Friday, September 20, 2013
The Wrong Boots
I suspect that's why so many people report having dreams where they're naked in public. Surely, that's as inappropriate as you can get. And for most of us, highly embarrassing.
When I was a child, there were distinct clothing choices depending on the activity. There were work clothes, gardening clothes, shopping clothes and then every person had a 'go to church' outfit. That one was reserved for weddings, funerals, and Sunday morning church. For ladies, a hat and white gloves, stockings and high heels was part of the outfit. Now...most churches are ecstatic if a woman shows up in slacks instead of a pair of shorts and halter top. Worship has nothing to do with how we're dressed but sometimes our clothing can be a big distraction for others.
I'm sure I've shown up more than once inappropriately dressed, but the two times I remember the most vividly it wasn't my fault. There were circumstances waaaaaay beyond my control.
The first was my grandmother's funeral. It went like this. The hunk worked in New York City--commuting every day. I worked nights in the warehouse for a big book store outfit, shipping out book orders. One night my girls finally called me at work when their dad never came home. Just as I was ready to punch out and leave, my daughter reported her dad was home, evidently delivered in a strange vehicle. And he was on crutches. I knew that couldn't be good.
He busted his ankle at work (eventually, he was sidelined a total of a year and a half.) The next day while trying to deal with locating a local doctor for him, the phone rang. My grandmother had died. She lived about twenty hours from us. After some discussion, we decided my two middle kids would go with me to the funeral. The other two would stay and take care of their dad. We packed a bare minimum in a hurry and were off.
The journey, it was one disaster after another. The radiator on the car started leaking. I slipped and fell in a puddle of radiator fluid, ruining my clothes. Eventually, twenty-two hours later we arrived an hour late for the funeral, but the family--knowing we were on the way--delayed the service for us. When I arrived, I was tired, grieving, and dressed in a grubby sweatsuit. And that's what I wore to my grandmother's funeral. The main thing I remember about that funeral was my family lined up in the hall to offer hugs and kisses of welcome because I'd arrived safely.
The other activity I showed up for in inappropriate dress was a job interview. In my defense, I'll just say I wasn't planning to have an interview. Actually, after spending the morning under my house attempting to repair a broken water pipe, I'd brushed the worst of the dirt off and raced off to school. No school attendance, no unemployment check.
When I arrived, my instructor mentioned a job opening in an office downstairs and urged me to run down and ask for an application (and I did.) After filling it in, I went back down to drop it off and thought I would demonstrate my professionalism by asking for an interview. Now I was wearing faded sweatpants with some mud smears and an old tee-shirt that had seen a lot of better days. So imagine my chagrin and shock when the receptionist informed me the Director would interview me immediately. I knew I couldn't possibly make a positive impression. But I determined I would use the interview for practice.
Oh, yes. I was hired for the job. Many years later, the director told me she figured if I could get through an interview under those circumstances, I could handle anything else that came along...
Sometimes, we have to believe we aren't the ones wearing the wrong boots.