The wind drove the rain sideways and since I wore neither hat nor a rain coat I got soaked just running from the bus stop to the heavy wooden door that led into a dryness and warmth and music at ‘Grandmas’ pub. Campbell, or Camp as everyone calls him, was already seated at our usual table by the window, which was all that separated us from the nasty weather. The boats in the harbour had all their hatches battened down and were grinding their fenders against the undulating docks.
“Miserable out there,” Camp said. “You need to get a raincoat.”
“I was never one for dressing up for any occasion but I think some rain protection might be the prudent thing to do,” I admitted, still dripping.
I didn’t take long for Camp to latch on to the theme and offer one of his diatribes. “One can wear a plaid quilt or a fedora and cape, a turban, scull cap or chador or one of those silly scarves or numbered shirts sports teams sells to their fans. They are all made up of the five C’s of outer wear which define all clothing.”
“The five C’s of outer wear? What kind of theory is that Camp. Never heard a crazier idea,” I shook my head, spraying the table with drops of water.
“It’s not as crazy as you think it is. Clothes make people. As the saying goes.”
“Heinrich Keller wrote that some 200 years age: Clothes make people,” I said.
“What, who?” Camp said, stopped in his tracks. “Never mind. The five C’s are: Culture, like for turbans, skull caps and head scarves; Cult for biker jackets, safran robes, hoods or nihabs and then there are the Clubs for sports jerseys, baseball caps and jock ware. Most popular is Casual wear like jeans, T-shirts and sneakers and then of course there is the Conventional dress: suit, tie and loafers and for the ladies, fashion attire.
“Ok, I get it but do any of these outer accruements define, unite or divide people?” I asked.
“ You bet,” Camp said, slapping his hand on the table. It’s all about appearances. You can tell social status from their clothes; from the quality of the fabric, the fashion of the shoes or the brand of watch people wear. Religion, allegiances and even country of birth can be declared and recognized by the way some people dress. Different coloured sports shirts will fight each other before, after and during a game, turbans do not like chadors and people with scull caps have been discriminated against for millennia. People in suits don’t like to do business with people in jeans.”
“But when the lights go out nobody can tell the difference,” I pointed out, “let’s not forget that underneath all those garments we are all naked and when cut we all bleed red. “
“Another pint?” I asked. It was a rhetorical question. “You’re right about one thing Camp, I might have to stop into Mark’s Workwear and get myself one of those Australian oil slickers.”
“You know, that always puzzled me. How come the Aussies make all that rainproof outerwear, in a country where it never rains.”
We both shook our heads. We just touched on another one of life’s mysteries.
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