In tribute to the delightful, but sadly missing-in-action Tova Darling, here is my Totally Awkward Tuesday...
I have a history of back problems. Fortunately, if I’m careful about how I move and the things I lift, I can go for years at a time without it flaring up, but every once in a while, it’s one false move and I’m paralyzed with pain.
And one false move can be anything from how I brush my teeth to moving a piece of furniture. Of course when your back goes out, people always ask you how it happened, and it would be oh-so-satisfying to say “Skydiving.” But as you know, I do value the truth, and besides who would believe me?
When that disk bulges I have often been sent to physical therapy for relief. It has always worked wonders for me, and anything that keeps me away from surgery sounds good to me.
So a few years ago, my back goes out. Let’s just say I was neither brushing my teeth nor skydiving at the time. Leave it at that, okay? The doctor sends me to physical therapy three mornings a week; I get the earliest appointment at 7:30 a.m. so I can go directly to work after the session. Yes, I get in a little late, but I work through lunch or stay late to make up for it.
I shower at home, and dress in sweats and sneakers so that the therapist can apply the heat to my back, and put me through my delicate paces without wrinkling my work clothes. I leave home taking a garment bag with my suit, business-type blouse, panty-hose, jewelry and grown-up shoes. When I get to work, I lock my office door and change my clothes—voila! Transformed from borderline-cripple to middle manager.
This works great for the first week and a half. Then. One. Day. I go to work, and my staff is already busy doing their thing, except that there is a mini-crisis at the front desk. I put my garment bag and purse in my office, and come back to the front to problem-solve, and effectively (if I do say so myself) put out the brush fire.
Feeling pretty good about the day, I go to my office, lock the door and change. Sweats off, pantyhose on, blouse on, skirt—hey, where’s my skirt??? It should be on this hanger with my suit jacket. It’s not. Oh—my staff! There are a couple of jokers out there, and I’ll just bet that while I was distracted at the front desk, one of them came back and kidnapped my skirt just for sport!
I put the sweatpants back on, unlock my door, and call the primary suspect back to my office. She denies everything, but she does snicker and giggle at the idea. I reluctantly go to the desks of a couple of other possible perpetrators, dressed like a professional from the waist up, and like a cat burglar from the waist down. Everyone proclaims their innocence. I’m screwed. I have a whole day of meetings and work in front of me, and no choice but to wear my hybrid pro-cat outfit.
I think about hanging a sign on my door that says “No skirt, no service.” But I know it would be futile. Life must go on, even if you’re not appropriately dressed for it. I do get two meetings changed from another person’s office to mine, just so I don’t have to parade in front of more people than necessary. But I take a lot of ribbing about it for a long time.
Yep, when I get home that night, I find the skirt in the closet on a separate hanger. I never do figure out why I hadn’t hung the skirt and jacket together, but I also never leave home again without checking the hanger twice.
And that, dear readers, is my Totally Awkward Tuesday.