It was going so well. Disgusting Canadian Winter was in full-force, I was eating like a Sumo wrestler, and yet everything was holding steady. Mass (that’s short for “my ass”) seemed perfectly stabilized; almost uncannily so. I should have been spooked; it was just too perfect, you know? And then a couple of weeks of extra-late nights, with the attendant 2am snacking, chased by the delectable 3am snacking, followed by the necessary 4am snacking. Which is actually exactly how Sumo wrestlers eat: an immense pot of stew, then a nap; repeat and expand. So… yeah. But I have one of those bodies that distributes weight gain perfectly evenly from head to toe. Everything just gets… fuller. Like even my earlobes grow firm and subtly plump. And it happens so incrementally that to my own casual glance, I look pretty much the same even as I’m expanding like a Twinkie in a fishbowl, and since I rarely weigh myself, at first I didn’t realize anything had changed.
But then I washed my jeans and went to work.
That sounds pretty innocuous, right? Let me explain.
First of all, for work this week, I am wearing a costume. A really flashy costume. Including thick tights in a screamingly bright colour. And on my breaks I cannot bear to leave the studio in this costume, (A) because I’m an exceptionally messy eater and it would not be at all surprising if I were to drip a quarter-cup of hamburger grease down my front from a meal that did not involve any hamburgers. And (B) because when you wear a flashy costume, people get witty. And 8:00 am in a flashy costume is no time for anyone to practice their elevator humour on me because at that utterly bleak hour of the day, my friendly is busted, y’all.
THEM: *ha ha witty comment big smile nice costume, Nicole!*
ME: *confused feelings, cannot generate response, probably best to simply stare at someone’s forehead, give thin approximation of smile and hope elevator door opens soon*
This, as you might predict, is no way to make friends of your coworkers. For that reason, I keep my electronic door-opening pass tucked into the ankle of my tights (my flashy costume has many things, but pockets are not one of them) and, when it’s time to go grab another bolus of coffee, I quickly throw on my decoy outfit of jeans and a sweater so as to attract less attention en route.
So. Jeans go on over the tights. Let me amend that. My slightly too-tight jeans, my freshly washed and somewhat shrunken jeans go on with considerably difficulty over the pachydermically thick tights.
“Tights” suddenly becomes a really descriptive word. Did the button just creak as I fastened it? Did that creak sound like the word “gluttony”? Nah, musta been something I ate. (Maybe several things I ate! Ba-DUM-bump!)
So, jeans strainingly buttoned over tights, every ounce of me packed into my pants like a sleeping bag into an improbably small stuffy-sack, I head up to the shop and return with a volcanically-hot cup of coffee searing itself firmly into one hand. Wallet tucked under that arm, water under the other. Muffin and banana clutched awkwardly. The door to get back into studio is locked, but you’ll recall that I cleverly left my pass in the ankle of my tights, so all I need to do is gracefully lift that leg and sweep it past the sensor. The light will flash green, the door will click open, and I will saunter in like Pam Grier. I have done this exact manouvre many, many times, and though I’m not particularly athletic, I do have extremely limber hamstrings, and admiring glances from passers-by have convinced me that this kind of controlled high-kicking move actually looks pretty good when I rock it.
I lift my right leg, intending to sweep it up by the sensor. My leg gets nowhere near the sensor. My foot, which I’d aimed at the hip-high electronic device, barely clears the floor, jeans straining and folding in protest. But I put some power into that leg move, and energy cannot be destroyed, y’all. Instead of my leg going up, it goes awkwardly forwards, and all the forceful grace of my intended manouvre ends abruptly with a dull, idiotic KUNK as my foot bounces impotently off the drywall, approximately four inches off the floor.
I know you were thinking my jeans were gonna split or something. But no. So tight was their fit, so constrained were my legs, that the very idea of me being able to flex a muscle in that denim bodycast was impossible- much less the idea that I could somehow strain that concrete denim leg-sarcophagus to the breaking point.
But remember, it’s 8AM, and I haven’t drunk the large organic Javanilla that’s slowly melting the skin on my right hand. I notice that my leg missed the sensor, I observe that the access light is still red, I feel my foot sail into the hallway wall, but I do not understand. Must… have… missed? somehow? I think, with all the nuance of a Neanderthal. Me try ‘gain!
I do. A windup and the leg goes sweeping up… six inches and BUNKs off the wall.
Me do more time! Me lean side-side yes!, suggests my caveman brain brightly, so me do. This time, me stiffly-clad leg raises an impressive eight inches before DUNKing loudly into the wall.
More more do again kicky nice!, burbles the troglodyte who handles mornings for me, and TUNK, I make about 10 inches this time.
There’s a pattern here, and I suspect you’ve identified it. Two inches gained with each attempt has brought me to 10 inches on try #4. The sensor is at 32 inches. A thinking person might quickly calculate a remaining distance of 22 inches, which breaks down into about 11 more tries. Which is a lot. But at 8am I’m not a thinking person, and almost do leg door go go!, squeals the happy throwback in charge, and so I continue the series with several sequels:
And somewhere between WUNK and LUNK, the door opens. Took me a sec to notice, contorted and focussed as I was, but Brad, an audio engineer, had been sitting directly on the other side of the very wall I’d just loudly kicked eight times. He was minding his own business, quietly enjoying his well-deserved break, and it’s really not his job to be hopping up & down to let in idiots whose jeans are too tight and whose problem-solving abilities rival those of a gibbon holding a rock. But he’s an audio engineer, and when he hears a mysterious sound, he follows it to the source, which in this case, is me. Arms cradling my breakfast, beady eyes intent on my asinine goal, and still dully kicking the spit out of the wall of his office, while he stands directly in front of me in the doorway looking at me. Just looking, because what is there to say?
And LUNK, goes the last kick, and then I see him, and the proto-human spokesman for Stamp Enterprises feels embarassment and explains by blurting,
“I wasn’t knocking, it’s my jeans, I have a pass in my tights!”
Faced with this elegant explanation, Brad’s reply was a moment of silence. He stood there in the doorway, just sort of staring at me for a quiet eternity, then he simply turned and went back into his office.
I followed this tender moment with an inadvertently-too-loud “THANKS THOUGH!” and lumbered off to drink my coffee, incoherently hoping that my jeans would bend enough to at least allow me the dignity of sitting down.
Hint: they did not.