There are a lot of times in my life when I wonder how exactly I get myself in certain situations. Sometimes it’s a bad choice; sometimes it’s the haphazard goofiness that I attribute to a glitch in my personality. It teeters on the classic literary fatal flaw.
Take the choreographed belly-dancing that I mentioned a couple of posts down. A couple of weekends ago, I found myself in a small dark basement lighted only by a multicolored semi-strobe light and fog machines. Drink in hand, I sat watching two girls in a faux white trash outfit with Clockwork Orange makeup do a belly dance routine to a strangely remixed, yet supposedly “cool” music.
I cannot make this up. This was an English grad party. I say that as if that explains it…and it doesn’t really… it just makes it stranger for me because I think of the snapping of fingers and berets and Che Guevara purses that should be at English parties.
I sat staring at this display, next to two PhD students – one of whom I came with; the other who made the most random choice to come to this party – a fabulous thing because she’s rather lovely and social – but ten years older than anyone in the room and dressed as if she was going to a cocktail gala – sleek in black and with a shawl – instead of attending a twenty-something basement party.
The hips rocked back and forth… green, blue, red… a burst of fog… and I pondered the absurdity of the situation. The PhD student I came with turned to watch me quaking with laughter and simultaneously shaking my head with a wry grin. He raised one confused eyebrow at me. I wondered at that moment, ‘Well – how did I get here?’
I thought the same this last Friday. I was practicing my Hawt Library Chic outfit for my awesomely dry sounding Rhetoric conference that I’m attending at the end of the week. I pulled together the outfit (a nice soft-as-cashmere, grey form-fitting dress, which hits an inch or two above the knees) for The Work Shindig of the Year – the renaming of our search room. This sounds yawn-inducing, but it was a Big Deal, with deep-pocketed patrons, the President of the college in attendance, bacon-wrapped chicken hor’dourves, and wine.
Read again: wine. Sanctioned wine. At work. There is glory in that. At least, for me.
Now, the Hawt Librarian Chic includes some painfully ordinary, and just plain painful, closed toe shoes that rubbed my heels raw and smashed my toes in a lump. At that point of the day, even after I had tossed them under the desk at work, at the end of the day I’m slightly groaning, shifting from one foot to the other. As I leave, our department head offered us, the student workers, to take some of the decorative roses home.
So I find myself wandering around campus, dressed to the nines, randomly swinging three red roses with one hand. As I hobble toward my car, I stop every 50 yards and do a Lamaze-esqe deep-breathing for the foot pain; I do this strange dance all across campus.
When I hit the parking lot a woman comes across me, stops in mid stride to tilt her head, purse her lips, and openly stare at me. I come to a breathless stop and look upward. We exchange nods and she slowly continues past me. Again while laughing, I think, how exactly do I find myself in situations like this?
And what do we learn from this? Naturally this means – if you’ve been paying attention to a common theme in this blog – new shoes!