For a few hours every day while the boys are in school I change hats and try to convince the world that what I actually am is a competent, sophisticated businesswoman about town.
It’s a crucial part of the Empty Nesting Project as it gives me something grown up to aspire to when I’m finally abandoned by my ungrateful offspring.
Occasionally the days spill over into evenings as I attempt to promote myself at networking events. It all seems so plausible in the planning stages, but then evenings like yesterday cause me to shake my head and wonder who I’m really trying to kid.
First, I had to drive from my office, about 1/2 a mile away from the networking location, to my home across town. After an hour in grid-locked traffic, I executed a rapid change, assembled a quick snack for Hoss and drove him to gymnastics. Then I was free to head back across town to the meeting.
Shortly after leaving the gym I was stopped by a train. No big deal, even though Canadian trains pull about 100 carriages at about .0001 miles per hour; I’d had the foresight to stop at Timmy’s for a cup of tea.
So the train passed, and the gates opened to let the traffic through. But, after about 3 cars the gates closed again and the train backed up. Oh well, I thought, fretting won’t stop me being late, so I’ll just relax and practice ‘being in the now’.
Eventually the train passed and while I gratefully waited for the gates to open again I sipped my tea peacefully … until the train switched directions again and started to pass for the third time. Really? We live in a clogged, overcrowded city where rush hour lasts from 5am to 9pm – surely there’s no cargo important enough to warrant the tormenting of so many tired, stressed commuters!
Not to worry, though, we were eventually off again and then I just had to re-enter the gridlocked traffic I had struggled through earlier (yes, backtracking on myself, just like the bloody train!).
I realized during all this downtime that I had no business cards with me. It seems a little counter productive to hope that you’ll already know everyone at the networking meeting, but so much about the evening seemed counter productive that I wasn’t even wondering about it by that stage.
I pulled into the car park of the golf club where the meeting was being held, late and less than serene. Not a totally unheard of condition – I’m so psychotically neurotic about tardiness that I usually arrive everywhere 15 minutes early, but still, serenity is not a state of mind I’m particularly familiar with.
As I struggled to worm my way out between my car and the next I managed to pour my tea all down my leg, but I just wrapped my long cardigan around me and hoped that no-one would notice. They might not have, if I hadn’t loosened the lid so that when I sat down and took another slug I dumped tea all down my chin and front. Oh the grace!
Fortunately, I seem to have found a community of business women who will accept me without expecting me to be dignified or refined. They must realize that after a day spent writing in my corner they can’t expect too much in the way of social graces.