God, that sounds like some sort of PBS public affairs program, "Week in Review." But that’s what it's been, more than a week since my last HinesSight entry, so duty calls me to summarize it all in a single blaze of what-we've-been-up-to-but-haven't-uttered-a-peep-about.
Well, the most traumatic event, from which it took me several days to recover, was logging onto the L.L. Bean web site, ready to accomplish my bi-or tri-annual jeans buying in the usual minute or two, and making a horrifying, absolutely impossible to believe, discovery. L.L. Bean had discontinued selling black natural fit jeans, and had changed the color of their light brown/tan jeans--without asking me. I can't fathom why a store that sells to men would so cavalierly make such changes.
Don't their high-paid marketing experts understand that many men want to buy the same piece of clothing they have always bought, and worn, for many years? Clothes shopping, for most men, is not an enjoyable experience. I want to do it over the Internet; I want to do it fast; I want it delivered to my door by UPS fast; and I don't want to have to go through any bullshit, like being told that black jeans aren't available any more.
I felt victimized by L.L. Bean, but I bought four pairs of their faded blue and khaki jeans anyway, because that was the easiest thing to do. Yes, the "khaki" now wasn't the same "khaki" as before, but I can be a little flexible. Finding some black jeans was a major pain in the butt, though. Google wasn't a great help with my quest, nor was my other best Internet friend, Amazon.com. Yes, Amazon sells clothes now, along with just about everything else in the world. I suspect this is where Iraq is getting its weapons of mass destruction. "Welcome back, Mr. Hussein. We noticed that last time you bought some anthrax and botulism. Here are some other biological weapons that might interest you, from our WMD Store. Remember to turn on your 'One Click Shopping.' Remember, there is free shipping in unmarked containers for any purchase over $1 million dollars."
But they didn't have any relaxed fit black jeans in my size, so far as I could tell. By now I had spent over fifteen minutes clothes shopping, albeit all at my computer, and I was reaching my psychic limit for the year. Feelings of panic, irritation, and betrayal by those bastards at L.L. Bean were mixing together in an unhealthy mental brew. Then I thought of checking out the Eddie Bauer web site, which seemed to have a family resemblance to L.L. Bean (outdoorsy, down-to-earth), but hopefully with a greater genetic tendency toward black jeans. And, yes, there they were, black relaxed fit Eddie Bauer jeans, in my long-standing 35/32 size. Heaven!
Except, when they arrived by UPS several days later, I found that L.L. Bean's 35 isn't Eddie Bauer's 35. Guess I deserve to learn what women know so well, a size 12 in this store isn't a size 12 in that store. Isn't 35 inches an objective indisputable constant of nature, though? Once again, I felt betrayed, especially since now I faced the prospect of having to send the jeans back, and wait another week or two for the right size. Then I had an amazing insight, which came out of nowhere. Must have been divine guidance, because nothing in my experience could have led up to this thought: "Brian, you could go to an actual, physical, concrete Eddie Bauer store at the Salem Center, talk to a live human being there, and probably get replacement jeans right on the spot."
What an idea! I could shop for clothes in a real store, not over the Internet! It was such an astounding concept, I couldn't believe it for a moment. It was like doors were opening into a whole new realm of possibilities. Why, next I might find myself buying books in a real bookstore, rather than at Amazon.com. Or I might find myself getting vitamins at a real vitamin store, rather than at Puritan.com. Or I might find myself having real sex... (oops, almost too much honesty in HinesSight).
After finding a parking space just a block away from Salem Center, I can tell you that this is a fad that might catch on, even with men. I learned that in just about the same amount of time it takes to log onto a web site and go through the ordering process, you can walk into a clothing store, talk to a young attractive female clerk, have her say, "Yes, I'm sure we have the size you want," put two pairs of the exact clothes you want into a spanking fresh plastic bag, and be on your way. This reality shopping thing just might take off, if enough people like me get turned on to it.
Otherwise, we've been obsessing over Iraq like everybody else. Also, at the moment Laurel is penning a complaint about an incompent hydrologist with whom she's locked horns in her stop partitioning in Spring Lake Estates crusade. Tomorrow she may go to a hearing at the Board of Geology where this guy is being called on the carpet. One more person we're not going to be getting a Christmas card from next year, I bet.
I've been edging into a possible real job, god forbid, which is a threatening proposition for a writer. In the past week I've even had to go to a couple of meetings with other people, rather than just meet with myself at the usual place and time (here, and always). Still, just as there is something appealing about interacting with a human being, instead of a computer, when buying clothes, I've been enjoying talking with some sustainability comrades instead of conversing so much with myself.
We're in the process of forming three entities, Eco-Enterprises, Eco-Homes, and an Eco-Wise Center that will be in the forefront of developing the Sustainable Fairview site here in Salem. Eco-Enterprises plans to run a 30 acre eco-industrial park with all kinds of cool businesses, from hydrogen power to green building to soil health consulting. Eco-Homes plans to buy 10 acres and sell rights to build 60 green dwellings, owner-designed, with the land held in a Community Land Trust--not owned privately (you own your home, not the land, as on national forest property).
And the Eco-Wise Center will be a non-profit educational/research foundation devoted to saving the earth, and all that good environmental stuff. I may end up being the Communications Director, though we're trying to find less traditional titles than CEO, CFO, and such. Any (shareable in polite company) ideas for a title for me would be most appreciated; a pretty much worthless prize would be awarded to the person who comes up with a title that can be used.