by Kyla

Let’s face it, you and I both know that one should never be seen in public wearing leisure wear unless one is actively leisuring. There’s no better place for sweat pants than at the gym or, better yet, in the privacy of your own home. Stretch pants do not belong out in public, unless you’re actively stretching, which is not, I don’t think, an activity one normally engages in at the mall, say, or the grocery store. Frankly, I’d prefer to never again have to look at anyone wearing stretch- and/or sweat-pants out in public. Activity wear is for activities, people, not for school/work/shopping.

This is the code by which I live my life. I live this code so fully that up until three weeks ago I didn’t even have athletic wear, given how disinclined I am to actually, you know, athleticize, but then my buddy Leslie showed up with a pair of black yoga pants. Here, she said. I saw these at the store and thought they looked like your size. I looked at them dubiously, but she convinced me to go try them on. They fit! Because I never dress in athletic wear, I am chronically uncomfortable in my own home (not to mention at school, in other people’s homes, and in the car), and so I accepted these yoga pants with absolute delight. At last I had something other than my pajamas to wear around the house. Seriously, this was the cause of no small amount of excitement for me.

Yesterday after the long drive home from Washington state, I did what any normal person would do at three in the afternoon: I immediately got into my pajamas and lay on the couch reading. Around about six p.m. I realized that all of our perishables had perished in the eleven days we were unexpectedly gone from the house, and I needed to go shopping if we were going to have anything for dinner other than dried cat food. I considered going to the store in my pajamas, but as I am not fifteen-years-old, I didn’t think I could pull that off. I went upstairs and gazed at my various wardrobe options and somehow I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting on my dress pants. I’ll wear the yoga pants, I thought. Other people do it. What could possibly go wrong? After all, I  just needed to buy some bananas, some milk, and some tortilla chips (because if those ingredients don’t sing dinner I just don’t know what does). I figured I’d dart out for a stealth trip to the store. Who would I run into, after all, at six pm in Quality Foods on Bowen Road?

I pulled my jacket down low as I walked through the aisles, hoping to cover up as much of the offending yoga-pants-in-public as possible. I put milk in the cart and looked up to meet, ever-so-briefly, the gaze of Bob-the-elusive-pharmacist*, on whom I harbour a secret formerly secret crush. He glanced away immediately, the way one glances away from a horrific car accident.

My God, I thought, the first time I leave my house wearing leisurewear in ten years I run into the only person in Nanaimes I would hate to see me in this condition. It’s like there is a God, and s/he’s pissed at me. I darted off through the grocery store away from Bob-the-elusive-pharmacist in a stealthy cat-and-mouse move that would make Jason Bourne look like Barney. I paused long enough to consider a loaf of bread and, lo!, Bob-the-elusive-pharmacist turned down the aisle behind me. My God, it’s bad enough to be seen in public in yoga pants but to be seen from behind whilst wearing yoga pants was enough to make me consider topping myself right there, in the bread aisle.

I leapt off towards the cashiers, shopping cart careening wildly before me. It was urgent to get away from him as quickly as possible so as he would not recognize me as the woman who very rarely comes into his store. To date, I have seen/talked to/interacted with Bob-the-elusive-pharmacist exactly three times.

The first time I was waiting while a friend got her prescription filled and I passed the time by begging Bob-the-elusive-pharmacist to lend me his mobile phone so I could text my sister to tell her that Amy Winehouse had died. (He did. She already knew.) The second time I told him, while he was filling a prescription that my youngest daughter, that “I have Healthy Kids.” I was saying that we were enrolled in the BC Healthy Kids program and was therefore suggesting that we should not be charged full price for our drugs. He thought I was boasting. “That’s good,” he said, handing over the antibiotics, thinking loudly that if they were so damn healthy I wouldn’t be needing antibiotics for one of them, would I? And the third time? The third time I was running away from him in the grocery store while wearing yoga pants, attempting to hide both the contents of my shopping cart and myself from his alarmed gaze.

I think this doesn’t bode well for the future of our relationship. It also may give me the slightest insight into my chronically single status.

*I have no idea what his name is. Probably not Bob. He’s so elusive his name eludes me.