A Shirt With a User’s Manual

Red_chicken comb_2012-07-30

2015-08-30 – My wife Kit bought me a new shirt. I have it on for the first time as I am writing this. It is a very nice shirt and very comfortable. It is made for bike riding, so I may be violating its raison d’être by sitting in a chair typing rather than sitting in the saddle of my bike pedaling away. But so be it. There will be days that I will wear it when I ride and there will be days when I will wear it while I type.

Like today.

The features that make this a riding shirt (rather than a sitting-and-typing shirt) are detailed in a little user’s manual that came with the shirt. The manual points out that the shirt has a casual sport fit. I’m glad to have this user’s manual. I would not have been able to figure that out on my own. (By the way, the first shirt Kit bought me was too small and had to be exchanged. If I had been riding more, maybe I could have kept the first shirt. The first shirt did not have a casual sport fit. It was more like a corset fit. I’m betting that the user’s manual for that shirt did not say that the shirt had a casual corset fit. Just sayin’.)

The user’s manual goes on to say that it is made of “hydrophobic fibers that wick moisture away.” I suppose this is intended to clear up any confusion. The shirt is clearly not made of hydrophobic dogs.

The shirt has “reflective accents [to] provide high visibility while cycling.” They give me high visibility while I type as well.

The shirt comes with pocket that are inexplicably in the back of the shirt. The user’s manual tells me that they are to keep valuables safe and secure. What they don’t tell me is that, if I put stuff in these pockets, the lumps make it uncomfortable to sit back in my comfy desk chair. I guess that’s why the shirt is so good for bike riding. Most bike saddles are not made to lean back in (except for recumbent bikes, which are not really bikes).

The first shirt had labeling on the pockets that I don’t find on this shirt. One of the pockets was labeled to contain “identifying information.” I suppose that would be good in case I am hit by a car while riding and the police want to know my identity. This shirt doesn’t have a label like that. I suppose, if I am hit by a car, the police will have to figure things out on their own. The truth is that I rarely put stuff into shirt pockets and I don’t expect to put anything into these pockets. That way, I can rest easy when I lean back in the chair. But no one will be able to identify me if I fall over backwards and break my neck.

The final feature of this shirt is a patch of soft cloth that I can use to clean my glasses. I’ve never had trouble using my shirt-tail to clean my glasses, but it is nice that they thought of this. My question, though, is where do I blow my nose?

* * *


This morning I tried out my new shirt as a riding shirt. I put my keys and iPhone in the pockets in the rear, pulled on some old padded riding shorts, donned my helmet, and headed off on my bike.

It rained last night and the streets were still wet. A cool mist rose from the pavement. The “hydrophobic fibers” did nothing to wick the moisture away. My glasses were steaming up, so I wiped them on the patch provided for that purpose. Then they steamed up again.

The weight of my essentials in the rear pockets pulled the shirt down in the back so that it no longer had a casual sport fit. And—I hate to say this—having weights in the back of your shirt requires “vigilance” if you have to go to the bathroom.

I’m not saying that I don’t like the shirt. It is a great shirt—for typing. And I think that, from now on, nothing goes in the shirt pockets.

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