Thursday, July 24, 2008

Working girl

I don't read a lot of blogs frequently - if I had time for that, I would listen to the people who yell at me, and post more consistently - but there are a couple of blogs I absolutely L-O-V-E (if you're interested in which blogs those are, check my little list on the left hand side). One of these is Working Girl.

Maybe its because it wasn't all that long ago that I was in my early 20s, living and working in New York and can relate to pretty much everything posted on this blog, or maybe it's because these girls are damn witty - regardless, I read it whenever I have a chance.

The most recent post is a gripe about how generally normal, respectful men become incredible hulk-style beasts when it comes to their morning commute. This is something I no longer have to deal with since I work from home (best thing to ever happen to me), but it did remind me of my New York days and my mildly amusing morning commute shennanigans:

Being a poor recent grad, I lived with two girlfriends on the third floor of a walk-up on the industrial 10th Avenue. We named the neighborhood "Hell's Bathroom" since we weren't exactly in the kitchen, but pretty darn close, thank you very much. Aside from getting locked INSIDE our apartment, having kittens that lived in our ceiling (probably mice, but doesn't kittens sound so much cuter and less terrifying?) and plumbing that caused us to have plungers in both the bathroom AND the kitchen, this was a major step up in location from our first apartment on Avenue D ("D" is for DANGER). One of the drawbacks of this location was that it was directly across town from my work, and I either had to take a bus and two subways to get there, or I could walk.

Born and raised in Southern California, having wavy hair, and sweating more than the average gal, humidity it a fierce foe of mine. So, as you can imagine, walking all the way across town (usually at a bisk pace, since I tended to be running a tad late) in my standard three-inch stilletos was a very sweaty experience. I quickly learned a few tricks of the trade:
*Wear sneakers or flip-slops on the walk
*Carry large shoe bag with stilletos and small wash cloth
*Do not wear slow-drying clothing or clothing that retains pit stains
*Keep deoderant in purse at all times

Once at work, I would not go directly to my cubicle, to the kitchen for coffee or to see my office crush for a morning chat. Instead, I would take a pit-stop (no pun intended) in the bathroom, wet my shoe bag wash cloth and close myself in the handicapped stall. I would then remove all my clothing and pat down my sweaty body. Once I'd air dried and reapplied deoderant, I would put my clothes back on and walk into the cubicle farm looking and feeling significantly more fresh.

This system worked quite well, but some days were just better than others. The following is a true story:

One summer morning, I decided to look extra cute for my office crush - maroon pencil skirt and black (good color for those of us with advanced sweating skills), fitted button-up. I'd even spent the time to blow dry my hair straight and apply eye make-up. I'd packed up my deoderant, black stilettos and wash cloth into my shoe bag, and headed out in my flip flops.

As I walked down the stairs, I noticed our resident Homeless Dude walking out of the vestibule between the outside and inside doors of our building, where he often slept. Nothing out of the ordinary, so I walked through the vestibule and RIGHT THROUGH A PUDDLE OF WARM PEE. Gee, thanks Homeless Dude.

After my morning primping, and my trip back upstairs to wash my feet, I was running pretty late, so I walked even more briskly than usual. Power walking easy-spirit style across 49th street, I felt the sweat start to gather on my scalp (there goes my straight hair), drip down my face (there goes my eye make-up) and gather under my shirt (there goes my careful ironing job).

By the time I was one block away from my building (where I always changed my shoes, heaven forbid anyone I work with see me in flip-flops) I was feeling agitated and disgusting. Eager to get to my handicapped stall for a little spit bath, I slid on my stilletos, ran full-out into my building, and through our Fort Knox security. As I took a leap (like only an ex-ballerina can) into an already full elevator, my right heel got stuck in what the British charmingly refer to as "the gap."

I'd heard wife's tales and urban legends, but I never thought it would actually happen to me -- my heel, my adorable three-inch BCBG stilleto, had broken free from the bottom of my shoe and was firming stuck in the gap, preventing the elevator door from closing. I desperately twsited and pulled at the heel, while the previously mentioned Hulk-style commuters sighed and rolled their eyes at the 23-year old squatting on the elevator floor.

If there were mercy in the world, the story would end there. But no.

I finally made it to the 32nd floor and was so anxious to take refuge in the last stall on the left, that I didn't notice my office crush watching as my rubber flip-flop caught on the slick tile floor and I flew toward reception, landing face-first with shoes and heels flying everywhere.

I did manage to pull myself together that day, but it's struggle I will never forget, and one that reminds me how great it is to live in LA, far away from humidity, vestibule pee and evil office elevators.

1 comment:

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

HAHA! That's an amazing story. And I love "Hell's Bathroom"!