This afternoon a tweed ride is planned leaving from the Quad at the university and try as I might, I can't find the place. Every student I asked seemed to know where the place is and with a vague toss of the hand would point me in the direction of the Student Union building. No one could say definitively where I might find a place whose name sounded more like a motorized vehicle suited to the outdoors than a meeting place for cyclists.
At lunchtime on Thursday I could be found locked in a thrift store change room trying on a number of pants. And these weren't just any type of pant. Earlier I had googled "Tweed Ride" and a baffling range of images presented themselves on the computer screen facing me. Cyclists decked out in Sherlock Holmes hats variously called Deerstalkers or banana hats or even umbrella hats. Men wearing knickerbocker pants, women having donned herringbone vests and everyone cycling old school bikes with leather panniers and Brooks saddles.
Not being able to find plus fours anywhere in the city I had sheepishly slunk over to the women's clothing section of said thrift store and gathered up a number of muted capri pants in what I guessed might be a size to fit a man with a 32 inch waist. Feeling ridiculous and wanting to hasten the act of trying on women's clothing, I neglected to remove my walking shoes and putting my foot through the tapered leg of a thick wool capri my balance shifted and my full body weight slammed into the flimsy door of the change room as I tumbled to the floor. Since the door of the dressing room didn't reach all the way to the floor, I could hear startled gasps from the other side from customers waiting for a room to come free.
With the most dignity I could muster I exited the change room clutching a wadded ball of pants and as I passed the lineup, shrugged and announced "Halloween!" hoping that would assure the waiting customers that I wasn't a cross-dressing, middle-aged crisis prone creepo.
It is said that luck is simply when opportunity and preparation meet and when I found the men's suit rack after ditching the ball of capris, a fine, muted herringbone tweed jacket called to me and after checking its fit in the aisle, was happy to leave the store eleven dollars poorer. But happy not to be explaining to a police officer what I might have been up to in that dressing room.