy from copy editing in the Vandam Diner (and having a brainstorm I wanted to run home and write down for my novella), and I did not know what to make of the three big bruisers staring at me and saying, "Porto?" Obviously they had mistaken me for someone else (who else might I logically be?), so I hurried around the corner and there were four more guys - big bruisers in similar colors and caps - "Czech" prominently ran a (checkered) lapel - who stared and grinned at me: "Porto?" they said. By this time I looked down and found I was indeed wearing the Czech national scarf (I can't be sure until I look), and then I grinned self-consciously (for having led them on) and then I hurried up the block - not quite fast enough to miss three more great big footballer types - the team? or just fans? is there a game on? where do soccer teams play in New York? I had no idea they even bothered. I thought they just sort of hung out in bars with 24-hour cable hookups to watch the games in Ankara and Sydney and Valparaiso. I don't even know the proper drink for such excursions. ("Beer," Nora advises - she was in Berlin, doing grad work on Gluck, while the Cup was in contention, and had a blast.)

You will be surprised to hear I made it home without a soccer player in tow. It does make me sigh - slightly.


david santos said...

Great posting and great Story!
Thank you.
I loved this blog.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

"I used to wear black, but in SoHo everyone wears black, to prove they're nonconformists, and I'm rather fond of colors, so I am the only conformist in SoHo."

You know, this is the kind of thing that, as a writer, I recognize as kind of self-indulgent writing... but, damn, I liked reading it. It was well said, and I enjoyed it... *big grin*

Seumas Gagne said...

There are always risks in expropriating other people's symbols. Americans are champions at that particular sport.

infanttyrone said...

Yeah, Dude, like the Cat kitty said, you were fitting right in, no?

Forget the shaggy spy story about the Czech bouncing...these were
real-life footballers for $&*^sake.
you coulda been problematicized in extremis

Doctor Optimismo