That pants area again

I came upstairs from the Permit Center the other day, whining mildly about a customer. Same old story, but each angry person thinks they are the first one to say things like, “WOW. You know what? You’ve just TAKEN my property.”

When in fact, they bought something that’s been foreclosed on because developing it was complicated and expensive because there are wetlands and streams all over the place, and, surprisingly, I don’t actually end up owning all of these properties.  Sometimes, they bring up how a relative (grandfather, usually), didn’t fight in the war so that this could happen, and I want to say something about how I bet your grandfather wouldn’t have picked such a low-lying wet piece of property, and if he did, he probably didn’t expect to build a 6,000 square foot home on it. But I don’t, I sit quietly with my hands at my heart center and breathe, and say things like, “Is there  anything else I can help you with today?”

B. says, “Hey, don’t worry, I’ve got a plan. I’ll get a Subway franchise, and you can work for me.“

“I don’t like asking all those questions. ‘Would you like mayonnaise, mustard, oil, vinegar? How ‘bout salt and pepper? Would you like a drink with that? What kind of bread?’"

“Well, looks like you’re not gonna’ have much choice about that. You’ll be workin’ for me before you know it.”

I like this idea even less than his last one, which was that we become radiologists and open a clinic, or maybe a hospital. When anyone came by with even the mildest physical complaint, he’d say, “Can this wait until Betsy and I get our hospital started?”

“B., I have these squirrels living in my attic. Any tips?”

At about this point, a co-worker whom I know just a little bit comes by with a plastic grocery sack.

“Betsy, I have these pants that are too short for me. I was thinking you might like them.”

Which is really sweet, but also a little unusual, because we aren’t the same size at all. But it’s awkward to bring that up, so I hem and haw a little bit. “Oh, thanks. Thanks for thinking of me. Um…”

“They’re really cute white pants. You could wear them for dress up.”

I pull them out of the bag, and notice the size, which could be expressed by this formula:

My Pants Size x 3 = Size of cute white dress-up pants.

The pants are pure white except for a few large coffee stains on the front quadricep area. I try to imagine exactly where I would be going that would require me to wear large stained white pants, but I know she has the kindest intentions, so I say, “Hmm, I’m not so good at wearing white. I tend to spill a lot.”

“Well, for dress-up?”

“Oh, I don’t think so. But thanks for thinking of me.”

“What about Ms. Pasta? Do you think she might like them?”

“Um, I don’t really see her wearing much white either.”

“Well, for dress-up. They’re super-cute, but they’re just too short for me.”

"I think Ms. Pasta is actually taller than you.”

“Well, I actually used to be as tall as her, before my car accident.”

I’m trying to keep up with the thought pattern and convert it into a formula, but I’m having trouble. I get this far:

Ms Pasta’s height > donor’s current height > pants

Based on my understanding, I deduce that the pants will be too short for Ms. Pasta, but I'm not sure how the car accident fits into the formula. It seems clear that the donor is going to stay until I do the “human sacrifice” thing of suggesting someone else to give the pants to. So I do, but I feel a little guilty about it, and also, mystified.  I’m just unfamiliar with the custom of walking around the workplace, peddling used clothes – I tend to just give them to Goodwill, but that’s just me.

B pipes up again. “How about a smoothie franchise? Not so many questions, you’d like that. We each need to kick in $150K to get it started.”

“No. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life tossing stuff in a blender. I’m just not.”

“Well, that’s up to you, but if you say no to that, you’ll be wearing those enormous white pants at the Subway, asking all the questions. Don’t say you didn’t have choices.

At about this point, J. walks in and sits himself down, the way he does.

I’m responding to the Subway franchise thing, and my voice is kind of creaky for some reason.

B. comments, “Oh, is this your new thyroid cancer voice?”

J is aghast. “Don’t joke about that! What if someone one of us knows actually has thyroid cancer?”

B replies, “That’s what makes it so funny! We think Betsy does have that.”

J: “Seriously? That’s terrible. You look fine.  Your neck looks fine."

"I know, J.  You know those people who are tall and leggy and can gain 20 pounds and still look great?  I'm that kind of person, only just in the neck."

"Well, I hope I’m not being too creepy to say I wish you well.”

B: “That doesn’t sound creepy to me, J. I think what was creepy was when you tried to give her those pants.”

At any rate, there is no thyroid cancer, the co-worker is still going around peddling the pants, and the squirrels are still living in the attic.


  1. Perhaps she was wearing new glasses that make things, like your rear pants area, look much larger than they are. Did you ask her about that? I would've changed the subject and asked more information about her car accident: "Was this accident kind of a compression thing where you got shorter but your pants area got bigger? What is the Medical term for this condition? That must've been very interesting!"

    Yesterday I was blamed for selling someone the "wrong" sliding glass door. It seems he bought a frame and a door panel at my store that were "close by' and "seemed like they went together." He never bothered to check until a month later when he cut a hole in the side of his house and installed the frame. Someone was to blame and we were chosen. I gave him some plywood to temporarily plug the hole and some suggestions for how to make it work rather than uninstall it and buy a new door. He walked away still muttering but he shook my hand and thanked me 3 times. so you CAN please some of the people some of the time.


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