Spring comes when I stop wearing flannel-lined pants and long-sleeved undershirts. This year it was the middle of April, the latest I ever remember. Summer comes when I start wearing shorts and T-shirts. That’s usually around mid-May.
My shorts are the “cargo” type that look like British explorers used to wear with pith helmets while exploring the Sahara Desert. I like putting my wallet in one of those low-down pockets with the buttoned flap instead of in the back pocket outside my right butt cheek, and there’s a good reason for this: It hurt when I sat on it no matter what side it was on — quite literally a pain in my butt. Those cargo shorts made life more comfortable.
When traveling in high-crime areas, which could be anywhere outside of Lovell, I used to switch my wallet to my front-left pocket to confuse pickpockets. That worked fine for decades, but now I carry an iPhone in that pocket and there isn’t enough room for the wallet anymore. The right-front pocket is for my pocket knife, change, and car keys when I’m somewhere outside of Lovell and can’t leave them in the ignition. In fall, when I switched back to jeans or Dickies chinos, my wallet had to go in the back again.
To mitigate the pain in my butt, I tried reducing the size of my wallet by discarding “discount” cards for Rite Aid, Home Depot, Shaw’s, and all the rest. Then I took out photos, and carried just my driver’s license, concealed weapon permits for Maine and New Hampshire, two credit cards, and cash. That reduced the butt pain, but didn’t entirely eliminate it. Then I started putting business cards in my wallet. First I carried only five, but I’d forget to replace them after giving them out.
|There's actually a name for this: Piriformis Syndrome. Who knew?|
Another complication was that I have two versions. There’s the politically correct card which says: “Opinionist” and lists my blog and contact information. Then there’s the politically incorrect card which says: “Heterosexual White Guy Journalists Association,” listing me as founder and president and containing the same contact information. Carrying several of each version made for a fat wallet again and the pain in my butt worsened commensurately.
That was when I bought some cargo pants to wear after it cooled again in fall. Like the cargo shorts, they have nice low-down pockets with buttoned flaps on each side — one on the left for my fat wallet, and one on the right for a small spiral notebook, a pen and a mechanical pencil. That pocket has a little gap in the button-down flap for the pencil to stick up through.
But then it started to get really cold again in mid-November. That’s when I needed my Carhartt flannel-lined jeans, and my Dickies flannel-lined khakis that functioned for dress up here in rural Maine. I really liked those pants, except that the fat wallet was back on my right butt cheek giving me that pain again whenever I sat down for more than ten minutes. What to do?
Well, I was food-shopping with my wife at a Super Walmart in Windham and I was done with my list. Waiting for her to finish, guess what I saw? Their men’s department is right next to the food department, and hanging right there were some Wrangler 34X30, fleece-lined cargo pants — exactly my size! I bought three pairs. There was only one color but I didn’t care, and I wore them all last winter — every single day, I think. No more pain in the butt! What’s not to like?
|I hate these|
Well, just one thing. It’s another kind of pocket problem. The regular, old-fashioned pocket on the right-hand side of the cargo pants that I put my pocket knife and change into? It’s got sections — for whatever purpose I cannot fathom. When I put my hand down there to scoop out some change, there’s a flap between the two sections and I can’t get all the change out with one scoop. Some gets caught in the other section. I have to dump the first handful of change on the counter, then reach in again to scoop out the quarters or dimes in the other section. Then I’ve got to count coins right there on the counter, slide them over to the clerk, then pick up the rest one coin at a time, along with any lint that came out with them, then put them all back in the sectioned pocket again. There’s usually a line behind me at the checkout by the time I’m done, and I get self-conscious about how long I take to do all this with them watching me.
So now I’m resolved: when these pants wear out and I’m buying new ones somewhere, I’m going to check every pocket and avoid the ones with sections if I can.
Labels: Lovell, Maine, pants, shorts, wallets