The first sign that it was not going to be a wonderful do da day, was when my assistant informed me that I had been wearing my name badge upside down for the morning. Late the night before my sister phoned to tell me our mother had wandered away from her care facility (she is not in a lock down unit – yet) and been returned by the family who lived across the street as she had asked them to help find her family. As the nurses say, Mum is very family orientated and when she sundowns she goes searching for her family, usually my sister who has been her primary carer. If Mum can’t be trusted not to wander; and we still can’t understand how she walked so far without her walker or cane as she is very unsteady and stiff, she will have to go into a more secure area, which is rather old, has shared bathroom facilities, and is not as “nice” though she would obviously get better supervision. So my expectations of life had plummeted before I renamed myself with some weird Russian type dialect upside down name badge.
I had tried to bolster my mood by dressing up for the day. Daughter1 had given me a lovely black blazer with a self-stripe, that I teamed with a white shirt and black pants. Our book club was meeting after school and it was my turn to provide the refreshments. I decided to make Pink Flamingo cocktails, or mocktails as a salute to the Jazz Age and prohibition – heaven knows we needed something after struggling with that shallow yet exhausting text! I smuggled a hip flask of vodka into my school bag (and you thought I was joking all those years about my hip flask! Ha! Well, actually I was, as I don’t own a hip flask, and what I have is about a quarter bottle of a very small bottle of vodka that the daughters used to take alcohol to parties – you know how if you take a large bottle everyone drinks it, so you just take a small byo bottle that fits in a handbag- that, kind of bottle) for anyone who needed something more invigorating after a long day schooling the flotsam and jetsam of spawn. And no, they do not know my true identity as Flamingo Dancer, the world’s goddess and all round magnificent woman, so giving them Pink Flamingos to colleagues is my secret amusement. They do of course know I am spectacular. Well, spectacularly different, anyway!
Which brings us to the second item on the This is not your Day list – the cup of coffee. Earth Goddess as I am, I have one of those cups that look like a paper take away cup with a lid, but is in fact ceramic with a rubber insulated ring around the middle so my delicate hand doesn’t burn, and a rubber lid so that I can walk from library kitchen to my office through the spawn crowd to my office without splashing anything on the carpet, or accidentally on purpose spilling it on a student. Fool proof coffee cup. Except for me.
Sitting at my desk, I partook of my first sip and wondered why I was taking such a long sip and actually receiving so little into my voluptuous mouth. (Can a mouth be voluptuous? Or just lips? Both? Just imagine me perfect.) Then I looked down. From perky breast (okay, once perky, well, one is slightly perkier that the other, as is the lot of sensational older women) to white shirt hem there lay a wide trail of coffee coloured fabric. It just seemed so fitting for the day.
So, I found a dish towel and soaked my now see through right chest in dampness until I could pretend there was no longer a stain upon my purity. Assistant suggested that I should go creep under the hand drier in the bathroom, but it is so low that if someone walked in I would appear as though I was warming my groin, thereby changing the image of librarians forever. Also, while my shirt was wet I could pretend I had removed the blight upon my chest.
I spent the rest of the day telling everyone that I was wearing a vintage 1920s shirt, a la Marlene Dietrich falling in love again, to honour Mr Fitzgerald, and it worked for a while until the word got around that I had vodka in my office, and then it was assumed that I had more than coffee in my coffee and what little creditability I had garnered was blown away, though I am now on the “strange people to be given a wide berth and chuckled about behind their backs” list.
I wasn’t finished though, as later in the day when it came time to set out the food and cocktails, I continued my mission to self sabotage. I made the cocktails and placed each upon a serviette on afternoon tea plates, then went back for the silver platter of afternoon treats. I placed the tray on the centre of the table and decided to rearrange an item or two (things weren’t quite symmetrical) and my hand knocked over a cocktail. The drink of course spilled onto the food platter and so some of my offerings were a little soggy.
By this time my only expectation was that something horrendous would happen to me on the drive home, and though I offered others the alcohol, as well as my need being great, I stuck to the mocktail version. I just wanted to make it home and climb into my bed. When I did reach home, safely somehow (I can only think I had some credit in my account with The Big Whatever) I left my car in the driveway and asked Son to park it in the garage. The rate I was going I would have confused the break and the accelerator and crashed through to Mr FD’s study, which I avoid even on the best of days, and certainly never through the garage wall.
Some days are just all in the trenches.
Or as Mr FD says, this day will end.