I made it all the way to work yesterday before I realized there was a rip in the crotch of my pants! Right before my meeting with Mauro. He already thinks I'm crazy. Now he will think I'm secretly homeless, to boot. (I should call my memoir "Homeless to Harper Perennial.") I loved these pants - a sort of bone-colored twill from Theory - too small when I bought them, but now loosely fitting, due to my fluctuating weight, which has fluctuated downward, happily, in recent years - and I was heartbroken. Do I get them repaired, or do I just try to find another pair just like them? (There is no pair just like them).
Of course, the rip took me back to my days at college, sophomore year, when I was taking a class with an eccentric sociology professor named ... I can't remember her name! Whoever she was, I complained to her about a similar rip then, and she told me she would repair my pants, for free. I was incredulous. A professor mending my pants? But I gave them to her. She returned them a couple of days later with a huge, bright-blue, iron-on patch attached to the outside of the pants. I stared at her. "I can't believe you just put a crazy patch on it!" I said. "You want me to look like Raggedy Andy!" She was highly amused, as was the entire Utica College faculty when I got finished with disseminating that story. But in reality, I was really grateful - my own mother probably would have just ripped the pants up to use as rags, as I wept. I felt mothered by that professor, and safe for a second, which is all I need. I wish I could remember her name ... there are very few eccentrics in the world - fewer still, eccentrics who make us feel safe - and I'd like to collect them all, at least within my memory, and keep them safe there.
I have earlier, murkier, memories of rips in crotches. My mother would take me, in these memories, to the store (Sears, or Alexanders, or somesuch), and announce that the pants had to be "STURDY IN THE CROTCH." (And "HUSKY," of course.) Luckily, these memories float in and out of my consciousness like a schooner into fog, and can't hurt me anymore.