One of my crew of amazing nephews, a highly skilled entertainer from birth both by design and in the usual way of natural surprises that occur in our family, was on a train with his parents and, seeing the fitted white head rest covers, blurted out Hey! Whose underwear are these?! They did look a lot like underpants. An understandable identification, to be sure. Pants, by the way, are not always as easily identified as one might assume.
There were the Pants of Mystery that lived in our house for several weeks until I discovered them lurking on a clothes hook behind a door and started asking around about them. They were definitely not mine or my husband’s. Several more weeks passed while I was learning that they didn’t belong to any of a half-dozen friends of ours who had stayed at our home in the past months or who had changed clothes there before or after a concert (yes, it happens). Didn’t belong to anybody…or did they? After a couple of months’ intermittent staring at the attractive yet enigmatic trousers, I had nearly given up on finding their long-lost owner when a different friend wrote a note from out of town and inquired regarding their whereabouts. I didn’t really need to require an identification from him as proof of ownership, of course, though I was tempted just because of the ridiculous weirdness of losing one’s pants and not noticing they were missing for months at a time. Though to be fair, he does own other pants. There are always enough pants to keep the world operating, evidently, at least my particular part of the world.
In fact, there might be more pants floating around than one might even expect, or need. When we were on our summer travels this year, we visited such beautiful places, so many that beckoned me to pull on some pants and get out to enjoy them. I loved hanging about the piers and bridges, beaches and marinas where I could get my fill of gazing into natural open water, such a scarce commodity in north Texas. I loved looking at the barnacles and mussels, the sand washed up against seaweed washed up against driftwood and rocks. Seeing the flicker of little tadpoles, sprats, fingerlings as they flitted and swam up from the depths and around the pilings. Watching as jellyfish seemed to bloom in the darkness.
And lo, seeing that one dramatic jellyfish wasn’t a jelly at all. Another pair of pants. How they got to drifting in the water right near the pier is beyond me. I don’t know if anyone will see this post and claim them, let alone ‘fess up as to how they arrived, empty, off the pier right there in the big city, but I like to think that they’re just part of the cosmic company of pants, having an adventure of their own en route to serving as headrest covers on a train in Norway, as a minor mystery-with-history appearing on the back of my door when I don’t expect it, or perhaps becoming the King of Pants in an alternate universe where trousers rule and find stray people as curiosities and mysteries to solve.