MY LIFE – A change in season ... and a change in size

MY LIFE – A change in season ... and a change in size

As I was sitting at my desk a few days ago I saw a leaf drift by my window, quickly followed by another and then another, just like in the “Autumn Leaves” song and I realized that change, at least in the form of season, was upon us.

Moments later, when I stepped out the door on my way to the car, the unexpected chill in the air confirmed it. Fall was taking its first tentative steps into the area and not a moment too soon as far as I was concerned. Summer with its blistering heat and drought had worn out its welcome and help was on the way.

That step out the door into the chilly air was also my first clue that I needed to give a bit more thought to my wardrobe. At the moment, all that entailed was a quick dash back into the house to fetch a light jacket, but it has slowly dawned on me that deeper thought seems to be required.

For lo these many months I have been able to slide by in sandals, short sleeved shirts, and thin cotton relaxed fit chino pants, but the building didn’t have to fall on me before I realized that a shift in wardrobe was going to be needed. Then the weather turned even cooler on the following day and push turned to shove. A change of wardrobe was definitely needed, and the sooner the better.

The easy part was socks ... as in the fact that for the first time in months I was wearing them. And shoes, as in real, lace up shoes, which in my case invariably means sneakers, at least this early in the season.

Then came the pants.

I had so become accustomed to the cotton pants purchased for a vacation two years earlier, which because they had been the smallest size available off the rack that late in the season but still not quite my size, they were loose enough that I could pretty much ease them over my hips without having to unbutton or unzip them. Comfy, roomy, cool, and yet reasonably fashionable, go-anywhere pants that I know will be totally unsuitable in the cold. Just thinking about the frigid winds of winter whistling through the thin fabric is enough to make me shiver.

And so, on that day last week when early morning temperatures had dipped down into the 40s, I dug out the jeans I hadn’t worn in months.

I should mention here that, as has been widely joked about online, the stress and isolation of the never ending pandemic has had the unintended effect of soothing one’s conscience when it comes to food. Yes, I knew that daily ice cream cones might not be a good thing, but “these are pandemic times and I need all the comfort I can get, and once all of this is over I will worry about the few pounds I have gained.” Which was all well and good, but what I had lost sight of was the fact that once the cold weather moved into the pandemic present, the pants I would be needing to be wearing would still be in their pre-pandemic size.

It kind of reminded me of the first column I had written, my maiden column so to speak, published in The Woonsocket Call in April 1987. Titled “Vanity,” it detailed a true dressing room experience of trying to squeeze my chubby little body into the size jeans I thought would fit as I held my breath and attempted to stuff the fat far enough back into the jeans to allow me to pull the zipper up, and how the only thing that kept me from lying on the floor to try to zip them was the thought of someone seeing my feet sticking out from under the louvered door of the very small stall and thinking I had collapsed, then grabbing by the ankles and pulling me out into the store to start CPR.

Not quite that bad this time around, but not exactly pretty, either, (although mercifully in the privacy of my own home) especially with the first pair I tried on when the gap between the button on one side of the waistband and the buttonhole on the other definitely looked like a bridge too far.

To be fair, though, that pair had been my latest purchase once I had finally reached my target weight, which has admittedly slipped since all of this started in March. So I went back and rummaged around until I found an older pair, one that could be zipped all the way up if I just held my breath long enough, all of which was fine by me, at least in that moment.

The small problem here is the fact that I don’t carry a pocketbook. Whatever I need to carry goes into my pockets, the very same pockets that were now already full ... of me.

Not to be deterred this far into the game and needing to get going, I slipped my keys into the front pocket, slid my cellphone into one back pocket, and then forcibly jammed my billfold ... unwilling as it was ... into the other back pocket and walked out the door.

Thanks to the forgiving nature of denim which is willing to relax just a little when put to the test, I was able to sit, however uncomfortably, in the car, long enough to complete my errands, although I must confess to having had some difficulty wrestling my billfold out of my pocket when necessary. But back home again, those jeans were quickly swapped off for more comfortable pants.

I have since been looking to buy new pants, maybe in a size larger. Corduroys are what I’m looking for, but they are scarce as hen’s teeth, even online where ironically, the only place I can find exactly what I want is on the plus size sites where the smallest available size is just one or two sizes too big.

Yesterday I bought some new pants. Loose-fitting, elastic-waisted knit pants. They should do the trick until I can find what I’m looking for, and they are comfortable as all get out.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.