Nothing’s worse than having to say “I told you so,” especially to yourself. It’s right up there with “Be careful what you wish for.”
Back in December, which feels like another world, I’d just arrived in Newport after a decade in New York. It was the Christmas season, and I felt charmed, bedazzled, and filled with a sense of freedom and possibility. But I was also about to unveil two projects — my work of apocalyptic fiction “These Are Our Failures,” as well as Trad-Man.com, which is subtitled “survival guide for an age of crisis” — both of which drew on my pessimistic side. Fortunately, as there is no night without day, I have an optimistic side as well.
One day I stopped by Royal Male, Newport’s longstanding Anglo-trad shop, as I was looking for a new lightweight jacket. I tried on all the Barbour models, but felt that I’d had a couple of them before and none matched my current mood. That’s when I spied the Belstaff jackets, which the proprietor Etienne said were outselling Barbour by a rather significant amount.
I put on the brand’s defining model, called the Trialmaster, as Etienne told me of the garment’s history. The Trialmaster was unveiled in 1948 as a waxed-cotton motorcycle jacket. It felt new and different, and I remember saying, “Those Barbours are too country gentleman. This feels like something I could wear in a zombie apocalypse.”
I ended up getting the jacket, and, well, here we are, quarantined with a virus. Today I learned that the Navy captain relieved of his duty — who was my childhood best friend — has tested positive for the virus. God speed to Brett and his family, and Palm Sunday blessings to you all as together we ride out this storm. — CC