This is a story that begins with a pair of pants. A pair of pants that I acquired quite by accident last summer. A very particular pair of pants that I actually lusted after for quite some time, but never actually purchased because spending that kind of money on those kinds of pants seemed all kinds of frivolous. Especially when I was in the middle of losing house and home and husband all in one fell swoop.
Which is why, when I happened upon the very same pair of pants, the pants I had wanted, the pants I really did not need but oh so desired, among all the very many thousands of pants that are there for the wanting at our DI early last summer I decided that the goddesses of the pants Universe had decided that I had waited and wanted for quite long enough.
I bought the pants. For $1.99. The pants, as you see, were meant to be.
Saturday morning, the sky was crystal blue, the sun a glowing orb of goodness, the air was cool and crisp, the birds were singing spring songs of cheer and I woke up in Santa Cruz. My home where I am truly understood, at least most of the time.
I pulled the pants from my suitcase, slipped them on and it is right then that I noticed that either I had shrunk or my pants had found some sort of pants growing magical fairy dust while they've been hiding out in the bottom of my dresser drawer because no sooner had I pulled them up over my ass then they slipped right back down to my ankles. Completely. Without need to unbutton, unzipper or in any way manipulate them.
These exact same treasured pants that I wore nearly every day tucked under sassy short dresses were most decidedly suddenly two sizes too big. At least.
I didn't have a belt with me, nor anything that could easily be fashioned into something that might hold these most treasured and favorite of all my pants up. I did have plenty of other clothes with me, clothes that fit just perfectly fine, clothes that were also absolutely weather appropriate for that most gorgeous of first days of Spring in Santa Cruz. Did I change in to them? Of course I did not. That would have been a far too rational thing to do.
Instead, I grabbed a fistful of pant in one hand, grabbed all my other stuff in the remaining free hand and headed out the door.
As I was driving to Holly's house, whom I was meeting to go clean our beloved and beautiful beaches, I called her to beg for the two things I needed most in the world right at that moment. Coffee and a belt.
She sounded like death. Warmed over with a side of fries. I had just seen her the evening before and couldn't possibly imagine what had transpired in the few hours since, but was imagining that there had been some sort of horrific zombie flu invasion in her quadrant of Santa Cruz and my brain was immediately trying to think of what the hospital had told us about how to combat zombie flu invasions. Feed it? Starve it? Drink only liquids? Meanwhile, Holly is saying something about no belts and no coffee and she might not go to the beach and, oh god, she has to go!
At that very moment, I was passing an exit on the freeway where if I hopped off I knew there was a strip mall (do we not all just despise strip malls? All together now. THEY SUCK AND CAN BE THE FIRST THING TO GO IN THE ZOMBIE FLU INVASION!) that had a drug store, a grocery store, and a Peet's coffee. In other words, perhaps a belt? And definitely coffee.
So I hopped off the freeway and hopped into the parking lot of this craptastic strip mall. I will just now add, because this will be important later, that the parking lot for this particular strip mall is all kinds of backwards. Let's face it. This is California. At the beach. Where real estate is a high premium. If we're going to have a parking lot, well, we're going to construct it like a small kid with her Legos and squeeze as many Matchbox cars as we can possibly fit into the allotted one hundred square feet. Believe me, a girl with her Legos and Matchbox cars and get really creative if she has too. Especially when that land is costing her a gabillion dollars.
I parked. Holding a fistful of pants in one hand, I wandered into the grocery store. Yes, the grocery store. In search of a belt. At that point I probably should have gotten the COFFEE first so I could actually have some of my brain function before attempting to solve the BELT issue, but I didn't have the COFFEE and thus didn't THINK to actually get the COFFEE and instead just kept thinking about the fact that I was wearing NO UNDERWEAR and would truly be at least HALF NAKEDJEN if I didn't do something about the PANTS ISSUE pronto.
Fistful of pants. Wandered the aisles of the grocery store. I actually went to the produce department and searched for twist ties. Yes, twist ties. DO NOT JUDGE ME, PEOPLE. I had not had coffee. Enough twist ties tied together and you can make a belt. You know, like on Survivor, only BETTER! Only because California is in such a horrible and deep depression they are not even providing the good citizens there with twist ties for their plastic bags in the produce department. (California, I want you to know we have lots of twist ties here in Utah. I will send you some if you truly need them!).
Thwarted with the twist ties, I tried to find the "sewing supplies". Instead I found the Hardware Section. Of the Grocery Store. Where I found DUCT TAPE. And, yes, of course, I went all McGuyver and figured I could just fashion an oh so fashionable DUCT TAPE BELT. For the magical pants. That would keep me from being HALF NAKEDJEN.
Oh, but, what was that I spied in the HARDWARE section right next to the DUCT TAPE? Industrial sized safety pins. Which, you know, can be pinned together. To make a belt! Those of us with pants suddenly large enough to fit Mr. T can still be STYLISH, you know. A SAFETY PIN BELT. I would be oh so GOTH and very SANTA CRUZ all in the very same instance.
So I grabbed the industrial safety pins. With my fistful of pants I wandered to the cashier where I was reminded, oh so very well, about the very special nature of cashiers in Santa Cruz.
You can never just check out at a store in Santa Cruz. That is just a near impossibility. This is because your cashier is nearly always having a conversation about the surf conditions with their buddy who somehow just happened to wander in shortly before you appeared at the cash register. Not only that, but whatever you're purchasing that day, be it orange juice or, I don't know, INDUSTRIAL SAFETY PINS, is the most fascinating item in the store for purchase that the cashier has EVER LAID EYES ON and he spends at least ten minutes completely enthralled and fascinated that YOU FOUND THIS IN THIS STORE?!?!
Ten minutes. Swear to god. Holding a fistful of pants and two dollars. WITHOUT COFFEE!! To just buy the pins that would eventually keep me from being naked.
In the parking lot, I hooked all the safety pins together to form one long unbroken chain of safety goodness, weaved it through the belt loops on my pants, and then, well, I was no longer in danger of pants to the ankles slippage.
So I headed into Peet's. For COFFEE. I completely confounded the boy behind the counter with my request for a SHOT IN THE DARK. He had absolutely no idea what it was that I wanted. So I explained it to him and asked for TWO SHOTS, please, as it had been kind of a rough morning what with my fistful of pants and all.
I'm not exactly certain what happened next except that I know that I was sitting in my cute little rental car, putting the coffee where it was supposed to go, getting ready to go meet Holly when my car came in awful crunching contact with the back end of a Ford F250.
There was no damage to the truck as it was the trailer hitch that hit my car. There was some ugly damage to my little rental car and all I could think, honestly, was THANK GOD I'M NOT HOLDING UP MY OWN PANTS!
Of course, I know that this story could be far more interesting and exciting if I had not already addressed the pants situation and instead I had hopped out of the car, the pants had immediately slipped to my ankles, I had somehow found myself entangled in them, I had tripped and fallen, HALF NAKED, into the arms of the truck driver with half of Santa Cruz watching.
Instead, I'm just grateful for INDUSTRIAL SAFETY PINS, for excellent car insurance and for extra shots of espresso because those are all really important and necessary things in your life when you're writing a story about pants.
Hey, I'm live on SecondHand Radio with SecondHand Karl, Thursday, March 25, at 10 P.M. EST. I told Karl that I'm really an open naked book and he can talk to me about anything. So...if you want to ask me about anything that you really want to know, feel free to tune in and join the conversation. Anyone can call in, anyone can join the chat. I'd love it if you did!