Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hudson, Voldemort and Hipsters All Owe Me a Pair of Jeans

Photo credit: Liz West
Yesterday morning was our Italian class at Centro Raccontami in the Flatiron District. Everyone was so well dressed last time that I put on a little mascara to spruce myself up a bit.

To get to class requires a 15-minutes walk plus two subways -- seven sets of stairs in all -- and it's a hell of a lot easier to strap Henry into the carrier and stash him inside my special Ergo Baby Papoose coat than to carry the stroller. The problem is he's getting heavy. Everyone raves about baby-wearing, but this is toddler-wearing, and I have neither the shoulders nor the upper body strength to glide effortlessly along with 20 pounds strapped to my chest.

Once bundled in, his little round head is the only thing sticking out of my enormous poofy coat. It's so cute, but to me he's like a little Voldemort. Remember in the first Harry Potter movie where Professor Quirrell carries Voldemort in his turban? Yeah, like that.

On our way, I had to take Hudson to doggy daycare because the cleaning lady was coming, and my poor, neurotic pup is afraid of the cleaning lady, the vacuum, any and all cleaning products as well as the closets and cabinets in which those products are housed. (While I realize these are all incredibly first-word problems -- I mean, did I really say "doggy daycare" and "cleaning lady" in the same sentence? -- they are, in fact, my problems.)

So I went outside in the drizzle holding Henry/Voldemort, my big heavy diaper bag, an umbrella and Hudson on a leash. Hudson made a beeline for the curb -- which I should be happy about, because I trained my dog to do his business on the curb instead of in the middle of the sidewalk -- to do a huge doggie dump in a gigantic puddle. Oh, Hudson.

A bus was stopped at the corner, and the driver watched from his perch with a mixture of incredulity and amusement as I tried to figure out how to bend down while not dropping anything on the wet ground.

Finally, I squatted slowly with one foot on the curb and one in the street.

Then I heard it: CCCRRRRPPPPPP.

My jeans. They had ripped down my inner left thigh, and not even on the seam.

But the poop was in the bag!

I laughed a loud, crazy non-laugh and looked at my watch. If I went upstairs to change I would be late for class. But I couldn't very well sit cross-legged on the floor for an hour in a room full of well dressed Italian women with a gaping hole in my crotch. No amount of mascara was going to make up for that.

Fine, I'd change. But somehow, on the way to the garbage pail in our dirty cement "courtyard," Hudson's shit fell out of the bag and onto the ground again. Then he stepped in it. I bent down again, feeling the tear grow to reveal even more of my gelatinous thigh. I definitely wasn't going back upstairs with Hudson's feet covered in his own shit.

Forget it, I thought. I'll just have to try to explain.

As I dropped Hudson off and walked to the subway, I rehearsed my story in Italian. Frankly, however, my Italian is too rusty these days for: "I ripped my jeans in the crotch while reaching into a puddle to pick up dog shit and then decided that I'd rather flash my thong at all of you than go all the way upstairs and track said shit into my apartment."

Sigh.

Waiting on the subway platform with me was an altogether androgynous Pat whose skinny pants featured one black leg and the other a sort of knock-off Burberry plaid. Why on earth...? Goddamn hipsters, I grumbled. I hate Brooklyn; I hate hipsters.

Photo credit: Guido Strotheide
I had to displace my anger somewhere, right?

On the train there were not one but two twenty-somethings with full-grown handlebar mustaches. I'm going to go out on a limb, here, and say that handlebar mustaches need to jump the damn shark already. I can't stomach another purposely messy, waifish, Carhartt-wearing hipster who is inexplicably smug over a possum-like growth on his face. IT WENT OUT OF STYLE FOR A REASON, DOUCHEBAG.

And while we're on the topic, all of Brooklyn, comb your collective hair. I mean, I am sleep-deprived and covered in milk. What's your excuse?

We finally arrived at 14th Street and 6th Avenue, and miracle of miracles, we were a little early. I had a brilliant idea -- I'd go to the nearest clothing store and buy a pair of pants or leggings.

And what was there to greet me when I exited the station? None other than the hipster mecca, Urban Outfitters.

Now that's a universal smack-down if I ever heard one.

I scanned the streets desperately to no avail -- there was nothing else that would work. At this point my options were:
1. Flash Italian moms with fat crotch;
2. Traipse around looking for a better store in the rain with Henry; or
3. Get my just deserts* and find something, anything, at UO.

The store was empty. I approached a salesgirl -- and I do not say girl lightly -- and asked where I could find leggings.

"Oh, they're downstairs," she replied.

Of course they are.

"Okay, thanks."

"But wait," she said hesitantly, "are you looking for, just, like, plain black leggings?"

"Yes."

"Well, we only have floral printed leggings down there."

"Floral printed?" GODDAMN HIPSTERS

"Yeah..." she trailed off.

"Hmmm. Is there somewhere else I could get plain black ones?"

"Yeah, you could try, like, Forever 21?"

"Okay, where is that?"

"Um, Union Square?"

"Union Square," I repeated, processing this information. That was three avenues away. Wasn't going to happen.

"Yeah," she continued. "Do you know where that is?"

I stared at her blankly. She thought I was a tourist. Because obviously no self-respecting New Yorker would go into Urban Outfitters at 10 on a Wednesday morning, greasy and disheveled, obviously too old and too large to be wearing UO fashions, with a silent little Voldemort peeking out of her coat.

"Yes," person who has not even been alive as long as I've lived in New York, "I know where it is. I'll just go downstairs and see what you have."

I went down yet another set of stairs, walked past the "Hipster Jokes" book (truth) and easily found a pair of black leggings.

"Can I wear these out if they fit?" I asked the dressing room girl.

"No, you'll have to go upstairs and pay for them first."

"Can you make an exception? I'm kind of carrying a heavy load here." I gestured to Voldemort and smiled.

"No, sorry," she drawled.

In the dressing room, I kicked off my Mom Clogs and stripped off my jeans with Henry, much to his delight, still in the carrier. I put on the leggings. They were fine. I took off the leggings. I put my jeans and Mom Clogs back on. I went upstairs and paid. I went back downstairs and took off my jeans and Mom Clogs. I put the leggings back on. They looked hot with the Mom Clogs. HOT.

By the time I reached Centro Raccontami, which is on the second floor of a rickety walk-up building, I was simultaneously sweating profusely and shivering.

I can't say Henry loved class. He just wants to examine things indefinitely and is not used to giving toys back so quickly. But then the big Italian Frog Puppet came out, and he giggled and laughed, and hugged and kissed it.

So I guess it was all worth it?



* Not "just desserts." Stop saying that! Click the link to find out why.




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