I sat, at a crossroads.
An uncomfortable, unshowered, unshaven, ball-cap-covered crossroads. In the middle of a conference room, at work, among the showered, shaven, and non-ball-cap covered. Smart, pretty people.
Important words, by important people, were being said about a project my team poured tons of work into.
Should I stand, and speak, risking the scrutiny of colleagues – some of whom I promised I’d even wear a dress shirt to this meeting – and possibly the question of “did Eli sleep on a park bench last night?”
Or should I say nothing to support my team, instead sulk back in my chair and contemplate when in the name of Chuck Noland would I feel clean and handsome (or at least clean) again?
I forget stuff, constantly.
No (RedBox, deodorant, underwear) left behind
If there’s a bag to pack, there’s also a guarantee one essential item will get left out.
It’s inevitable. I had to stop on my way to pick up Elise from college one night to return a RedBox movie I forgot to turn in the day before. (At least I had one day free rental. Silver lining status: Barely flickering.)
On any given trip, I’ll leave behind something, one of these items, maybe two*:
- Body wash
- Tooth brush
So when I read Tamara’s post for Top 10 Thursday – Uncomfortable Situations, it wasn’t a matter of conjuring up something from my past to qualify as a story in an uncomfortable situation. It became a matter of narrowing down the field to just one.
Incidentally, I need an exercise routine.
To exercise is an exercise in futility
I’ve tried the gym memberships, the morning yoga with that dreamy green-and-white yogi on the Wii. I’ve tried CDs with yoga lessons taught by a limber Asian man – whom I cursed heartily as I fell short of the pretzel-like contortions he beckoned me into.
I’ve run on treadmills and run at the park. I’ve traversed the downward facing dog on a Wii board and in a class at work, flanked by fox-like 20-somethings who make me feel like an armadillo just out of a wrestling death match with rogue tumbleweeds.
Combined with regular meditation, could a return to daily rounds of disc golf be enough to get me back into my size 32s and take a swipe out of the Type II?
So I passed on a shower one morning so I could toss some plastic before work. I’m basically Ronda Rousey at this point, lousy with fitness. I had no idea what the morning would actually become.
Ever driven on Interstate 485 in Charlotte – during rush hour?
- Eat something garlicky for breakfast (bonus points if it’s also bloaty)
- Wear a shirt two sizes too small
- Tighten your belt an extra two notches
- Poke yourself in one eye (your choice)
- Sit in place for 60 minutes. Don’t move.
Only, this day, the trek took up 120 minutes. There goes my ultra-fitness plan of conquering 18 holes of disc golf before the millennials at work could use their gym memberships and button up their plaid shirts to be ready for action.
When gym bags go AWOL
As the minutes ticked away Google Maps, the morning became a race to work in time to shower before this mondo meeting at 9 a.m.
I pulled in, heard Jenifer (with one N – the new name for my GPS princess) exclaim with no degree of disgust that a 30-mile drive just took nearly two hours. I’d better hit the shower, quick. Fix my hair, clean up the goatee situation, and snap on that promised dress shirt.
I just need my gym bag. I said, I just need my gym bag.
Where the hell? I searched under soccer pinnies and animal cracker boxes, amid soccer balls and Coke Zero empties. Nothing. I’d left without it.
The time: 8:55 a.m.
Fashion status: Refugee.
Sniff test: Moderately acceptable and unoffensive.
Here I go.
Stand and … deliver?
Luckily, the design lead on my team regularly shows to work in a long T-shirt and ball cap – but he’s a young guy.
I looked like a sick version of possibly his father, in that Justin Bieber and his dad kind of way. I did, for the record, stand and speak. No response. I sat back down. Earlier, I’d dropped my laptop with a considerable thud during another presentation.
So, the morning was a win, you see. Obviously.
Immediate regret. It was like, when a coach goes for it on fourth down instead of taking the easy field goal. Or an army general charges on to take a hill, only to find 37 squadrons waiting on the other side.
Or taking the cold pizza off the buffet just before they put out fresh ones.
Meetings and an early departure for soccer prevented me from hitting the dollar store for emergency shower stuff. I’d stay preserved in yesterday’s clothes and hygiene wholly appropriate for a camping trip but not so much a day at the office for the duration.
I have to say it was a good day
Only, it didn’t turn out so bad.
A boss told another boss I stood up and said something, and that it was good.
That design lead with the ball cap and beard said I did good by what I said. And then as I stuffed my lunch in the fridge, a co-worker, we’ll call her the answer to Winnie Cooper in my own daily sitcom, complimented me on my move in the meeting.
I won’t divulge the life-altering exchange (pretty sure I left the fridge door open), but she did use the phrase, “that was strong.”
Reasonably sure it wasn’t in reference to my low mark in sniffability. Isn’t Michael McConaughey famous for infrequent showering? Maybe it’s a thing. I’d have high-fived someone at that point. Even a Wilson volleyball.
Instead, I think I’ll double-check my everything before I leave for work today.
If this old guy wants to run with the cubs at work, it’s a better idea to do so with a clean dress shirt and mountain fresh scent.