"Okay. So the plan is: finish work one hour after everyone else. Purchase jeans. Purchase toilet paper."
"Oh, I hate jean shopping."
"I fucking agree."
"It's like you're wearing someone else's pants-"
"-and you have to take your shoes off, but it's cold outside even though you're inside and you feel like you should be cold, so you just buy them without trying them on and bring them home and they never fit right."
"I have to try things on. At the store. I can't buy clothes online or anything. Never works. One time I got the same sweater, same size, two different colors. One was substantially bigger than the other."
"It's like I was being punished for my audacity in expecting two mass produced articles of clothing to be remotely identical."
"Yeah." Co-worker Natalie laughs uncomfortably. She always laughs uncomfortably. Sometimes I think she laughs out of obligation rather than enjoyment. I appreciate the effort, but it makes me sad. Sometimes I would just rather have people not laugh. I am annoying.
"I should learn. Never assume. You assume, and then everyone's an ass. You, me. Making into asses. Being made into. Asses. All of us. Never assume, because...oh, shut up, me."
"You should just go to Old Navy," Natalie says after a few minutes of work. "It's the easiest. It's like dead there, everything is on sale. I got a pair of jeans for like nineteen dollars. It was awesome."
I glance over at her desk, nodding at her slim, long legs. "You don't have turtle legs."
Real laugh this time. "Whe-wha-psssh. Neither do you."
"Don't humor me. Seriously. It's impossible for me to find jeans. Other pants are fine, I can alter them myself, but denim is harder."
"What? You're like the same height as me."
"I will bet you nine hundred dollars my legs are like four inches shorter than yours."
"Okay, well, why don't you just get the petite ones?"
"They never have them. Fucking Old Navy."
"Well, they might have the shorter ones. Can't hurt to try."
"yeah, but then I've got to worry about the waist. Am I a Flirt? Or a Diva? Neither, assholes, fuck you, give me a pair of jeans."
"I like the Dreamer."
"I am super dreamy."
"With your dreamy turtle legs."
"But I know they won't be there, and then I'll be mad. And you know what? I'm not gonna just wear khakis and other bullshit pants instead. Nuh uh. If I can't wear jeans, I'm going all out. I WILL BUST OUT THE SKIRTS. I ain't a'feared."
"Won't you need to buy skirts first?"
"You'll probably spend the same amount of time looking for skirts as you would jeans."
"And then you'll have to buy shoes other than hiking boots and Chuck Taylors."
"I need new boots anyway." I really do. I've had these bastards since 2001, back when I worked at the zoo, and they keep my feet warm and dry and they're a goddamn eyesore. Everyone hates them, especially all those stupid bitches soaking in their Uggs, the ones who suffer for fashion and viciously judge my rational winter footwear. Of course, most likely no one notices my boots, and I'm the one irrationally judging. "You know what," I add after a pause, "I've had enough of your bojangled logic business. Let me have my fury."
"You could just ask for jeans for your birthday."
"Yeah fucking right. Like my family could ever get it right."
"Well you never know until you try."
"But they don't know what I like, and I don't like what they like. We can't even agree on restaurants. They're always all, 'you pick a restaurant, it's your birthday!' and then I get pulled aside by my dad, and he's all 'try to pick some place where your mother and sisters can find food, will ya?' So in the end, I'm not picking my own dinner, I'm trying to make everyone happy, and we just eat Italian again. Horseshit."
"And Italian family goes out for Italian food? Why don't you just make it yourselves?"
"Because the mom cooks, and she's Irish. At least my dad is willing to try to pretend he'll eat new things, but he goes in there with expectations. Like I took him to Indian Harvest, and he was convinced he would hate it because he doesn't like curry. Didn't matter how much I told him that not all Indian food had curry, he was fucking resilient. And then he didn't understand the menu and got all huffy, and I said I'd order for him because I know what he likes, but that just made him more upset and he ordered fucking chicken curry and then was mad when he didn't like it. So I made him eat my saag, and he was all, 'oh, that's not bad.' Fucking duh, Daddio."
"So will he now go out for Indian food?"
"After serious coaxing, he can be convinced. Still. It drives me fucking nuts. It's like, I know what I'm talking about, dad. Trust me."
The day goes on. Work ends. I leave. I buy jeans and toilet paper as planned. I return to work this morning.
"Look at you! You found jeans!"
"You know it." I model them. Do a little jig, because modeling things is embarrassing. "I completely dig them."
"And where did you find them?"
I look down, scrunch my nose. "Old Navy."
"So they had the petite ones?"
I scrunch again. "No. These are regular."
"And they fit your turtle legs just fine."
I sigh. "Yep."
I am becoming my father.