The Motherhood of the Traveling Pants
Right now I am in California for some important training that I will tell you about when I've completed it. Before training started, I had a rare, precious free day to spend in the Palo Alto area, which had been my stomping ground through the 1990's. My graduate school comrade Aparna still lives there, though she's about to move away, so I was enjoying the opportunity to stay with her family.
Making the most of my free day, I made a pilgrimage to my favorite clothing store in the whole world, Leaf & Petal. Two years I bought a pair of pants there that were so great that they were the only summer pants I really liked to wear. My friends never told me that I wore them too much, but I knew that I did, and I didn't care. They were light khaki cropped pants--almost culottes, a style I usually hate--but these were just right for hot North Carolina summers. As long as I had these pants, I never had to worry about wearing shorts again. The pants were still wearable but were finally starting to get threadbare at the seams, so I carried the pants into the store to ask if they had any more like them.
I stopped in a for a quick visit, saw they didn't have any more pants that fit like these, then went off to a much-anticipated massage appointment. After that I came back to Leaf & Petal again, shopped some more, then drove back to Aparna's house. When I got there I realized I didn't have the pants. Where could they have gone? I had been in the store, my rental car, and the massage spa. I was sure I hadn't taken the pants into the spa and they clearly were not in my empty car. So I called the store to see if I had accidentally put them down while browsing. No luck.
I was stuck with a mystery. Then in a flash I realized what had happened. I remembered one wrinkle in this story that solved the mystery.
When I had gone back to my car after the first trip to Leaf & Petal, I had clicked the remote control to unlock it, heard the beep, and gotten into the car. I was settling in when I looked down and saw an open bag of potato chips--not mine. I looked around more and realized I was not in my rental car. I had gotten into the car next to it by mistake, which just happened to be unlocked.
This really startled me. It felt really wrong to be in someone else's car, even by honest mistake, and it jolted me to realize that I was so tired and jet lagged that I had chosen the wrong vehicle. So I made sure I had my purse and hustled right out of there.
But I must have dropped the pants without realizing it....
My first reaction was to be bummed that I had lost my pants in a way that guaranteed that I'd never get them back. All I knew is that they were in a possibly green, possibly SUV-like car that had been parked in the Cambridge Avenue parking garage in Palo Alto around 11 am on Friday April 25.
But then my second, stronger reaction was to wonder what the poor car owner would think when she or he found a strange pair of pants in their car. All sorts of awkward scenarios crossed my mind. "Honey, whose pants are these?" is never a good conversation starter.
So I would love to get my size 8 Womyn cropped pants back, but even more than that, I wanted to broadcast this story to the universe in the hopes that if anyone was worried about where the strange pants came from, they would find out that there really was a perfectly innocent, if bizarre, explanation.
Bottom line? Hold onto your pants, and everyone, please lock your car!