Friday, February 09, 2007

The Element of Surprise.

I am rather peerlessly dumpy. At work, my clothes are always clean and professional but so nondescript that I might as well be wearing pajamas. My hair is in between cuts and has been for about six months; my nails are short without polish. I favor orthopedic shoes.

Today I'm standing at the copy machine practicing boleos; left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. A coworker comes in, slightly dewy, and I drop my foot and stand like a normal person.

"Man," he says, "since I started running I just feel this - this power! Like, my body's a machine!" He looks me over and makes a slightly weird face. I wonder if he's looking for praise, but it looks like runner's high, or mild constipation.

I stand next to him in dumpy clothes, watching the copy machine spit paper into the tray.

He breathes in and rolls his shoulders back. "It's like I'm this superhero, you know? You think I work in an office, but surprise! I can run two miles!"

I look at his well-cut suit, his striped shirt, his matchy-but-not-too-matchy tie. "That's great," I say.

He grins. "Yeah." After a moment he frowns politely, as if trying to tell me something, and leaves.

I know that frown; I'm way too clumsy not to know that frown. I check my teeth for spinach, run my hands over my hair looking for cowlicks, sniff discreetly at my underarms.

At last I look down; there are chalky footprints on the backside of my pants.

I check my shoes.

There's construction on my floor, and the soles of my shoes are covered with powdered drywall.

My boleos have left footprints on my ass, nearly at the hip, one on top of the other.

They think I work in an office, but surprise.


Caroline said...

If they only knew. Great post.

La Planchadora said...

Thank you!

(A few people in the office know, but not this gentleman, and now I'm sure he thinks I roll in chalk. Ah, the mystique of the tango!)