It all started out fine this morning. Got a decent amount of sleep (all things considered). Woke up on time (thanks to my new alarm strategy). Used my time wisely getting ready, and was perfectly on time to work (as usual).
It was all downhill from there.
Not that I can really complain about my day job. I am quite lucky to have a good job, and a great group of coworkers, something that at least a hundred people would just about kill for. No, I can’t complain. Especially since it wasn’t a bad day. It wasn’t inordinately busy or hectic. We had “visitors” from the head office (always a little stressful), but they were a pretty nice bunch, and I couldn’t complain about them either. But it was warm today. The uncomfortable kind of warm that people dream about in the dead of winter. I would go so far as to say it was a scorcher. It was a perfect day for lying by the pool sipping on a pink frozen drink with a little paper umbrella in it.
Even at eight-thirty in the morning it was hot.
I’m sure it didn’t help that I ate a steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I wasn’t even halfway finished when a bead of sweat started to roll down my neck. I would have cranked down the air conditioning, and I wouldn’t have been first in line to do so, if it was possible. Somewhere—in a perfectly cool, climate controlled office—there was a sadistic little man, with his finger on the button that controlled our temperature. At least that’s how I imagined it. I don’t know if there is actually a human being monitoring our climate. I only know that WE are not in control of our comfort.
That doesn’t stop us from repeatedly pressing the unaffected down arrow every now and then, in a psychosomatic effort to trick our brains into thinking it is getting cooler.
It doesn’t work. I’m not fooled. That tell tale bead of sweat is a dead giveaway. Still, after a while the body gets used to the heat, and the sweat tapers off to a light sheen.
I couldn’t help but to wish the temperature control sensor was on the wall inside my office, where the sun was beating down on me through my plate glass picture window, instead of in the darkest corner of the bank, in the only area completely shaded from the sun.
The heat was making me sleepy.
I jumped out of my chair at a quarter to one, snatched my sunglasses from my desk, and yanked my purse onto my shoulder to go have lunch (my favorite time of the day.) I didn’t make it more than a few steps out of my office when I was beseeched to help just one more client before heading out to eat.
The well dressed older woman sat stiffly in the chair across the desk from me. As a writer, I often see people as adjectives, and she was petite, classy, well-mannered, wealthy, impatient, and just a little snobby. She didn’t say more than was absolutely necessary to convey her requests to me. So the air around us was mostly quiet.
It made it much easier to hear the loud crack coming from her side of the desk.
My first reaction was to widen my eyes in surprise. Was that what I thought it was? I expected her to comment on the sound. She acted as if she was completely unaware, and I began to suspect I had overreacted. Perhaps it was just the chair creaking. She was as light as a bird, so it didn’t seem likely that her weight had stressed the sturdy chair, but it was possible.
I went back to working on her request when the first wave reached me. I lifted my head from my work to stare into her blank expression. Instinctively, I held my breath, and tore my eyes from her face. In the heat of the room the smell hung there, no breeze to wash it away.
Even my dogs would have been impressed!
My eyes were tearing up as I hit the print key to send the document I was working on to the printer. I jumped up from my chair, using the last of my breath to excuse myself to grab the paperwork.
I lingered in the clear air of the lobby, taking a moment to share with my coworkers what had happened in my office. There was a little debate as to whether the woman should have excused herself or ignore the occurrence. It was either unladylike to admit it, or unladylike to ignore it, but under the circumstances, I felt it was unladylike to smell it, so I busied myself with a few things before going back in the office. I wasn’t in a hurry. I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore.
She never did mention it. She was definitely more refined than I am. I would have certainly broken down in a fit of giggles, unable to ignore my faux pas. I sort of wondered if she had held her breath until reaching her car, hysterically laughing once she started the engine and pulled away. I mean, no matter how sophisticated a person may be, they can’t prevent the occasional escape of “impromptu bodily functions.”
All in all, it could have been worse. Another banker in another center had a customer who had a similar mishap, but in her case, it wasn’t just the smell that escaped.
I guess that’s where the saying, “shit happens” came from.
Until the next time…I’ll be packing a gas mask in my briefcase!