The Receptionist

“Fake it till you make it,” they say. I look around at my scattered wardrobe. Well I certainly haven’t made it. I pull on a pair of old dress pants and a crumpled collared shirt. “Ugh, I definitely won’t be accessing anything in the lower filing drawers today.” I grimace and practice reaching around behind my back to hold down my top while bending at the knees and praying to the saints of spandex and inseams. My worn leggings lie dejected in the corner. “What have we ever done but love you and give you a full range of motion!” they cry. I bite my lip and check my phone. Through the cracked screen, I’m not sure if it’s 7:43 or 7:48. Either way, I’m going to miss the bus.

I run out the door, grabbing a granola bar and a cold chicken pasta that I wouldn’t let my husband eat—for fear of food poisoning. It’s simple, the person with the paid sick days takes the risky chicken. By some miracle, there is someone at the bus stop already. That means it will stop and I will get an extra eleven seconds to jog down the road with my water bottle slapping my thigh like a rider’s crop. I refrain from telling the bus driver how much he means to me and quietly find a seat beside someone who looks like they probably remembered to put on deo. Oh crap. I totally forgot deo.

I adjust my limbs and luggage to fit the square foot allotted to me and glance down, avoiding eye contact with that guy who always asks everyone how old they are. I catch sight of my feet. You’ve got to be kidding me. Between the battered flats, the tacky sneakers, and the bridesmaid flip-flops, I decided to slip my feet into my velcro strapped hiker-sandals last seen nailed to the gas pedal of a Soccer Mom van and sported by that seven year-old who knows a lot about bugs at the park. Whenever I wear these shoes, I spend nearly as much time defending their comfortable versatility as I do my two arts degrees.
I show up at work and begin drafting a broadcast email.

“Hello all,
Please excuse any fashion crises you may notice today. Kindly do not watch as the receptionist picks up the pen you dropped on the floor and certainly don’t look at the floor (where her feet usually are). Sincerest apologies for any inconvenience.

Best,

-The frumpy yet determined person who fills your inbox and makes your copies, MA

I read the email the minimum 17 times to be sure not a single comma is out of place. Hit send. Immediately regret it. Search for sent box. Find sent email. Read again. Nearly suffer a heart attack at the sight of a typo. Read again. Realize it’s not actually a typo. Reward myself with a sip of tea. Spill tea on the floor.

All day, my highly functional mom sandals march to the copier, where I authoritatively solve problems I’ve never seen before, and lunge back towards the phone, so I can offer advice based on my last Google search.

“Where do I send these forms?” “Who can get me into this class” “How should I assemble and equip a brigade of unicorns for battle?”

“To me.” “Me.” “Please write down your email so I can send you the details.”

Not a single person. Not short or tall. Not tenured or censured. Not A+ or C+ notices my sandals. Maybe they do read my emails.

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