Friday, June 11, 2010


Today I am wearing scrubs in the office. Just in case I need to do emergency surgery on the fax machine. One must always prepare for the unexpected!

But seriously, I am wearing scrubs because I have become a clumsy bastard. Scratch that. I have become MORE of a clumsy bastard. Two weeks ago I was sipping a cup of coffee at my desk when I accidently spilled some on myself. I don't mean that I sneezed and lost control of the cup. I don't mean that someone bumped into me. I mean that I went to take a sip and spilled it down the front of my shirt instead of into my mouth. Like a baby trying to stuff a spoonful of applesauce into her mouth.

"No big deal," my boss said, when I showed him the front of my shirt. "I got extras."

He leant me an oversized button down shirt that's meant for security guards. It wasn't the most flattering apparel, but then neither is a light brown stain in the shape of South America across my chest.

The office had a good time with that. For the next couple of days, any time I drank anything I would hear, "Careful now! Sloooowly." But it died down after a few days of successfully getting food and drinks into my mouth without incident.

Until this morning. I was driving to work with a red plastic cup full of au lait. (environmentalists take note: this will be a strong argument for me not to use disposable cups) It was in the drink holder next to my left-over red plastic cup from yesterday. Sigh. Yes, my car is just a big garbage can for used coffee cups. As I got closer to work I decided that I would take the time to toss the cups when I passed a garbage can on my way to the office. So I lifted my fresh cup and set it inside my old one, the logic being that when I finished the coffee I could toss both cups out at once. I wondered if there might be a little coffee left from yesterday, but then I thought (and I am not making this up), "No. I wouldn't leave any left. I always drink it ALL." So I didn't even check.

So the next time I took a sip I was surprised when yesterday's coffee splashed onto my shirt. All of it. All down my light blue blouse. Five minutes away from work.

Then I remembered a quote from a book I was reading last night. It's the one that the judge gave Chris and I each a copy of at our divorce trial, called Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Two Homes for Your Child. This book is...not fun. It's informative and helpful, and at times comforting but only in a way that I would imagine it would be comforting to talk to someone who was bleeding from both knees if I, too, were bleeding from both knees, because we could commiserate and say things like, "Is this normal? Do you feel this way too?" and the other bloody kneed person would say, "Yes! I'm going through that too!" Much nicer is when one is comforted with words like, "Everything is going to be better from now on. You're going to be ok." And not, "You MIGHT be ok if you are able to make it through this chaotic period without becoming bitter, getting stuck in your breakup, fighting in front of the kids, putting the kids in the middle, getting involved with someone else too soon, getting involved with someone never, getting drunk every night, starting a sleeping pill addiction, and or going bankrupt. Just jump those hoops. You'll be fine in eight years."

Anyway, the quote is about this stage (there are seven, according to the book) that I'm apparently going through called Stage 5 "Off the wall- Troubled but separated." During this phase, and also phase four, which is the intial breakup, "Sometimes day-to-day functioning seems impossible or continues at only marginal levels This dysfunctional reaction is common but dangerous as people are especially accident-prone in both this and the next stage. (p.31)"

So. What this means is that I won't be filling my cup with any piping hot coffee for a while. Just iced for me, thank you. But it won't help with clothing stains. Or flack from my coworkers, who were actually, nicer than expected about it. Melissa went down to the laundry room and found me some clean scrubs. Then she dug out a bottle of Tide and told me to soak the blouse so it didn't stain. Then she told me to get help with my drinking problem. Which was funny.

But not as funny as when my boss came in and found my wet blouse hanging up on the back of his office door. He had taken vacation yesterday and we all thought that he was going to be gone today too, so I figured it would be ok to dry my shirt back there. When I walked into his office, he was standing there transfixed by the blouse before him, brief case in hand.

"Um, Boss, I can explain..." I said.
"I don't I think I've worn this before," he said, in a daze, like he was really trying to remember if he'd worn it or not.
"It's mine."
He looked at me. "Well, that makes more sense."
He went to his desk to put down his things. Although he didn't ask why it was it in his office, why it was wet, or why I was wearing scrubs, I felt the need to go on.
"I kinda spilled coffee on myself. A lot of it."
"Goodness gracious, girl!" he said, in full Alabama accent that usually comes out when he begins sentences with, "goodness gracious."
"I know."
"You're gonna have to start bringing spare clothes or wear a rain jacket or something."
"Sorry. I can go get a new shirt at lunch."
He waved his hand at me. "Naw, don't worry about it. It's Friday."

So at my office if you spill coffee on your shirt on a Friday you get to wear scrubs. I'm learning the rules as I go along.

The next stage according to the book is Stage 6: Learns to wear bibs to Starbucks. I will be reading that chapter closely.


Heather said...

I am laughing so hard I have tears rolling down my face. This is an awesome story. By the way, I learned that Oxy Clean Laundry Stain Remover spray is a miracle put on the earth just for me. See, I understand and relate to your spilling problem, and I am not going through a divorce. I just have large breasts which act as a spill catcher when I miss my mouth, which happens often.

Genevieve said...

This is inspiring. I think I will begin to attribute all accidents to my breasts. Not my accidents, mind you, just other people's. Car crashes, trips on banana peels, and the like. The next time someone spills coffee on themselves I'll blush and gesture towards them and say, "Sorry, I know. Distracting, aren't they?" It's much more fun than quoting a book about divorce.

Tom said...

I read the comments here, and feel like a I walked in on some water cooler conversation that men should not be part of, and then you'll go "No, don't worry about it!" and I'll still feel vaguely uncomfortable, but I'll get my coffee anyway and try not to look at or near anyone in the room who has breasts.

Word Verification: lishersl - n. the feeling that you've heard too much about female anatomy without any warning

melissa bastian. said...

Well, I'm neither getting divorced nor well endowed - though as Gen can attest I was doing my damndest to plop the girls into something nice and stain-ey at my wedding reception. So what's my excuse for constantly spilling, dropping, running into things, stabbing myself in the face with my own fingernails, and choking on my own spit?

Word verification: derropi. Maybe this is the name of my condition! (I hear that girl has a terrible case of Derropi!)