My boss honks from the street in front of the building. I stand up quickly from my desk, gathering up the package of dictation, emails, messages and various other half-finished projects and throwing open the back door to the building. Today has been one of those days – everything that can go wrong HAS gone wrong, but I’ve somehow managed to keep it together. Still, we are desperately behind schedule, and I catch myself trotting down the hallway and skipping steps in an attempt to get down to his car faster. His plane does leave in a few hours, after all.
Puffing and out of breath, I take a moment to regroup before I push open the side door and emerge into view.
Crisp brown slacks: Check
No wrinkles? Check.
No stains? Check.
No cat hair? Check.
Brand new, unstained, unfaded black work blouse? Check.
New glasses that help give me an intellectual, thoughtful, intelligent air? Check.
I take one last moment to smooth the flyaway, escapee hairs behind my ears and step out into the sunlight to approach his Lexus.
“Mr. Boss – here’s your phone. I’ve updated it to sync seamlessly with the computer. Here’s the list of messages that came in while you were gone. I’ve printed off your project list for the upcoming business trip, as well as a listing of important contacts and reminders. ”
I hand it to him, feeling more than a little proud of myself. When he left, the office was chaotic. In the few hours he’s been gone I have tamed the craziness down into a neat envelope and tidy little travel folder.
“Your flight is confirmed – the boarding passes are in your package. Your driver will meet you when you land.”
“And the foundation project?”
“I’ve notified the appropriate personnel and they’re standing by. The city called regarding the offsite bonds – I referred them to the project manager and they are taking lead.”
“Okay, sounds like you have everything under control. I’ll see you next week.”
I give him a cool, professional smile. I’ve come a long ways from the gawky ex-bartender I was when I first started this job. I am cool. I am cultured. I am confident and capable. “Have a great flight, Mr. Boss.”
I turn on my heels to head back inside.
My sudden turn causes the wide cuffs of my crisp, brown, unwrinkled slacks to flare out, entangling my foot as I try to step forward.
There’s no way for me to catch myself, not with one foot effectively hogtied to the other – I crash to the ground, my fall cushioned by a slope of grass.
Humiliated, I try to bounce back up, hoping nobody has seen.
Unfortunately, the slick bottoms of my penny loafers were made for office floors – not for clambering up grassy slopes. They catch just long enough to let me stand halfway up before slipping out from underneath me. Down I go again, this time catching myself on my hands and knees.
With my ample butt poking up high in the air, I’m pretty sure I look like a cross between an angry stinkbug and a skunk giving warning.
So much for my newfound confidence.
Tuesdays: They’re the new Monday.