An inordinate amount of time was spent deciding on my shoes. It was cold outside, so boots were a must, but which ones? There were the expensive boots that I had purchased in a flash sale for approximately 3,000 percent off. They were sophisticated and hip -- everything I needed to embellish my outfit -- but they were also high-heeled. Or I had my cowboy boots. Less polished, less hip, but I could walk in them. These are life's hard choices.
I decided to risk my ankles in the pursuit of professionalism. It was the wrong choice.
Preparation and physical appearance have never been my strong suits. But this would be different. This week, I had an important meeting -- one that could change the trajectory of my life. I had to be cool. I had to be professional. I had to be polished. So I embraced the only thing I could in order to meet these high expectations: I decided to fake it till I make it. Looking the part is half the battle.
I had only been to the dry cleaners two times in my life. The first one was to take the wrinkles out of my dress before my wedding day. The other was before I went to the Emmys. This was the third time. A week prior to the meeting, I had picked out my dress and jacket.
Because this was a lunch meeting, teetering the line between formal and informal (the worst kind of event for the fashion-illiterate), I had chosen to wear a busy-print dress to reduce the impact of a probable incident of my dripping food on myself. Sometimes you can't ignore history and you must adjust to account for likely mishaps. I didn't want my spill to distract from my professional pitch.
To further prevent this food-to-mouth malfunction, I scanned the menu days in advance. I decided on a wrap; it would be light and unlikely to leave food in my teeth, and the wrap itself would create an anti-drip defense.
Everything had been accounted for. My ideas were clear, my pitch perfected, and now my professional look was, at the very least, perfectly faked until it could be maked. The morning of the meeting, I stepped outside with my morning coffee to gather my thoughts and prepare for the day. For all of my calculations, I had not accounted for the below-freezing weather. Luckily, minimal leg would be exposed to the elements in my dress and high boots.
Inside, I took the dress out of the plastic wrapping and put it on. The dress had shrunk. It looked as if someone had hemmed the bottom 6 inches off my dress. I wasn't showing knee; I was showing thigh.
I immediately took to my closet in a last-minute scramble to switch outfits. Nothing else worked. My clothes were either wrinkled or dirty. Considering the cold weather, I decided to put leggings underneath my dress. Perhaps not the classiest look but one that I felt confident would be excused because of the cold weather.
With my leggings on, high-heeled boots on and dress pulled down as low as it could go, I drove to the lunch meeting. Unfamiliar with walking in high heels, I tripped twice walking up the restaurant's stairs. Luckily, no one saw.
I was not so lucky when I went to shake my colleague's hand and basically tripped right into her. I was joking it off, when she said, "You might want to check something." She pointed to the floor. I made a joke about the floor's being uneven as an excuse for why I had fallen. "No, no," she said. That's when I looked down and saw that my leggings, made of a sweater-type material, had attached to my dress and hiked it up even higher. I pulled it down and apologized.
Once the lunch meeting began, I found my rhythm. I landed every point, spoke passionately and authoritatively. And my colleague seemed to really be soaking in everything I was telling her. She kept tapping her chin in the same way I do when I'm really thinking about something and processing information. I was elated.
When I finally stopped talking, she tapped her chin again and said, "You have a little something."
I took a napkin to my chin and wiped off a glob of ranch dressing.
Preparation is for the birds.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.