I once visited the Soviet Union. The end of my trip coincided closely with the collapse of that nation. I departed Moscow on a Friday in August 1991. On Monday next, the country was basically over. But two months before, as I prepared to leave the US, people told me to take jeans (blue denim pants) along with me to give away as gifts. They said that the USSR made it difficult and expensive for their citizens to procure jeans. At the time that was a fascinating thought since most people I knew wore jeans every day. How could something so ubiquitous in the US be so hard to find only on the other side of the world?
In the end I never took any give-away-jeans since they took up too much space in my luggage. When I arrived, as I expected, not many people there wore jeans, and I noticed that.
When I lived in India in 2009, I also noticed that jeans were not so common, nor practical, in tropical humid climates. In fact, throughout all my travels, I observed that Usonians* wear jeans more than just about anyone else. Maybe that is because Levi Straus was from the US. Well, it’s just a common observation, nothing more.
In about 2012, I realized that my own jeans were not comfortable. Maybe they had always been that way, or possibly it was the changing shape of my aging body. I held out for a number of months, but eventually gave them away. From 2012 to 2019, I never wore jeans. Honestly, I did not miss them. I found khaki pants much more to my liking. Also, something about the color blue seemed better fitted for shoes, than for pants. At least to my preference.
Then later, while traveling in the Philippines, I was one day overcome by the realization that nearly every Filipino I could see was wearing jeans. I found this odd since the tropical weather made such a garment sticky, sweaty and heavy. Much better to consider the white cotton robes of the Middle East, or of India, I thought. Nevertheless, it appeared to be a fashion trend that was not likely to go away. Anyway, a friend asked me to procure some jeans, just for fun. So as a favor, I resolved to get a pair of jeans. Of course, I could find nothing in the Philippines, since I am much too tall and wide for the common clothing sizes sold there. But that began a quest to find a pair of jeans.
Back in the US, I went to four or five stores and must have tried on at least 50 or 60 different pairs. The effort was so laborious for me, that I had to split it up across various visits. In fact, over the span of two years, I tried unsuccessfully to find a pair of jeans that would fit me as comfortably as my other pants.
In the end, I settled for a clearance pair of jeans that seemed to fit the best. Even so, they were not comfortable, but endurable. At least now I could say that I had a pair of jeans. I wore them rarely but at least I had blue trousers in my closet.
My car is so old that it does not have Bluetooth for playing music. So I bought a wireless adapter and was able to plug it in. But the cord was under the console and it was somewhat time-consuming to install it. Nevertheless, once I did, it thankfully all worked. Then after a few months, it wasn’t working. I figured I just needed to unplug it, and re-plug it. But that meant getting under the console. Grrr.
Anyway, after going through that quite lengthy process all over again, I decided I needed to mount it outside the console in order be able to unplug it on occasion, as necessary. That required another extender cable. So I ordered it from Amazon. When it arrived, it fell apart in my hands, literally. Apparently, a defective item. Needless to say, I clicked the Return button. Amazon told me to drop off my shipment at Kohl’s which I had done dozens of times before. Only this time, due to the holidays, they had moved the Amazon Returns desk to the back of the store. After dropping it off, I thought what a great marketing idea it was to do that since it forced me to see what all they had to sell. And sure enough, on the way out, I spotted a pair of jeans.
The difference with these was that they had pleats (something I had always wanted) and they also had a slightly expandable waistline. It was the only pair in the style and color and it just happened to be my perfect size. Plus they were on sale and I also had a coupon (which they give you at the Returns desk). So a no brainer. I bought them. And it just so happened to be the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
Finally, after two years, I have a pair of jeans that I can legitimately wear and enjoy. It all got me thinking of the things that had to be in place in order for that to work.
- First of all, my Bluetooth adapter had to stop working.
- Then, the cable in the car had to be too short.
- Then, the cable that arrived had to be defective.
- Then, Kohl’s had to move the Returns desk for the holidays.
These items that seemed wholly unconnected to my wardrobe, all had to align, or I never would have seen the jeans. It struck me that I was dangerously close to never seeing something that I had been passively seeking for two years. I mean if just one of the items above was not in place, then I would never have found these pants.
It got me wondering if there are other things I aspire for, which are also just out of my reach, so to speak, but closer than I imagine.
Was this story with jeans all chance? Or a kiss of heaven? As someone asked, is “happenstance just God being anonymous?”
Either way, I am thankful. Maybe that’s all I need to be, regardless of whether I can figure how it all works.
*Usonian – the name of a citizen of the United States. A new word.
© 2019, Alignment Life