The other day I took my monthly trip to the city for a board meeting and evening programming event. I am, until June, the president of my local chapter of the industry group, National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). The last time I got “dressed up” was for our Christmas Party at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in December. I know this because I seldom even venture into my walk-in closet any more.
So as I prepared for the board meeting and event, I looked at the racks of lovely, “power” suits, dresses and shoes that are gathering dust. I dug in my lingerie drawer and pulled out an expensive assortment of under-things – bra, Spanx (don’t ask if you are a guy) and stockings. This was topped with a simple wool dress, silk scarf and leather belt. I then surveyed the rows of costly heels, arranged by season then by color. I just couldn’t jam my poor feet into that shape so opted for a soft leather pair of tasteful flats.
On to the bathroom where I ran through my speech in the mirror while opening the little chest that contains my make-up. Jars, tubes, vials, powders, creams, and brushes of all colors and textures looked back at me. After applying a light coat to my face and eyes, I stood before the full-length mirror and marveled that I used to do this every morning without a thought. I’m willing to bet the financial analysts at Sephora, Gilt and Fab.com are scratching their heads as they look at their quarterly sales figures and wondering if Temple, NH fell off the map. Just the other day my UPS delivery man stopped in to make sure I hadn’t died.
I packed up my camera, brief case and some snacks for the ride and headed out. Driving south through the hills on winding roads I ran through my speech and wriggled to get comfortable in my outfit. As I eased onto the highway and joined the flow of traffic headed east, I had a moment of irritation and wondered aloud, “Where are all these people going at this time of day?” The traffic was nothing like what it would be an hour later when true rush-hour started, but was much heavier than I was used to in my usual daily orbit.
The evening went well. I entertained myself with people’s reaction to my response about unemployment. “I’m pursuing my dream. I’m writing.” The usual response was, “But how do you make a living doing that??” I thought to myself, “Make a living? Seriously? I AM living for the first time in years!” But of course I couldn’t say that. I gathered a few business cards from concerned folks who offered to help me find a job. They are well meaning, after all.
When I finally fought the foggy weather back up the hills to my home it was late. I was all jacked-up on the two cups of coffee I had consumed. I hurried to wash off my face and peel myself out of the uniform of the employed. A soft, loose camisole and a pair of yoga pants made me feel like I was finally home.