I’m watching my clothes disintegrate before my very eyes. Okay, I’m just being dramatic, but clothing takes quite a beating in Guyana. I was warned before I moved to South America that many of my clothes would have to be “retired” at the conclusion of the year. I should be happy that I haven’t had to throw any of my clothes away as of yet. When I was packing to move here, I made sure not to pack anything white, I figured that would just be a bad move. Funny enough, I’ve seen some staggeringly clean, white outfits being worn by some of the locals on the streets. I’m talking, hats, shirts, shorts and shoes, all together and all sparkling white. Perhaps they don’t know about the “after Labor Day” rule? Despite the trend, I’m glad I left my white stuff at home. The only white shirts I have are a few undershirts that are quickly browning around the neck area. It’s gross, but it makes sense. Of course the chances of getting the stains out of any article of clothing is next to nothing since we wash all our clothes by hand. *I will NEVER take a washer or dryer for granted again. Ever.
As I said, none of my clothes have begun to unravel yet, but I know it’s coming. Once in a while I’ll come across a thread that’s just asking to be pulled, to unravel an entire sleeve of a shirt or a lose button begging to be sewn back into place. Each time it seems like something may be on it’s way out, I think about how it’s not meant to last forever anyway. I didn’t buy a new wardrobe before I came to Guyana. I specifically brought clothes that I wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to at the end of the year. And so, the clothes continue to get used and march toward their inevitable grave.
The sun also does a number on clothes. Since we live just seven degrees north of the equator, the strength of the sun is enough to beat the color out of anything. To prevent the fading of clothing, we were told to hang our clothes out to dry in the shade or flip them inside out. I’ve done a good job remembering to do this, but that doesn’t mean that my clothes still look brand new. I have a pair of blue shorts that I’ve worn about a dozen times since my arrival in Guyana. The top part of the shorts is a reminder of what the shorts used to look like. The bottom are faded and dull looking. My shirts, resting over the top part of the shorts have caused the discoloring to happen at different paces for each piece of the shorts. It’s comical. This particular piece of clothing won’t be making the return journey with me.
I have a pair of sandals that I purchased from a local market. The vendor was very nice, but I won’t be returning to her stand anytime soon since the sandals now have two large holes in the bottom of them. It started on one sandal, then began to happen on the other, and then the holes began to grow. It wouldn’t bother me so much, except that there’s SO much broken glass around the city streets and sidewalks, so I shouldn’t walk around with hole-y shoes. It is a bummer though, to have to keep purchasing footwear.
All in all, I just keep reminding myself that clothing is temporary. I’ve never purchased something with the intention that I would have it to wear until the end of time. Heck, I’ll openly admit to not being a fan of shopping or keeping a closet full of trendy clothes. I don’t mind looking frumpy. I don’t mind looking like a guy who washes his clothes by hand and shrugs off the fact that the sun is fading the colors. Clothes aren’t forever.