Anyone who has been in the Rat Race knows that it takes a high amount of mental energy to keep ahead of the other rats, or even keep up with the other rats.
I’ve been off the treadmill for most of the last three years. I work at home most of the time, and when I do go out into the public it is usually only for an hour or so of the uncomfortable shoes and tailored suit.
Yesterday I spent several hours with the other Rats and I’ve determined that I best stay in my little hidey hole, like some journalistic Hunchback of Notre Dame carving my own thoughts in stone and only rarely peeking out at the gargoyles beyond.
Now that we’ve mixed about six metaphors, let me tell you about my day yesterday.
I serve on the board of directors for a fine organization that does good work. I’ve volunteered there for several years, and next year I will serve as chairman of the board of this organization. I serve not as a heavy-hitter from the business community, but as the parent of a child served by this group years ago.
So I’m learning the trade of how to be a good board officer, and after yesterday I suspect I’ll be banished back among the famous flying buttresses.
I sat with the mayor and two other honored guests. Two of the three were featured in the program and thus on television. I stopped wrestling with my salad the minute I saw the television lights go on, but I’m fairly certain that the glob of ranch dressing-covered lettuce was prominent upon my boobal region while the cameras were on me.
Now shaken by my own goof, I became a virtual gaffe machine with the mayor and nervously had conversations that (I swear) ranged from remembering “Go You Chicken Fat, Go Away,” a theme-song from the Presidential Physical Fitness program of my childhood to my complete lack of knowledge of college basketball. Soon, I just shut up, maybe the best thing for this table host.
After the program, the M.C. of the event introduced himself to me. Over the past 24 years, I dare say we’ve met hundreds of times in various circumstances, mostly through this organization. I’ve made such an incredible impression on this gentleman that he never, ever knows me. It’s always amazing to me that a loud, 200 lb. woman can be invisible.
Oh, and I did I mention that we went to the same college, with the same major, and have participated in alumni events together. Whenever I’m around him, I feel my self-esteem rising.
Later that day we had a board meeting for the same organization. During a critical part of the meeting, a very loud cell phone went off, so loud that it about made me jump out of my seat. I looked to my left and to my right and the phone kept ringing. Finally, it dawned on me that my boobal region was ringing. Right to the left of the salad stain in my jacket pocket my phone was blasting like an air raid siren over Paris.
I’m not used to dealing with my phone, because I’m just not out in the world. Imagine the points and stares I was getting from the other board members. I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket, jumped up and promptly ran into a chair that was pulled back against the wall.
And guess what? It was a wrong number.