Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ode to my darling

I love you. We had a good thing going. But you know I had to give you up. Had to move on ....It hurts me to do this, but I must. Surely, I will remember our time together with fondness.

In case you are wondering, I was talking to my jeans, my jeans of 6 and a half years that I had to retire from active service this past month. We were together almost everyday during that time. The only exceptions were days with weddings, funerals and thesis defense occurring during their course and hot summer days in Florida spent close to some water body and far away from air-conditioners (the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Wauberg, Ichetucknee river etc). As you can imagine, these were few and far between.

This pair of jeans was not the first one I ever had. But this is the first time I am bidding an emotional farewell to one. Now, why is that? It is because this is my “grad student jeans”. Before this, I had had a pair in high school and a pair in college. But then, it was not the same thing. In India, I had really cheap ones that I would now not call jeans at all, I wore them infrequently and then committed what I would now consider a crime of sorts, I washed and ironed them between wears! How na├»ve I was then!

And then, one day I went to grad school. I discovered that I had no time to do laundry. That was now designated a once in three weeks or even once in a month activity that you undertook only when your entire closet was in your hamper and you had no choice but to do it. I discovered that jeans are extraordinarily comfortable things if you just “broke them in”, something which takes you a week of wearing everyday to achieve, after every wash. And so I got hooked, to the pleasure of living in my pair of unwashed jeans. Once you discover this pleasure, you feel awkward wearing anything else. That is the beginning of the bonding. If you have felt it, you know what I am talking about.

And so I wore my jeans day in and day out. It began to fray in various places. This did not bother me. It almost completely lost color in parts. I did not even notice. A belt loop broke. I ran all the way to Ada’s tailoring the day this happened, paid what must have been close to 50% of the jeans’ original price and got it fixed. It was a given in my life that otherwise consists of what is known as the “Apartment, Department, Advisor, Budweiser” Routine. My jeans, my darling jeans.

And then, one day, a couple of months ago, it tore open right above the knee where the cloth had been worn down to mere threads. I was depressed. A deep inexpressible fear caused my stomach to knot up. But, I decided to set this aside. I continued to wear it torn, and planned to get the hole darned before winter came and I could not wear pants with a hole it. And I got it darned the first day I landed in India. And felt so good wearing it after more than a week’s hiatus (I could not wear torn jeans during the previous week for I was traveling for work in Europe, and Europeans tend to frown if you show up to give your seminar in torn jeans).

I thought all was well. I would go back to New York State without worrying about me getting cold in my torn jeans. I was happy. But then, the next day I squatted down on the floor to get something out of my back pack. And “trrrrrrrrrrrrr”. The death knell sounded. The jeans tore open right above where I had gotten it darned. The problem was that there was no cloth, just threads in the vicinity of the first hole, so the darning threads had nothing to hold on to. My heart broke just then, for I realized that our time together had come to an end. I HAD TO GIVE MY JEANS UP! A part of my world came to an end then. I was inconsolable for a time.

Of course, as with all things, time heals and I have moved on now. I have broken in my new pair, a Levi’s that fits like heaven even now…I can only imagine how well it will fit once we get acquainted to each other. It has been on me for two and a half weeks now. I am steeling myself to subjecting it to a first wash this weekend, as it is still reeking blue on my white sock when I walk through the rain. So, I am able to look back on my first love with nostalgia instead of pain and I hope it rests in peace in my mother’s closet where I left it with the promise of wenting my wrath on anyone responsible for trying to throw it away. And wish me luck with my new relationship that I hope lasts at least as long as my first one.


bongopondit said...

Aren't torn and faded jeans a fashion statement, or something (although possibly not in the upstate NY winter)?

But have to agree with the comfortness of a broken in pair of jeans.

Good luck on the new relationship :)

CuriousCat said...

That is what some of my friends said, when they saw me wearing my torn jeans...It must be a fashion statement, for it is about as uncomfortable as all the other ones out there!!:)