A Traffic Jam, the Bad Economy, and Crappy Cell Phone Reception: an L.A. Story
This was an original post for LA Moms Blog on March 5, 2009. SV Moms Group was acquired by Technorati so I post my archives here on Fridays.
I have finally been losing weight. Many of you will be able to relate to that thing that happens when you stop nursing your baby? Where you just keep eating the same amount of food and so the weight never really comes off…or worse – you gain more? Yeah, that was me, and I stopped nursing my youngest child a year ago. I kept saying to myself that I would get around to dealing with it after this or that event, but I just kept putting it off. Yada yada yada size 14.
Then I hit a patch of stress that tied my stomach in knots and took away my appetite. My friend Jill identified with this – she called it “The Divorce Diet.” That wasn’t the stress for me – still happily married, thank you. No, it was a combination of childrearing issues, mom/wife identity crisis, and death in the family. Stuff that I was having a hard time talking to anybody about, which is unusual for me, because I am a talker. Also, I am a stress eater. I was in new territory.
Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale and I had magically lost 6 pounds! I started to enjoy my stress then. In fact, my joy with the sudden weight loss made the stress easier to handle, and lifted it a bit. It motivated me to eat healthier, and less. I switched from ice cream to red wine for dessert – hey don’t knock it, it is working for me. I ate a salad every day for lunch. I grew to love the hungry feeling because it reminded me that I was losing weight. (No cause for alarm. I just ate cookies for dinner.)
My husband has encouraged me to go to the gym more often because he sees how delighted I am with the weight loss. I am not a big fan of working out on machines, but I am a big fan of alone time with my iPod, so I have taken advantage of his willingness to stay home with our two little boys while I spend an hour trying not to look like a fool with my 10-pound free weights in what I like to call the Man Section of the gym. I also like to crank up Prodigy and run as fast as I can on the treadmill. Last weekend as I was imagining myself as Ashley Judd in an action film to the tune of the cranked-up grind of “Breathe,” my pants failed.
They fell down.
Yes, internet. I managed to pants myself at the gym where I am already so insecure that I do not make eye contact with Other People. Behind the treadmills there is a row of elliptical trainers and each one of them was in use. It is possible that every person working out was not looking my way as my pants made their awkward way south but it is more likely that there were witnesses to my pants-ing. I did what any self-respecting 37-year-old mother of two would do. I gathered up my things and fled.
If any of you follow me on twitter you might have seen that I tried to start a hashtag revolution with #yogapants as a message to the universe that I really wanted yoga pants for Christmas. All I had to do was ask my mom – she sent me some and that was wonderful but in truth a woman needs more than one pair of yoga pants, as evidenced by the fact that the pants that fell down were maternity yoga pants because my real yoga pants were in the laundry.
So anyway, here I am, a matronly gym rat with only one pair of functional pants. I did not want to make do with Target or Old Navy workout pants because we all know what happens with them – you wash them once and you have misshapen, ill-fitting pants that will give you camel toe, much less never fall down. I resolved to get myself to Lululemon, a veritable treasure trove of fitness gear for women. It’s right on my way to work, so that should not have been a problem, except that all of their pants are Expensive. I told myself I would save up for them, as if. And then! I got a new job that I start next week so dammit I was going to shop for pants! But! I have two small children who require being picked up from daycare on time! The cosmos seemed to be telling me that like my attempt at a twitter hashtag revolution, my quest for new pants was doomed.
But this, my good people, is Los Angeles, where dreams come true. The pants and I were fated to be together. This is how I know.
Today was my penultimate day at my current job in Agoura Hills. I left the office at 6:15 PM. By 7:00 PM I had gotten as far as…Parkway Calabasas. That’s right – 45 minutes to go 7 miles. It’s been a while since I’ve hit a traffic jam that bad (I know, go ahead and throw something at the computer now) because I have turned up my nose at any job or event that takes me into traffic this bad. After all, I commuted from the Valley to Fairfax & Wilshire for almost three years. It made me an angry person. I can’t go back to that. For those of you from out of town you may not recognize the cities and streets I am naming but you must have heard of Los Angeles traffic and let me just tell you, tonight was one of those nights. Being a mother of two small children, I do not have time to dick around in traffic. Luckily, my husband has an early schedule on this day and so he was home with the kids. And Lululemon is right off Parkway Calabasas. Do I smell fate intervening?
Unfortunately I could not get cell phone reception in the craggy hills of Calabasas. Could not. get. a. signal. I could also not just go shopping and be even later arriving home without telling my husband where I was. I faced a dilemma: yoga pants vs. responsible parenting. But the pants! They were calling me! I thought for sure there must be a public pay phone I could use at The Commons complex where the store is located. I went for it. As I walked through the shopping center I realized I was very wrong. Public pay phones are like Krispy Kreme Donut stores around here: a myth. So I put on my game face and went into the store, where the chirpy 22-year-old clerk let me use their phone to call home. Done. Free pass in hand, I got ready to shop my heart out…
…except it was 7:00 PM already and the store was closing! Gah! I shook my fist at traffic and prepared to leave the store with my tail between my legs. But it occurred to me that with retail sales figures so dismal at this time in our economic history, wouldn’t they stay open a few minutes longer for a mom with a valid credit card? Once I asked, the clerk and the other perky shopgirl who had emerged from the back said it was okay for me to browse for a minute. Better yet, they would help! In just a few minutes I was in a changing room, spandex and lycra flying, bulges happily packaged in supportive panels and padded bra-lined tank tops.
Two new pairs of pants, two warrior princess workout tops, and one complimentary stylish reusable shopping bag later, I emerged from the store victorious. Long live #yogapants! Now let them laugh when I Smack My Bitch Up on the treadmill this weekend. With my luck, next I will trip over my own shoelaces. Hmm, I do need new shoes…