cape

a long, long time ago… probably 1980 or thereabouts… i had just moved to bellingham and was a student at fairhaven college, on the campus of western washington university. there was a “student market” called the “VU Vendors” on weekdays, where “professional” vendors (somewhat like what Hybrid Elephant was like, at the FSM) and students who wanted to sell stuff congregated. one of the latter vendors was a guy who had made a cape out of army blankets, which he wanted to sell because he needed some “medication” (i never asked what kind of “medication” he wanted), but i didn’t have the amount of money he was looking for, so i memorised the pattern and went on my way. about a year later, after i had gotten a job, i bought a couple of wool army blankets and made my own cape, which have worn, more or less constantly, since then.

i wore it when i went to the rainbow gathering in 1982. i wore it when i was a migrant fruit picker in 1983. i wore it when i freight-hopped to various places, i wore it when i hitch hiked places, i slept under freeway bridges, and in farmers’ fields wrapped in my cape… in 1993 or thereabouts, i wore it when i went out picking mushrooms, got it caught on a barbed-wire fence and tore a hole in it, which i repaired. eventually i modified the design a little, and cut arm-holes, which fastened with velcro, so that i could wear a backpack and still wear the cape, when it was raining. originally it had three buttons that i rescued from a pea-coat, but the buttonholes failed, so i removed them and replaced it with a metal frog that i got at OCF, where i wore it to protect me from mosquitos.

eventually, i learned that it wasn’t really a “cape”. it is actually a garment called a burnous, a traditional garment worn by Berbers… but nobody knows what a burnous is, despite the fact that it is actually a really cool garment…

it was well worn, and well loved, so it wasn’t particularly surprising when i was putting it on a couple months ago, and the frog ripped a big hole in the front, and i decided that it was time to retire it as a garment…

141215 cape in progressbut i still want need a cape… i NEED a cape. it has been a part of my wardrobe for 40 years, and it’s lack has been felt intensely… so i went out and spent $250 on real wool fabric, and real lycra lining material, and made a new one. :cool:

at this point, it’s about 85% finished. i put together the pieces, and sewed the neck, but i’m letting it hang for a couple of days before i finish it, because that way the lining will have a chance to “settle”… the old cape didn’t have a lining, so it wasn’t a problem. i found it rather bizarre, essentially, to have to make two capes, and sew them together inside out, so that the lining came out right.

and i didn’t realise until i hung it up, that, because of the fact that it’s made of brown cloth, it looks suspiciously like a “jedi” cape… which, naturally, means that i’ll be getting a lot of comments from tourists at OCF next year, but… oh well, i’ll deal with it…

idiot…

i went for a walk this morning, and, as i usually do, i brought along a little bag of dog treats, because i don’t want to have dogs barking at me, early in the morning, and i’ve discovered that if they’re distracted by food, they usually don’t bark.

i came around the corner and met one such dog, who was behind a fence. he barked until he realised that i was passing out treats, whereupon his entire demeanor changed, and he couldn’t wait to be my friend. i gave him a treat and headed down the street, where i met a guy who was walking the other way. he asked if i walked that way regularly, to which i responded in the affirmative. he then went into this rant about this “evil dog at the corner”, who barked at him when he was walking by. he said that he was afraid of being bitten, which is why he carried mace with him, which he showed me.

i told him to look at it from the dog’s point of view: here is a strange man (guaranteed to be a person who gets barked at anyway), who responds to my presence by making sharp, barking noises, himself and adopts a defensive posture… he’s bound to be up to no good, so of course i’m going to bite him. mace just makes matters worse, i told him: you may not get bitten (you probably will, regardless), but the next time the dog sees you, he’s definitely not going to be happy, and things will probably get worse from there.

on the other hand, i said, my approach is completely the opposite: here is a similar, strange man, who makes cooing and clucking noises, gets down on my level, and offers me treats… i’m definitely going to be suspicious, and maybe i’ll bark once or twice, but i’m probably not going to bite, and if i see him again, i’ll be a lot more interested in being his friend.

the guy looked at me as though i was crazy, and went on his way towards the dog, who i could hear barking loudly as i wandered down the street in the opposite direction…

moe’s right: most dogs are better than most people… :|

the enlightened rantings of a brain damaged freak