Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Girls In Their Summer Dresses

One nice thing about the warm weather is that the heavy clothes come off.

Nice, for me, because I like the freedom of going without heavy shoes, heavy coats, everything heavy, encompassing; I like the warmth without having to dress to obtain it.

And also nice, in that everyone else gets to come out of their winter clothes and into their light shirts and sandals.

And the Portland women, and girls, so dark and dour through the winter in their rainjackets, fleece, and heavy shoes bloom in a delicious profusion of color and movement.Floaty summer dresses, pretty tops in bright, sunny colors. Toes painted like candy lighten up sandals and flip-flops. Even their movements seem lighter and more joyful. They're lovely, and I enjoy their sudden emergence from winter's drizzly hibernation.

One odd thing I have noticed this summer more than before, though, is the number of women (in particular, though I've been seeing men doing this, too) cycling in flip-flops. This seems peculiarly dangerous; as a kid I scraped the hell out of my foot when I blew out of a cheap rubber flip-flop riding my bike. In a bike-y town like Portland it seems odd that so many people are riding this way. But, there, I'm always amazed at how many Portlanders ride without helmets. Perhaps the cycling-in-flips is just part of the casual style of this town. Seems chancy to me...

One family member who is NOT so enthused about the weather is our little cat Lily. She hates the heat and spends much of her time sleeping in the shade or trying to find shade. That, and she always gets flea-ridden this time of year. She is allergic to their bites and tears at herself until the fleabane medicine and the winter's cold drive them away again.

Speaking of bicycling, I drove home from the Timbers game tonight - nice 2-nil win over Miami - and had to stop at the corner of Willamette and Parks to let a group of riders go by. I turned down Willamette and found that the entire bike lane was full of people on bikes; cruisers, hybrids, trail-a-bikes, unicycles...people wearing tutus, tuxedos, neon, wizard's hats, bridal gowns, all manner and color of chemlight glowsticks sprouting from bikes, helmets, and riders.

Turns out that this is something called the "Night Ride", and it happens every July. I couldn't resist; I stopped at the corner of N. McKenna and Willamette, found someone's put-out-for-the-taking chest of drawers sitting in the city strip along Willamette, and leaned on it watching the show. The riders looked like they were having a great time; there was lots of laughter, lots of bells ringing and little horns honking. I waved to the cheerful unable to stifle a silly grin myself. It was all very goofy, and very Portland. I stayed and enjoyed the impromptu night parade until the last little group of stragglers passed by and left the street to the cold streetlights and the silent houses.

But now it's late, and I have to get to bed.

Hope your summer Sunday is a good one.


Red Sand said...

Enjoy the finals today.

Lisa said...

Thank you for taking us along on your rambles. The Night Ride sounds fun, even just to witness.

And I'm glad you appreciate the happiness that blooms upon emergence from a cold winter. I love light clothes and being un-constricted. My perfect enviro would be Mediterranean (65-85) year-round.

Lisa said...

p.s. -- I don't get the flip-flop thing, either. I guess we see the Hollywood crowd caught by the paparazzi in their rolled up sweats and flops, and so feel we too must adopt the look.

Helmet and shoes seems prerequisites for safe biking, certainly in a town where cars rule the road. Here, being a bicyclist is like being the prey in Death Race 2000. Maybe Portland is just that biker-friendly, though.

Still -- accidents happen.

FDChief said...

Lisa: I love the notion of you in your floaty summer dress and picture hat. And perhaps even flips to display your pedicure and the candy-color toenails!

(Saw the most artistic pedi ever yesterday; she had every other nail either light green or greenish white, and every single one had a different little flower painted on it. I can't imagine sitting still long enough for someone to paint pretty little fiddly things on my nails. But the effect sure was pretty...)

But not cycling, no. We're agressively bike-friendly here, but even here the safety problems inherent in those sandals are killer. Beyond the difficulty I have understanding why you'd want to ride in them; pushing down on those pedals with soft-soled flips would be as bad as riding barefoot - ouch!

Add to that the danger of slipping off the pedal, or catching a strap, and the many things (from chain to sprocket to assorted obstacles) that can catch at your feet?


And don't get me started on the no-helmet crowd. That's like suicide, IMO.

Lisa said...

Thank you! Shifts are so much more comfortable than pants or shorts. I am always happy when I can wear them.

(In fact, I fancy myself the inventor of wearing the chemise as outerwear, before it became the rage. Then again, my mum wore loose men's oxfords before that became acceptable, and I'm still not sure how popular that one is.)

That pedicure is amazing and a happy nod to summer, but for me, it is simple nude, or none at all. I enjoy being a girl, but my tastes run to the simple and unconstructed.

Getting dolled up is always such a surprise then, when it is not your daily guerrilla wear (I could afford to do that a bit more often, I s'pose.)

FDChief said...

"That pedicure is amazing and a happy nod to summer, but for me, it is simple nude, or none at all. I enjoy being a girl, but my tastes run to the simple and unconstructed.

Then you would have been astounded by the one I saw today; a rainbow of little rhinestones pasted onto her big toes. Vegas for your feet!

But, honestly, there is nothing as perfectly lovely and womanly as strong, neatly-tended hands and feet. The finger- and toenails may be as Nature intended, but cleanliness and utility are a very attractive thing - they suggest that every inch of you is similarly well-groomed, healthy, and attractive!

Lisa said...

Ah -- the rhinestone rainbows do make one smile at human ingenuity. Yet, I am reminded of the lovely bower birds and their heroic efforts with stones.

Thank you for also liking strong and neatly-tended. I am smiling, looking at my bare nails as we speak :)