“Do I look like something the cat might have dragged in?”
The large and rather unfriendly looking woman standing behind the security desk is not amused. Maybe she hasn’t had her morning coffee. Looking down at the dirty mug I decide that maybe she hasn’t had enough morning coffee.
I am already five minutes late. And now I am wet. Not a little wet. A lot wet. Like winning-coach-at-a-bowl-game-after-giddy-grown-men-dump-a-keg-of-sticky-neon-performance-drink-all-over-him wet.
My exceptional blowout is plastered in thick wavy rivulets to my head, my perfectly pressed pant suit is wilting, my peach silk shirt is painted on to my chest, and the toes peeping out of my pumps make a repulsive sucking sound when I move. For a brief – very brief – moment I consider the possibility that this unlovely woman might have the secret map to a hairdryer. Except that I am pretty sure there might be a strong possibility she has never actually seen a hairdryer.
Maybe she knows the cab driver that just dropped me off – the one that couldn’t find the building of one of the highest employers in this lovely All-American town and then kept his surly rear firmly planted in the driver’s seat while I unloaded my bags.
In the pouring rain.
In the 60 seconds it took to get out of the car, unload my bags and sprint in 3.5-inch stilettos through the revolving door I went from poised professional to something fished out of the Indian Ocean off a capsized ferry. After dislodging my roller bag from the revolving door, I had managed to lurch my way across the slick foyer without complete failure.
And now Ms. Surly Pants is raising an eyebrow. An eyebrow that I can’t stop staring at because it has never spent time with an aesthetician and if she raises it any higher I am going to squash it right back down to where it belongs. And because this five-foot-one-inch mess has 10 senior executives waiting for her upstairs.
And because, damn it, she had awesome hair five minutes ago.
If I gave any credence to fate – don’t bother campaigning because I’m an undecided and no amount of prodding is going to move me off the fence in either direction – I would suspect that this charming town doesn’t want me. Maybe it knows that I come with baggage, literal and figurative. That this is a test of who I am and if I am ready to venture past the front gate.
It started when I was selected by airport security for both a peek and a pat. (I hope they enjoyed that little jaunt under the hood, because at least one of us should have a good time.) Then when I landed on the other side in this picturesque slice of Americana, I managed to lose myself in the stairwells trying to find the curb. And now she is telling me that there is no restroom in which I can attempt to recover from the storm that just spun me through the door until I arrive on the 21st floor. Where executives are waiting to see if I have the right stuff.
I do. They are just going to have to get out a mop to find it.