I like argyle as a concept. There’s something about the diamonds in the pattern, the crossing lines, the mathematics, that feels right. Argyle reminds me of Fibonacci series, another pattern I’m fond of, although it’s not widely available from woolen mills.
But my strongest feelings for argyle now are not abstract. Not all that long ago I had a very sad Christmas. To avoid sadness I went to a luxury hotel. Not an overwhelmingly pure or spiritual choice, but the best I could come up with. This hotel was in Oahu. The Halekulani. Tall, white, directly on the blue, blue bay. Full of families from Japan on holiday.
Golf is big in Japan. Apparently so are golf sweaters. One humid afternoon I wandered into the gift shop, looking for distraction, and among the postcards of surfing pigs, and pastel bikinis, and piles of small anonymous things in lucite boxes, I saw a gray and pink cashmere argyle sweater. Like the one on the dog above, almost exactly. I bought it. Although I am not a puppy.
Later that night, Christmas Eve, Santa Claus came to the Halekulani in an outrigger canoe. We all gathered round and cheered him onto the beach. The Santa regalia made it a little difficult to climb out of the outrigger, but the hotel staff helped him. No disasters. Then a choir of 30 small girls in identical red velvet dresses with full skirts sang us Christmas carols as we drank on the patio. They stood under the palm trees, back to the sky and the ocean. They sang well. The sun set exactly as you might imagine. Children’s voices can sometimes sound like magic creatures singing. I don’t know why.
Somehow all of this helped. I find the way that one minute Santa arrives in a canoe, which no matter how you tell the story is still absurd, and the next minute rows of little girls with long hair in bows sing Ave Maria, which even if you are an atheist is exquisite, very comforting. Somehow it got muddled up with argyle. Like the smell of sunscreen does with summer. Except that makes sense, and argyle and Santa in a canoe is kind of a stretch. Sometimes a pattern has extra meaning, and our lack of choice in the matter seems fitting to me.