I hate dress-up days.

                When I was a kid, I loved playing dress-up. I’d put on one of the many dresses my grandmother bought me and I refused to wear except for this purpose, paint my lips with my mother’s bright fuchsia lipstick (the shade she still wears to this day) and top off my femme fatale impersonation with the straw hat I hid under my books in the closet on Easter morning. Then I’d do the same to my little sister, and drag her down the steps to perform a song for my adoring audience.  We wowed them every time, without fail.  I decided that I’d put my Tony award in the bookcase I used for a Barbie house, because after all it needed a little glitz.

                Dress-up isn’t fun anymore. No one claps for me.

                But today I have a “very important” client meeting downtown in the city’s crown jewel, a building so high I get vertigo when I look out the massive windows to the street below. So high that my ears pop when I get off the elevator. And this king demands his audience dress appropriately. Which means I need to wear my damn costume. I am not happy about this at all. I hate suits, and I despise their implications for my feet.

                I am not a short woman. In fact, at nearly 5’7” I might even be a bit above average height. Even taller when my hair is all punky the way I like it. My legs, however, are not quite average length.        Okay they are short. The thing is, you would never even notice it if you saw me. I don’t look grossly disproportionate (unless everybody is lying to me and I look like a funhouse distortion) and to be honest it never really bothered me until a few years ago.  I loved to see the shock and awe on the faces of the people in my yoga class when they watched me reach three full hand lengths past my toes while they grimaced trying to get to their ankles. “You’re so flexible” they would say with great admiration, and in truth, I am flexible, but of course the fact that my legs are stumps doesn’t hurt matters any.  

                Back to my feet. Because my legs are short, and because I am too cheap  busy to get alterations, my pants are always ridiculously long. Petite sizes don’t fit me.  So every pair of jeans I own has frayed and ripped bottoms. (I’ve decided it looks trendy.) Lucky for me, I own my own business, work from home and don’t ever have to wear anything other than jeans. Except on dress-up day, when I have to wear this damned suit. Of course, I am cultured enough to know that it is not acceptable for my pant legs to be dragging down Broad St, so to solve this problem, I decide on high heels. Very high heels.  Stilts, actually. Yes, 5” heels definitely qualify as stilts, don’t you think?  I know what you’re thinking—why not a skirt suit. Let it be known henceforth that I hate skirts even more than I hate high heels, unless they are flowing and gauzy and decidedly unprofessional.

                So I put on the costume, don my new stilts and trip out the door. Coffee? Check. Briefcase? Check. Laptop? Check. Black cami to hide the inevitable coffee spill?  Check. Corporate attitude?

Ahem.

Corporate attitude?

 Hmmm.

I decide to work on this during the car ride, which is a good hour without traffic. Plenty of time to find my moxy and put my game face on. It’s going to take a bit of coaxing and prodding, because I find corporate America to be very much akin to puppets these days, I don’t always play nice in the sand box, and I have a hard time holding my tongue when I see questionable ethics.  But I need to get ready for the show. Yes, I can do this. Focus.

            Except I can’t.  Because I am suddenly being pelted with ideas and inspirations from all angles. Seems my muse is throwing a bit of a temper tantrum at having to wear this mental straightjacket. Business is the last thing on my mind. I’m writing poetry. I’m writing this. This battle between left and right brain goes on for a good 30 minutes. Finally, I give up. It’s clear who is going to win this war.

               Soon I forget about the fact that my toes are jammed into two inches of paper at the front of my shoe (I had to stuff them with the store packaging because my heel kept coming out when I walked) and I am in full creative mode. I am on the hunt for ideas. I’m reading signs, scanning faces of the people in the cars next to me. I pass the international airport and wonder where people are going and if they are happy about it. I wonder if I’ll ever really get to Italy and be able to sit down across from the ancient toothless lady in the little village whose apron is covered in ripe plum tomatoes. I vow to myself that yes, someday I will. And then it starts to rain.

Umbrella?

Damn it.

No umbrella to be WAIT! Yes, an umbrella on the floor behind me! A teeny little navy blue umbrella with constellations scattered across it. And Snoopy looking up at them. Oh yes, and Woodstock too.

I swear I hear my right brain make nana-nana-poo-poo noises at my left.

         I contemplate this rather hilarious situation. In the end, I decide that I would LOVE to carry that Snoopy (and Woodstock) umbrella, just to see the faces of the people around me as I walk the streets with them, all suited up and proper on my way to Oz. This was going to be fun.

           My thoughts shifted away from the umbrella quickly as I approached the bridge. No, not a bridge…the tunnel into the bowels of the Death Star, and I am Chewbacca  Princess Leia sitting alongside Luke Han Solo on a mission to save the universe. This time, though, Han will realize how awesome I am when I flash him my humble but oh-so-regal smile and soon we will be back on the Millennium Falcon on our way to the planet Venalutia for our honeymoon.  After all, I’m wearing killer heels today, not those ugly granny boots.

        The car that almost ran me off the road put a quick end to my intergalactic romance and brought me back to reality. Nice, lady—real nice.  We were just about to kiss.

           Hmmmm—she’s wearing scrubs. A nurse? A doctor, perhaps? Well…I guess there are worse people to be hit by. At least she can help me if she isn’t dead when we crash. I decide not to flip her the bird, which, of course, would be very unprofessional.  Score 1 for left brain. Glad to see you’ve got a little fight left in you.

