Sunday, 17 October 2010

Through The Looking Glass

I definitely feel like I live in two different universes.

I was thinking about it, and no, I don't feel like I need to be two different people...but more the same person whose two universes command different requirements. Home universe, and work universe. Not exactly Clark Kent by day and Batman by night, but more like Lucille Ball for home and...God I'm useless, I don't even know the names of respectable business women who would be an appropriate example, what Martha Stewart? No she ended up in jail, bah, anyway, some kind of respectable business woman who's opinion is trusted and appears to be a put together balanced individual. Lucille Ball I thought of right away, as she is a shambolic character who gets into mischief and it would be no surprise if she blew up a flour factory to great humorous result, or get herself shat on head first by a giant horse because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, that's the answer right there. The Lucy 'character' for the show, and the real Lucille who schemed scheduled and managed the show to great success - same person, with two very different requirements. My problem is, sometimes the home version of me ends up making an appearance at work, and silly things happen.

I had a big presentation last week to all of the important department people, and the scary Director was there, front and centre. I am not intimidated by many people, that I am glad for, but oh boy I am super nervous around this lady, she is someone I wouldn't want to cross. It is possibly all in my head, I am sure she is lovely, but she is waaaaaaaay up there and when I first started I was waaaaaaaaaaay down there, employer-employee-wise, and we would never have chance of crossing anyway as I was of such underling status, and most thankful for that. Then, one horrible day, somebody sent me to her, to ask something, oh God, and I had to walk the long walk all the way to her desk...I peeked around the big corner. There she was, looking Really Important. I said "Um hi, I..." and then she looked up and said, in a voice like it was from the Wizard of Oz, from the Wizard with his Booming Microphone of Fear at the Emerald Gates, "NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME. BWAHAHAHAHAHAH" and I said "squeak, oh sorry, I'll come" and then I practically sprinted away. Then I have been on two consecutive maternity leaves, barely glimpsing her at the working times in between. So three years later, I stand before her and her gang, at the mercy of the crowd. How I ended up there? My manager, when I returned to work this time, said he'd like to 'take the opportunity to raise my profile' and 'why don't you finalize and present the of utmost importance 5 year strategic plan to the Director?'. Sure sounds great! Gulp. She never did say the "BWAHAHAHAHAHAH" part of the story, by the way, but I saw it in her eyes. For certain.

Of course my manager didn't know, and still doesn't know, that actually, 'raising my profile' is about the last thing I want to do right now. I desire most of all to go into hiding, then magically appear 1.8 years from now, without anyone noticing I was ever gone. But no. Instead I am thrust into the glaring halogen spotlights of conference room 02-314, in front of Her. I had to really plot what I was going to wear - how could I make myself look really confident, really thin, and thus really un-pregnant? By necessity the large flouncy top was a must. Patterned, black and white, like a Zebra with their evolutionary strategy for confusing their predators. Due to the extremely flouncy nature of the top, though, I had to then exaggerate any thinness left that I could, to create the look that I was CHOOSING to be flouncy, for STYLE of course. No other reason. So I then had to dig up my skinny work trousers, which I had already had the foresight to retire, as they are really skinny - and for skinny people. Which I am now not. I thought [cleverly] OK, I can't really do them up, and would never survive the day let alone more than 2 hours with them done up, so I'll leave them open [I'll be sitting down most of the day at my desk] and then right before the meeting, I'll do them up and suffer for the meeting and my scary presentation, then undo them again after that. Right. So all is going well, and before the meeting I go to the bathroom to perform the doing-up-of-the-trousers. They WON'T do up. For the life of me, they wouldn't do up! I am really straining, REALLY trying, because God, I can't possibly do that presentation in front of all those people and Her, with my pants falling down???!! And they totally were. No matter how snug, ye trousers that are not done up, are ye trousers that fall down. Time was ticking though and I had to get going, forbid I be late and bring any attention to myself, worse any bad attention. I sidle in and sit down, safe for the moment.

It's my turn. Every step to the front of the room, the questionable trousers slip another cm down. I strike a pose, a trouser sustaining pose that must have made me look a fool, but saved me from the worst. I opened my legs into a sort of twisted scissor stance, reverse stretch-shimmying the fabric back in a positive direction. I shift twist orientation to shimmy up another go, to try to gain an original trouser position, and lose any saggy trouser crotch look I had gained. All the while, going over the PEST analysis, key messages, and publication strategy for the cardiovascular franchise. My elbows then come into play to assist; clenching either side, to relieve the Twist and Shout legwork that I was on at before. Someone asks a question - I take the opportunity to 'casually' lean on the table near me in front, over 'lean' with my waist, and gain a few more cms of trouser security. Of course, there is a lot of interest in my presentation [dammit] and I am up there for ages, 25 minutes turn to 45 minutes, and an hour. All the while, the Scissor Twist and the elbows are hard at work, the table shimmy making a few more appearances. I was suffering. But I faced my fear. I actually think all the dancing shenanigans was a blessing in disguise, as I was then far more concerned with my modesty in the workplace, than facing Her again. I did it. I might have even convinced them that, at work, I can be an Important Person.

Meanwhile, back at home, Lucille is at it again. I seem constantly covered in poo, or vomit, or getting weed on. Catching/picking up poo with my bare hands. Using stuffed tigers to divert the vomit from the poor already-assaulted carpet, thus spraying my own face with it. Fishing toys out of pooey toilets. Having other children's wee all over my bathroom. Treasure hunting cat poo from the litter box. Poo poo poo wee wee vomit. Day in and day out. Then I sit on the couch and eat apple pie right out of the box, and only use the fork to 'cut' my 'slice [1/4 of the whole pie] and then pick it up with my hands, while watching some rubbish TV like Britain's Next Top Model and American Idol. I pick pickles out of the jar with my fingers and eat them over the sink. I wear bright green yoga bottoms as standard around the house, and am never without my slippers. I am generally uncouth in my home version of me. Yet I have somehow convinced them all at work that I am super productive, super responsible, super smart, super reliable - and somehow I AM. It quite surprises me.

Too bad I'll ruin that next week [2 weeks?] when I break the baby news. Well, my mum knows someone who is a retired Head of HR at a company like mine, and he says they will forgive me for my 3 serial pregnancies, IF I am good. I did know I would have a lot to prove when I came back to work; even more so now I guess. I'll just have to keep shimmy Scissor Twisting my way to the top as much as I can, before I press the snooze button on my career, yet again. Hopefully just the snooze button, and not Sleep this time. Or Off. Yikes I am dreading having to break the news.

I do like being an Important Person at home as well, don't get me wrong. After all, someone has to be the Director of Vomit Catching and Poo Poo Associate Head. Lucky me I really do get to have it all!

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