The professor and I had adopted the pseudo-habit of going out for coffee on Thursday mornings, courtesy of the fact that he had no classes to teach and all three of our boy-children were in school.
Pseudo-habit, because stuff like dentist appointments, field trips and visiting faculty have managed to eat up every Thursday since February began. That, and the irregular conundrum that is the Kindergarten schedule.
‘So do you want to get coffee tomorrow,’ the professor asked last night. ‘You realize Percy doesn’t have school tomorrow right?’ ‘No! Why?’ ‘Parent teacher conferences,’ I offered the standard line of response.
Though I fail to grasp why that means Kindergarteners can’t go to school, when everyone else is already there.
Thus we found ourselves driving to the Calgary Farmer’s Market this morning with a pajama and snowboots-clad child in the backseat.
All I can say about the professor and I, at this point in our lives, is that we’re old. I mean, I feel pretty much the same as I’ve always felt – copious amounts of grey hair and inability to sit on a floor in hero pose without my feet and ankles sobbing for mercy, notwithstanding.
But the words that come out of our mouths? Old.
And the spectacle that is the professor driving through a parking lot? Old.
We arrived at the market right when it opened. Parking spots were in abundance. ‘Wow, I’ve never been able to park this close before,’ the professor mumbled in awe at his good fortune, as he steered the car across the lot in a particularly indirect and aimless manner reminiscent of an octogenarian taking the driver’s test hoping that he might be granted one more year on the road.
It reminded me of a time, nearly 30 years ago, when I was in the backseat of a car being driven through a parking lot by an elderly gentleman, and all I could think was ‘just park already‘ as he passed empty stall upon empty stall in search of…..just the right empty stall?
‘Just park already,’ I pleaded, not entirely under my breath, and at last the car came to a halt. When I stepped out of the car I noticed we weren’t entirely in our forward-facing spot; a few inches of our unfashionable minivan clearly lingering in the empty spot behind ours.
‘Do you want to pull up, you’re kind of in this spot,’ I pointed out.’
We entered the market and made our way to the coffee shop/stall/booth. As we waited for our lattes, the professor noted the black-outlined tattoo of red roses (with text) on the barista’s forearm. ‘I wonder if it’s hard to find clothes that go with that tattoo,’ he observed.
I considered her cap-sleeve floral print vintage-ish blouse and wondered how I might dress if my forearm was covered in red and black ink. It’s my main beef with colored tattoos: the wardrobe and hair and make-up implications.
We ambled around the quiet market in search of breakfast and then we sat down outside the kids’ play space where our surprisingly social 5 year old ran around with kids he didn’t know.
‘You realize our coffees cost more than our breakfast sandwiches,’ the professor sighed as someone who’d lived through the Great Depression. ‘I feel like an old man [adopts cranky, wobbly voice] can I just get some Folgers? Do you have anything for 90 cents?’
I shuddered at the thought of drinking ‘the best part of waking up’.
‘Are those her kids,’ the professor nodded in the direction of a fresh-faced woman with a pile of silver rings in her right ear, sitting at a table with four young kids. ‘Or is she the nanny?’ Compared to our tired selves, the woman looked to be in her mid-twenties with an infant, toddler and two boys who may or may not have been twins and were no older than 5.
‘I don’t know, those kids all look like her,’ I tried to assess the situation. And she was wearing a wedding ring.
Survey says: Mom!
‘It’s probably the way to go, having kids when you’re young.’ I thought out loud.
‘I don’t know,’ I guessed, as one living in fear that I will at some point be mistaken for Percy’s grandmother. ‘You’re probably more patient and have more energy.’
‘Hmmph,’ the professor replied,’ I don’t know about the patience, but definitely more energy,’ he sighed. Undoubtedly thinking, as was I, about the nightly energy-suck that is corralling the boys to bed, ensuring their teeth don’t decay, refereeing bathroom fights about somebody spitting on another’s hand while using the same sink. And doling out hugs and stories and snuggles when we’d rather put a pillow over our heads and take a mid-evening nap.
‘It would be kind of fun to have a baby in the house,’ he mused as he watched the not-nanny’s infant daughter quietly sleeping in her carseat. ‘Yeah,’ I agreed in the abstract, in the manner of someone whose words carry no implication. As in ‘yes, it would be fun to have a baby in the house even though we just talked about how we are too old and tired and are spending all our disposable income on $5 lattes.’
In the play space, I watched as a little girl, about 3 years old jumped in the air and plopped directly onto the floor. ‘Are kids made out of plastic? Can you imagine if we tried to do that?!’ I visualized my grown self voluntarily hurling my rear end onto an unpadded surface from hip height. ‘We’d probably break our tailbones! I mean, she’s maybe wearing a diaper [and obviously her legs are considerably shorter than mine] but still.’
Shortly afterwards, our attention turned to the leggings-is-not-pants conundrum that has plagued our world these last few years.
A woman walked past our table wearing black leggings with mesh cut-outs. It was the second time I’d seen this particular look at the farmer’s market.
It begs the question: whyyyyyyy?
Luckily Lululemon has answered: We designed these high-rise crops to help us move from Hatha to happy hour, no questions asked. With breathable Mesh panels that keep us cool as we bend, twist and sip, these pants have our backs even if post-practice drinks turn into impromptu dance parties.
From Hatha to happy hour? Except it was 9:30am at the farmer’s market. And I am asking questions.
Oy vey. Just pass me a pair of jewel-green poly-pants with an elastic waistband from the Janet Reno collection already.