An Unprepossessing Beginning

Today was one of those days. Generally, I try to remind myself that all my problems are lucky people problems. But sometimes you have to allow yourself a tiny bit of self pity.

So, I arrived at the office, dressed for the long day of back-to-back meetings. Since I usually start early, I eat my breakfast at my desk. I am fortunate to have a beautiful office in an historic building, with oriental carpet, oil paintings, and a brass chandelier. But underneath my desk, in a concession to practicality, is one of those plastic sheets that allow your office chair to roll on carpet. I should note that for once in my life I was wearing (relatively) sensible shoes, a pair of low-heeled black sandals, but with, as it turns out, very slippery soles. I was carrying my bowl of yogurt and blueberries in one hand, and my cafe au lait in the other, and had just stepped behind my desk when my foot slid from under me. In what seemed like slow motion, I went down, my hands went up, and a cascade of yogurt, blueberries, and cafe au lait went up into the air in a spectacular arcing curve, landing, with rather remarkable accuracy, on my head. My Italian designer suit jacket sleeves were soaked through with coffee, my hair was clinging to my forehead,  and there were blueberries kind of mushed into the part of the oriental carpet that wasn’t covered by the plastic sheet thing. The receptionist called from downstairs to ask if we had knocked over a file cabinet. “No,” I said. “That was me.” My colleague from across the hall tried to be helpful by laughing and bringing paper towels. After going through a massive stack of paper towels, in a triumph of optimism over yogurt, I went to one of my female colleagues (assuming that the males would be of little use in this case, since they would have only laughed) and asked her if I were presentable enough. She paused for a moment as she looked me over. “I think you need to change.”

I went home to start again and missed my first meeting.

I suppose, in some respects, it was the highlight of the day.


3 thoughts on “An Unprepossessing Beginning

  1. I can relate. I’m a 57 year old man working in construction. Sometimes I take an uncrustable PB&J sandwich for lunch. I know. But really convenient. The jelly dripped out the back end on to the jeans. Nothing to change into. Try explaining that to clients. Oh well.


  2. I’ve made the mistake of trying to wash off whatever small thing I glooped onto my clothing and winding up with an enormous wet spot. I think with the situation you described, I’d go home and start over like you did. There are limits to what you can accomplish with paper towels.


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