I used to work with a woman named Diane. Diane was attractive and fun to be around. If she liked you, things were great. If she didn't, things still seemed great, but some of us knew it was all a facade. Diane would often talk behind people's backs and poison relationships. Working with Diane was like being back in high school with the popular girls. Remember what that was like?
Luckily, I rarely had to deal with Diane and kept my distance whenever I could. At one point, though, she and I had to work together on a project for our bosses. Or, more accurately, I was given an assignment I didn't fully understand on a case of hers and had some questions before I could complete what I was asked to do. I asked my questions, and she didn't have the answers. I asked my boss, and he didn't have the answers. Her boss was out of the office for several days. Finally, I just went ahead and did what I could to complete the assignment. A few days later, her boss returned and, rather uncharacteristically, stomped over to my desk and started yelling at me. "Ray," I asked, "What did I do?" "You know what you did!," he shouted. Well, we went back and forth in the same vein a few times before he stomped off to the managing partner's office. To this day, I don't know what Ray thought I had done or not done, but I've never seen him so mad. I felt terrible. I thought back over everything and still could not see what I might have done wrong. Finally it occurred to me that it was likely that Diane had twisted something around somehow and told Ray. Diane was always a little bit of poison in the office. Since I was never asked to talk to the office manager or managing partner, apparently whatever I was supposed to have done wasn't as bad as Ray thought, but the incident sure made for an uncomfortable environment for awhile.
Not too long after that, Diane and Ray left the firm along with a couple other attorneys and their secretaries to start a new firm. I can't tell you how relieved I was, although if you've ever had anyone in your life like Diane, I'm sure you understand. This "incident" happened several years into my working relationship with Diane and was by far the worst, although it was not the only time Diane had tried to undermine me or gossiped behind my back. Mostly I just ignored her and went about my business. After all, I work to live; I don't live to work.
A week or so ago, Vicky mentioned on her blog that her mom had always cautioned her to never wear her slippers to the market. The real meaning behind the warning is obvious--never go out looking less than your best because you never know who you might run into. On one particular day, Vicky needed to run to the grocery store and was glad she heeded her mom's warning, because she ran into her boss's wife. What are the chances? Of course, statisically speaking, the chances weren't very good, but doesn't it always seem to work out that way? Why can't we be so "lucky" when it comes to the lottery?
I don't know if you'll remember, but back around the days of hot pants, circa the mid 1970s, boots were pretty popular, and the higher they went, the better. Back then, when I was in my teens, I always wanted a pair of those boots, but they were pretty impractical and my mom wasn't real inclined to spend money on thigh high boots for her daughter. Go figure!
Then, back around the late 80s/early 90s maybe, tall and thigh high boots made a brief reappearance, generally paired up with leggings and loose sweaters. Do you remember? Maybe not, because their popularity didn't last long. Which is exactly why I was able to get a really good deal on a pair of brown suede thigh high boots through a mail order catalogue clearance sale. The day they arrived, I was terribly excited. Here I was, quite literally a soccer mom in my mid 30s; to me, a pair of suede thigh high boots seemed to capture the essence of sexy youth. But where could I wear them? I knew they weren't something I could wear to the office. In fact, I knew there were very, very few places I could wear them, but now I had my boots just in case the appropriate occasion arose. And actually, it did--they made for great Halloween accessories a few times.
But when they first arrived, fresh out of the box with that new leather smell, I KNEW I just had to wear them somewhere, just once. So I put my leggings on, pulled on a long sweater, and zipped those boot up. And up. And up. Then I headed out to the grocery store. After all, that's what a soccer mom does--goes grocery shopping.
So there I was, wandering around the grocery store, contemplating the produce, lost in my own little fantasy world of complete and utter coolness, and reveling in the slighly naughty click of those high, high heels each time they hit the linoleum floor. As I rounded the aisle at the front of the store, I heard my name called. Of all the people in the world, there was the absolute LAST person I wanted to run into. Diane from work! I coulda died!
So the moral of this little story is not only should you not wear your slippers to the grocery store, but don't wear your thigh high leather boots either. Your enemies don't need the ammunition and it totally spoils the fantasy!