Thursday, November 28, 2013

Es Mariposa!

As a kid, I would regularly wear sweatpants to school. They were warm, sporty, comfortable, and in my mind, stylish. Lots of other kids through elementary school felt the same way. As I graduated on to middle school, my sweatpants naturally did as well. Unbeknownst to me, this was no longer socially acceptable. Eventually, my friend Zach pulled me aside for a man-to-man discussion:
some can pull'em off better than others

Zach: “dude, you’ve gotta stop wearing sweatpants to school”

Me: “why?”

Zach: “some kids are starting to make fun of it”

Me: “what do you mean?”

Zach: “they’re calling you Sweatpants Swenson”

I was completely blindsided by this news, thinking “come on guys, sweatpants are still cool, lots of kids wear them!” With laser-like focus, the following day I scoured the halls of Batesville Middle School for sweatpants, confident I’d prove my critics wrong. To my surprise, I only found one pair in the entire school. Eric Simmons, wherever you are… I thank you. Despite not being on that island by myself, the message came loud and clear, and I changed my ways.

Jump ahead many years, and history seemed to repeat itself. Moving to Wisconsin in 2005 introduced me to a new kind of cold… the kind that rattles your bones and can make a grown man cry. Still, the area has a vibrant triathlon scene in the summer (in part due to the inception of Ironman Wisconsin circa 2002) as well as road races throughout the year. During one such race, held in February, I was unabashedly rocking some old sweatpants. Afterwards, I realized that the vast majority of people had cool running pants (which some refer to as tights), which I did not own at the time. The Sweatpants Swenson moniker has a nice ring to it, but I thought it was time to move on. Shortly after I went out and got a couple pairs of Pearl Izumis, which I’ve regularly run and biked in on cold days since. Over the years as people have yelled things at me, I’ve learned that what’s “cool” or “fashionable” in some circles is not in others. I was reminded of this last week while out on a run. I was sporting my Pearl Izumis and encountered two girls on a trail. I said hi as I passed, and they started giggling. A few seconds later one of the girls yelled (and I mean yelled) to two other girls further back on the trail “ES MARIPOSA!!” As a carryover effect from speaking fluent Italian, I can understand my share of Spanish. I just laughed… nothing against what she said, I just thought it was funny. 

That was a first for me.

case in point

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