When I got the job in Canberra I went on a bit of a spending spree to buy new clothes for the job. Unfortunately, nearly a year of sedentary work, combined with weight gain sparked by my efforts to stop smoking, intersected today for an experience that screams “Get back to the GYM!”.
Ok, so my weight has got a little out of control since moving here. The past few months have been the primary issue, largely because I’ve stopped smoking, but in its place, I’ve developed a confectionery habit. For several weeks, the first sign of a smoker’s craving and I’d be scoffing a Snickers or Mars bar, and an iced coffee, bottle of “V”, or some other sugary substance. I also stopped running for those first few weeks, as for some retarded reason, doing exercise seemed to bring on the worst of the cravings.
Needless to say, all that extra sugar in the diet, and even less effort to burn it off, was bound to have an effect eventually, and in the past several weeks, it has all come to rest in a number of unfortunate places. Mostly, I seem to be carrying this weight in the jowls (I have an occasional second chin—small as it is, it’s still there when it shouldn’t be), and a miniature Michelin man style waist.
It wasn’t so much the sweatin’ my ass off episode of last week that brought it home to me that maybe I really need to start trying to burn off that sugar inspired flab now, but rather, a crisis of proportions similar to that of the emperor and his new clothes.
It’s the time of office Christmas parties in Canberra at the moment, and so often “teams” of office workers are sprinkled throughout the shady spots of Glebe Park, giving the barbecues a good turn and for some bizarre reason, keenly observing any strangers who happen by. Most people on my floor all go to lunch around the same time, dispersing in a sudden gush of shirts and skirts into the “centre” of the town, almost to the point of being able to set one’s watch by their departure.
My mid-morning routine is generally to try and do the tasks that don’t require higher mental activity for the first hour, as my brain without coffee is like an axle without grease. We go for coffee at 10am and I invariably come back with a predictable order of a large strong latte and a blueberry muffin. From there, once I’ve downed the coffee and the muffin, chased by a banana by 11am, I’m off to the throne room to make room for lunch (tactful, ain’t I?).
I stopped wearing belts on my pants some years ago, when I dropped a large amount of body weight (25% of it in fact), and went off to buy a new wardrobe that fitted me at the size I was then. Of course, as I’ve grown bigger again, these clothes have started to experience some stress, especially on the waistline. I couldn’t see any reason (alas, this does tend to explain a little too much just how my logic works…or doesn’t) to be putting a belt on now, as the pants were staying up of their own accord, and the chances of me having a grandpa Simpson moment, where they fell down to embarrassing and comical effect, would be thin…or not so fat.
I have a pair of jeans that for some reason manage to unzip themselves in the oddest situations. I’ll often be walking down the street when I feel a breeze in the park, and have to hurriedly hoik the zipper back up and hope no one has noticed. I’ve learned quickly with these jeans, that wearing underwear with bright colours, particularly those far removed from the dark blue of the denim, are like walking around with a neon sign on your belt buckle that says “peep show here”.
This morning I followed my routine, and at 11am got up for my usual machinations of that time of day. I locked the stall and went to unbutton my pants, and felt something give way. I looked down at my hand to see the button had broken clean away from my pants. The centre of the thread holes had been completely torn out. For a moment, all I could hear was my zipper falling down, followed by the grim realisation I hadn’t followed my descending zipper rule, and had instead worn some fairly bright red underwear.
Ahead of me now, was a long walk home sans button or belt to change into another pair (this time with a belt), and I wondered whether the zipper would be able to stay up of its own accord. At worst, I could probably get away with walking with my hands in both pockets and holding the pants up that way. I decided to test this idea with a short walk from the toilet back to my desk, which subsequently proved the hands in the pockets idea was a stupid one.
For now though, I could hold out til lunchtime without too much fuss. I just had to wait until most people had gone to lunch, then I could make my escape and dash home for the necessary replacements. At 1pm, I stood up, zipped up, and made a dash for the lifts. I got down to the foyer, and out into the main courtyard before the zipper started its earthward descent, but I wasn’t worried, because I only had to get beyond the main courtyard, turn right, and I’d be in Glebe Park, and once I crossed Glebe Park I was home free. I just had to keep my pants up.
About halfway through Glebe Park I remembered the Christmas parties I’ve had to pass through over the past week, and sure enough, there was another crop of them. For a moment I considered turning around and trying to find another, less populated way, but then realised I’d already been spotted by most of the Christmas Parties. I can’t imagine what they’d have thought at the sight of me half running into the park whilst clutching at my pants, then suddenly turning and running back out again on realising I was being watched.
So I put my head down and pushed through, trying to clutch at my pants as little as possible, whilst hoping the zipper would just stay put for five minutes. Once I was out the other side of the park, it could freefall all it liked. This was of course, one of the first times I’d walked home during my lunch break, and hadn’t realised just how many people would be out and about during this time of the day. My zipper upheld its end of the bargain, and stayed reasonably close to the mark until I’d reached the other side of the park, but then of course, it decided to start bungy jumping every few minutes.
With a steady stream of people heading towards me, the entire journey home was one of me muttering angrily to myself whilst clutching at the front of pants in an effort to stop them falling down, and trying to keep my zipper up so the bright red underwear wouldn’t show. I wondered if they were locals and if they were locals, had they wondered, or even assumed, that I was from out of town, judging by the sight of me.
Can I just have a normal week, where nothing embarrassing happens to me…please?