Reflecting on the Holidays

As we all lay around in the days after Christmas and the forever ongoing days of Chanukah ( “How long is it!?”— “SO long!”), we reflect on holidays past.  If you aren’t laying around in these lazy days, I’m both envious of you and don’t want to be friends with you.  It just wouldn’t work.  But if you could pick some things up for me while you’re out, that’d be cool.  Today, while thinking about past holiday seasons, I can’t stop going over one when, like this year, I stayed here in Los Angeles.  I like staying in LA for the holidays (it’s so Less Than Zero, you guys) and it doesn’t really empty out as much as you would think.  I know for a fact that the grocery stores are crowded the day of Christmas Eve.  If I could have anything for Chanukah, I’d go back to this particular holiday season a couple years ago and ask (beg and plead) for the Ralph’s on Sunset Blvd. to have no more than five shoppers in it that Christmas Eve day when I came in.  And if those five shoppers could be people who I didn’t know at all, that would be perfect.  And if those five strangers shopping in Ralph’s on Sunset on that Christmas Eve day could be nowhere near either the freezer aisle, the check out area or the exit… well, then this retroactive Chanukah/holiday gift would be the best I’ve ever gotten.

It was warm that day.  Oh, how I wish it weren’t.  In a perfect world, I’d have lived in Vermont where layers would be required.  And hell, if I lived in Vermont, I’d probably have been nowhere near the freezer aisle that dreaded December day.  I’d be buying hot cocoa or port or cheddar cheese for my apple pie.  Alas, I was not in Vermont.  I was here in sunny Hollywood.  At the really really popular Ralph’s.  So popular that it’s known as Rock and Roll Ralph’s.  As I said, I was in the freezer aisle and I had just leaned down to read the back of a Lean Cuisine.  Because apparently I eat like it’s 1992.  I heard a loud noise.  I was like, what the hell was that?  I looked at the guy a few freezer doors down and we shared a ‘what the hell was that?’ moment.  Whatever it was, all of the folks scattered about the freezer aisle heard it.  That was for sure.  Then it hit me: my pants had just split.

Now, these were the softest, most comfortable army pants that I had worn so much, that I guess they’d gotten pretty thin.  I wish I were a soldier because I’m guessing regulation army pants have to sustain significant wear and tear and would never fall victim to a single squat in a grocery store aisle to read the ingredients on the box of diet food for one.  So I’m kneeling down, that damn Lean Cuisine box in hand, scared to move and thinking … how bad could it be?  That’s when I noticed that I was really really cold.  Anally and vaginally.  This is probably as good as time as any to tell you that there will be occasions when I don’t wear underwear.  This was one of those occasions.

I tried to evaluate the split.  This is not easy to do without drawing attention to yourself.  Unfortunately, this evaluation, in the history of people evaluating their pants splitting, was probably the quickest and most clear eval of all time.  This was a really big split.  This was, as they say in California, ‘The Big One’.  This was the split that little splits hope to be when they get big.  I needed to get out of there.  The problem – I wasn’t using a shopping basket.  I didn’t have a jacket or a bag or a sarong.  Oh, to have had an extra sarong that I just happened to carry daily!  Said the girl who doesn’t own any sarongs.  My t-shirt was useless as it just went to my waist.  I might as well have been wearing a half shirt. Useless.  So, I reached around with both hands and scrunched up all of the material. Now I looked precisely like a toddler who has to or has just taken a dump.  In his pants.

I began the (real) walk of shame to get out of there.  I’ve been in large homes, huge office buildings and even done walkathons.  This seemed like the longest walk I’d ever taken.  The aisle appeared to be getting longer.  Those two little girls from The Shining popped out.  I passed The Tin Man. I had no free hand to help that guy with his oil problems.  And after a few steps more, I saw a slightly odd and very annoying man who I worked for once.   Great.  My first thought, pretend to be on the phone.  This was risky because now I’m not holding on to as much material so that I can hold my cell, but I knew it would get me out of there without having to stop to talk to him.  I began my phone conversation, picked up my pace and just as I reached him – my phone rang.  The phone that I’m already having a (fake) conversation on as I try to pass him, right in that moment when we gave each other that shared look that said “Ugh, I’m so sorry I’m on the phone, dude!  Totally wish I could say hi!”  And he’s looking at me as if to say “I totally get it.   Phones!  Right!?”  That’s when it rang.  I was at a complete loss and decided to just keep talking on my fake call while my phone is ringing on my face.  In retrospect, I should’ve just held my pants and kept walking out of there and stopped to say a brief hello.  Because chances are, if I’m him and I run into someone I know who’s grabbing their ass and on a make pretend phone call while that same phone is ringing away on their cheek and they’re making pretend it’s not … you’ll remember that whole picture and that person til the day you die.

Note: Real Pants Pictured.  Believe It.