Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seattle, Birthplace of Men Who Wear Sweatshirts Under Blazers...

As I sat at the table with my eggnog yerba mate latte and a piece of vanilla cranberry bread after clocking out, I did a bit of people watching. Coffee shops are ever the most enticing places to people watch. Sitting, leaned over a small round table, the heat from the coffee seeping through a paper cup to warm your hands; the mind cannot help but wander. And wander it does, sedated to the point of acute complacency, where the only things it computes are the actions of the people around you.
The man at the table in front of me is writing a novel; I read the Microsoft Document containing his work over his shoulder. He will never know that I have seen his novel.
The man from the ASPCA across the street is cheerfully chatting up the passersby, hoping to get a petition of some sort signed.
The guy running the ClearWire internet booth outside the store is packing up his table in preparation for the coming rain.

Tens of other people sit packed into this Tully's all deeply engrossed in their individual delusions of ownership, which are in turn rooted in the actions of the other people in that same atmosphere. To each and every one of us in there, the Tully's was our own space, where each one of us was king for the time being.

The simplicity of sitting...sitting and taking in, not putting anything out. Just absorbing everything that's going on in a passive, neutral way.
It is surprising, the surge of inspiration that arises from such times. My head hasn't entirely figured out what to do with this new found energy, but I am glad for the fresh air.
My mind was growing a little stale.

Ahhh, yes. Men who wear sweatshirts under blazers. I remember having a conversation with my father lately about how certain fashions one sees in other cities originated here. I couldn't quite place my finger on what the style I was referring to is called, and still don't know if there is a proper name. Today, as I sat in the Tully's, absorbing and doing a bit of simple thinking, I saw a man begin to cross the crosswalk who was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with white drawstrings underneath a grey blazer, complete with tightish brown cords and the doublestriped sneakers. To top it all off, the man had a beard.
The epitome of the style born of Seattle. It would have been perfect had he been listening to his iPod, carrying a cup of coffee, and toting a messenger bag. Whatever the name for this style, I found it amusing. I rather like it, I must say, but I found my mind thinking quite a bit about the connotations and undertones of this particular statement of dress.
All fashions have something they want to say. I mean "fashion" as a broad umbrella term meaning the things that one wears. I would hardly consider myself a "fashionable" type in the ordinary sense of the word. But the things I wear definitely speak of my character, and so the same is true for a whole genre of style.

So I find myself wondering tonight...what is it about this style that is so inviting? So lovable, like that scrawny kid with glasses playing his heart out on a basketball court in big, thick-rimmed glasses, converse, and a sweatband. What is it?

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