I’m not fat. I’m not extraordinarily tall. After shopping for jeans Sunday, I may as well be the Jolly Green Giant. Or Jabba the Hut.
The adventure began at 8:30am. I woke up and sleepily decided that I would be extremely productive after hitting snooze one more time. An hour later I crawled out of bed, found my way to the shower, and planned out my shopping trip; all I had to do was find the Levi’s store located near the department store (FE21) on XiDa Road. Piece of cake. If Levi’s didn’t make my butt look fantastic, I’d go to FE21 and find something there.
Happy with my plan, I dressed in my current pair of jeans, which Gretchen lovingly calls “diaper jeans”. I’ve lost enough weight to warrant buying the next size down, which means my current jeans are baggy and rather unfortunate-looking on my butt. They sag. I’m sure I’d be able to pants myself if I really wanted to, though my hips help ensure that won’t happen accidentally.
I headed out on my scooter and turned onto XiDa Road. Once I was by FE21, I turned down a side street where I remembered the Levi’s store being. When I realized I was wrong, instead of turning around and searching other side streets, I decided to take the long route back to FE21. This route ended up being quite a bit longer than I anticipated, as the streets didn’t intersect or go in the directions I expected; the five-minute scooter ride to FE21 turned into a 25-minute ride down side streets and through a busy street market. If I thought I hated pedestrian traffic before, I was in for an intense test of my sanity as I drove around on Sunday. It wouldn’t matter if a freight train was coming full-speed down the lane – these shoppers would step right in front and never acknowledge the impending doom.
When I finally found XiDa and FE21 again, I quickly parked and decided to walk. I began searching for the store on foot, keeping a mental map of where I was and which direction I needed to go to return to the scooter. That lasted five minutes. The streets meandered around, and I was quickly lost in a sea of Hello Kitty merchandise, stinky tofu and tunnel-visioned shoppers. It didn’t matter; I had my phone and good shoes, so I knew I’d find my way around eventually.
It took 45 minutes to find the Levi’s store, by which point I was hungry, slightly irritated at my fellow pedestrians, and ready to get this chore over with. I walked inside and looked around in dismay – the sizes would fit me only if I removed my hipbones and lost 75 pounds on the spot. Impossible. If I found any that were remotely large enough, they were too short. I quickly exited before the terrified-I-would-ask-her-a-question-in-English salesgirl had a chance to show me a pair she thought would fit me. No way.
20 minutes later and I found my way back to FE21. I entered behind an irritating couple with an adorable son and proceeded to glare at the backs of their heads. They made me angry simply because they were all wearing jeans that fit. Show-offs. At this point I was hungry, hot, irritated, and ready to throw in the towel. As everyone knows, this is the best possible mood to be in when you’re shopping for clothes.
Up 4 stories, look for jeans. Go up another floor, look for jeans. Found them on the seventh floor in all their bedazzled glory. Too short, too sparkly, too small, too overwhelmingly ugly to drop $100 USD and risk losing more weight and throwing them away.
Defeat and failure. I retreated, tail between my legs, to our apartment at 2 or 3pm, still wearing my diaper jeans.
There is no happy resolution to this story. I’m sitting here in our living room – Gretchen beside me checking out a fashion blog, Juan watching Cold Case Files on TV – reliving Sunday’s failure. I’m wearing my diaper jeans. My friend Hannah resolved last night to help me this weekend, which I look forward to with hesitant hope. If I can’t find any jeans in a store here, I’ll have to wait until I return to the States; I don’t think ordering jeans online would be a wise decision.
Jeans are at the top of my list of material things I miss from home, and that list grows a little as the weeks pass. Jeans. Taco Bell (don’t judge). Mixed spices. The radio. My Xterra. Water pressure in the shower. Flat sheets.
In all fairness, I’ll miss a lot of things about Taiwan when I eventually leave. The food is delicious. When smog isn’t hiding them, the mountains are beautiful. The cost of living still pleasantly catches me off guard (my haircut on Saturday included a half-hour head massage and 45 minutes of meticulous snip-snip-study, snip-snip-study, all for $20 USD). Learning Chinese is proving to be fun. I’m becoming a good cook. There are more, but I’m too bitter about my jeans situation to care.