         Five minutes later, the Crown Jewel now looming in the cityscape, I am pulling off the interstate and on the hunt for parking.  Well, well–isn’t this just grand?  On the right, we have free parking for those visiting the unemployment office. Behind us, we have free parking for the “Executives” in the building. But for me, Ms. Middle Class Corporate Imposter in Stuffed Stilts and a Suit, that will be $33.00 per hour, payable by cash or credit card. The rain stops as I take my ticket and the sun pokes out from behind the Emerald City. I won’t need an umbrella now.

        I hate today.

        Maybe it’s just me, but I detest parking garages. I cringe every time I pull in and have to go under the clearance signs, always afraid of hitting it with the top of my car. Maybe that’s because one time I actually did.  That’s a story for another day. For today, I maneuver this behemoth SUV around tight corners and try, like an imbecile, to back into a tight parking space. The parking attendant (a very wise man, indeed) runs over and offers to park the car for me.  I almost hugged him in relief but left brain made another brilliant save and I just handed over some cash and thanked him like a proper lady.

        Then I notice something when he’s parking the beast. What’s that red thing in the white bag up against the back window?  I’m running late, but curiosity gets the best of me and I have to find out. I open the trunk and drag the bag towards me. Two googly eyes on a mess of red fur stare back.

        Elmo.

        It’s Emo Elmo, who lost his ability to laugh even when subjected to the most vicious tickles, best knock-knock jokes and fresh batteries.  Bound for the Island of Misfit Toys.  He’s been depressed for years, and been in here for well over a month.  I had forgotten all about him, and now here he is, staring at me with big googly eyes and a black hole puppet mouth.

       Now this is ironic. Funny, even.

       I pat him on the head. And he laughs.

He LAUGHS. He laughs loudly, and it echoes through the parking garage. And now I’m laughing, because Emo woke up after two solid years of sleep, just in time for my little masquerade. I know it’s a fluke and won’t last. I look at him for a minute, consider his fate, and then give him the thumbs-up sign.

I shall save you, Emo. Today you live.

The crowd goes wild.

I think he smiled.

        I pull him out of the bag and toss him into the front seat, grab my 20 pound briefcase, laptop and 10 pound feet and head towards the escalator. I have to hurry. 10 minutes to show time.

       Down the escalator to the crosswalk I go, and stand there with 30 other suits waiting for the white hand to blink. And…we’re….off! White hand blinks, and suddenly I am the lone horse at the end of the track staring at the rear ends of everybody as they race towards the finish line. Even the woman with hips that could give birth to a city block is beating me by a mile. What the hell is going on here???

      It is at this point that I make a scientific discovery. It is not anatomically possible for a short-legged woman with a long stride to walk in 5 inch heels without looking (and feeling) like she is doing lunges. It is also at this time I notice that the rest of the females are wearing sneakers. CHEATERS! I want  to yell, but I can’t because I am dangerously near collapsing from exhaustion.

                But I don’t collapse.  And despite my heels coming out of my shoes and the fact that I am tripping over my pants which miraculously grew an inch in one hour, I make it across the street, into the building, and up to the 32nd floor.

                On the way to the meeting place, I meet a woman I’ve been emailing for over a month for the first time, in person. She has a huge afro and a voice like a cello. I love her instantly. Anyone who can wear a suit and still have the guts to have hair like that is a-okay in my book. I strike up some conversation because I just love that voice. I wish my husband had a voice like that. I tell her this (not the husband part) and tell her she should be in radio. Turns out she is trying to break into voice-over  business and what do you know, she’s a writer, too.  I decide I am a very good judge of character and consider a new hair style as I walk towards THE office.

                Deep breath. It is time.

                What is this on the door jamb?

                It’s red fur.

                I can’t help it. I burst into giggles like a two-year old.

 

                                                                  ********************

 

                I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but I am happy to report that my meeting went extremely well , despite my obvious handicaps (mental being the most obvious).  Fist thumpin’ good, in fact. And, within an hour or so, I was back in the car.

Emo was waiting. I high-five him.

                Nothing.

                I tickle his belly.

                Nothing.

                I fist-thomp him on the head.

                He laughs.

                Yes, I made a good decision.

                My co-pilot and I share a few laughs on the way home. I walk in the door in stocking feet, holding my shoes and Emo, with frayed pants despite my best efforts to be the epitome of professional.

I put on my frayed jeans and a tank top.

Grab a cup of coffee, light a candle, sit down in front of my computer and start typing.

I’m back in barefoot comfortable Heaven.

 

       So there you have it. Probably more than you wanted to know but I sure had fun writing it.

May all of you have a fabulous, relaxing, and completely un-suitable weekend!  🙂

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Greetings all!

Some of you may know that I’ve been looking for work for almost 9 months. Well, I found some–temporary and a short term project, but at least it is “real work” that pays.

This is decidedly good.  😀

Of course, having a “real job” means I am not going to be able to spend as much time hanging out with my buddies here in cyberspace. This, to me, is badreally bad. I enjoy our discussions immensely. 😦

What’s a girl to do? I guess the only choice I have is to attempt to burn the midnight oil to squeeze in some reading and writing time.  I just don’t think I can put aside blogging and commenting for a few weeks. Nope, can’t do it. So I’m giving you all fair warning that my comments or posts may seem like they were written by a sleep-deprived, stressed out lunatic who is trying to adjust to a work schedule.

In short–this could get ugly. Bear with me, friends 🙂

Good vibes out to all!  For now, I’ll leave you with another of my favorite poems by Hafiz. I actually have it on my “inkspot” page, but it bears repeating:

 

Even after all this time

The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with

A love like that,

It lights the Whole Sky.

– Hafiz