The question isn’t whether Adidas.com carries the Tiro 15 warm-ups in black at the same cost as the red, because you know damn well that the answer is yes, and you know you want the black pants with the triple white stripes, so aesthetically strong, despite your doubt about whether the aesthetic is conceived entirely and completely from the invisible cultural dictatorship, or whether it’s a genuine attraction to the reverberation of some frequency of style sent from the apparel gods.
The question isn’t whether you should focus, resist distraction and read the thick Sylvia Plath book on your desk, the one brand new from the library that contains her previously unpublished notes and diary entries, so bloated with her vocabulary that the impact of said tutelage would be of Olympic proportions.
The question isn’t whether you want the medium size, which you ordered the first time in all black, including the stripes, which felt too frumpy, too void of structure, like the fabric just hung there, limp and wanting for inspiration, or the small size which you ordered the second time, in red, with white stripes, that unlike the mediums, clung to your waist with such fervor as to suggest, at least to you, that you consider the Paleo diet, like everyone else in CrossFit, in order that the elastic not be quite so pressing.
The question isn’t whether, as your wife continues to request, you should drive to Piedmont Park for the gathering in support of the Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, despite the scant rain showers that weather.com says could be coming, dampening the fun.
The question isn’t whether the pair of Tiro pants that came third, medium size in red, same size as the first ones ordered, back to instincts, except this time, in the color of the second, the red ones with white stripes, are the perfect garment, combining strengths, and eliminating weaknesses, like breeding for the best traits.
The question isn’t whether Trump or Hilary wins, whether her name as two l’s or just one, or what he said, didn’t say, or should not have said.
The question isn’t whether the Adidas Customer Service Team, as a whole, as a singular entity, which you called not once, when they shipped you a pair of women’s shorts instead of the second pair of pants, the size-small red ones, not twice, when they then billed you for the women’s shorts, refusing to process a credit until the shorts they erroneously sent were driven by you to the nearest UPS store, labeled properly, and scanned by one of their underpaid jabronis at the Adidas factory in Pencilheadtown, Indiana, but three times, the third time, just because you were curious whether they could possibly fuck up a totally innocuous customer call, just to say hello, just to check in, to make sure the organization was still neck above water.
The question isn’t whether your cat named Kat is actually obese or overweight, which you suspect, but can’t admit, scratching walls, doors, windows at 3am, 4am, 5am, then 6am begging for you to mope down the stairs, scoop that plastic cup into her bucket of not ordinary Dollar General Purina, but organic I Love You, chopped up tuna and rice meal, drop it into the left side of her two-compartment bowl, as she’s nudging you now to get the hell out and leave her the hell alone, and then cup down into the bucket again, filling the right side of the bowl, cat almost done with the first side, like if she gets it down before you finish with the right side, then maybe, just maybe you’d doubt whether you even filled the left side, and because of this comatose doubt, you’d re-fill it, and while that happens, she’ll be working on the right, and maybe it can go on like this, all morning, until that big bucket of I Love You organic cat food is empty.
The question isn’t whether, to take a step back, your closet is wanting for pants, either in number or in quality, which would justify such a near-sided and blurry focus on these thirty-five dollar leg coverings for a climate that is like 95 degrees six months out of the year, and with global warming, only getting hotter.
The question isn’t whether you should embrace the grey Champion sweatpants, atop the pants mountain on the top shelf of the closet, blotched with coffee stains and flecks of orange and red from the simmering batch of spaghetti sauce that needed to be stirred all night, in order for the tomatoes and onions and meat to mingle, mate and marry.
The question isn’t whether you should appreciate the two pairs of jeans, one in dark denim, and one in light denim, folded underneath the champion sweatpants, which you reserve for bed time, the sweatpants, not the jeans, the jeans are for going out, for looking socially presentable, they’re a substitute for khakis, a substitute for pleats, a substitute for caring.
The question isn’t whether you should resist buying more, or at least stop buying new, and instead go to the Goodwill, and support recycled clothing, less strain on the third world, countries like Guatemala and China, fainting to feed the insatiable gluttony and loneliness of the first world, good men like you.
The question isn’t whether there are three or four more pairs of pants underneath the jeans.
The question isn’t whether it’s the image of Adidas that you’re after, that you can’t merely assume, that you must purchase, the three stripes together, so-well spaced, symbolizing sophistication, versatility, agility, cognitive clarity and and and and.
The question isn’t whether, now that you finally have the mediums in red, whether you need them in black, too, along with the zip-up hoodie in black to match, so you’re complete, because right now you’re only half, you need the three stripes up the legs and three stripes up the arms, the arm stripes are imperative, like the model on the ads that they keep emailing your phone, not once, but twice a day.
But really, the question has nothing to do with Adidas. The frenetic curiosity doesn’t hinge on cat food or Sylvia Plath or global economic equality. Then what’s this all about?
I mean, if you knew the answer to that question, if you knew what this was all about, if you knew why you’ve been second and third-guessing your pants, at thirty years old, squinting in the mirror, chin turned over your shoulder, eyeing yourself nervously, just like you did in high school, and college, until you stopped when you got married three years ago, then you wouldn’t be second and third guessing, red or black, small or medium, waiting on hold to static flecked elevator jazz, for ten minutes, then twenty minutes, then thirty minutes, would you?
If you knew all that, then you wouldn’t be here—Saturday-morning sitting, ankle over knee on the posh black leather couch at the chic coffeeshop, next door to Good Karma Yoga, while your wife bends through her 9am Vinyasa Flow, pecking MacBook Air prose poems like some Dr. Dre protégé, rocking the Adidas head to toe like you had something to prove. If you knew all that, then you wouldn’t freeze up, lungs grabbing your throat, when the door opens, bell rattles, and a BALR hat walks in, fitted, bold white letters above the flat brim. If you knew all that, you wouldn’t be opening a new tab, sourly typing “BALR hat” into the search bar, short beam blinking, unlike your eyes, as you click through screens, shrinking when you scroll down, seeing that the hat costs 120 bucks a pop.