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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Detail Is In Your Toes

So... I win an Oscar today for playing it off.  Playing what off?  Well, I pretty much sliced off the top meaty portion of my second toe and I still stood there and smiled like Miss Congeniality and walked out with the poise of a super model with a book on her head when I completely felt like screaming the infamous F-word multiple times. 

"Oh my gosh!" You say (except you don't say "gosh")  "What happened?" You say.

Well, I had just been in a meeting for the past hour and a half where I had, once again, been the bearer of somewhat (or at least potential) bad news, and when I got up to leave the conference room I was talking to someone over my shoulder as I pulled the heavy conference room door across my right foot which, as I said above, pretty much sliced through the top meaty portion of the second toe on my right foot. 

It hurt like absolute hell. I'm not lying.  If it had happened at my house, I have no doubt that I would've fallen to my knees and screamed sinful obscenities in front of my beautiful daughter and would've owed her much apologies later (which pretty much mean nothing to her these days because I'm certain, by the age of 12, she's grown to expect nothing less from me).  But instead, I felt the searing pain and simply continued to smile at all the gentlemen in the room as though it hadn't happened and say my goodbyes.  I proceeded to walk out the door and greet the gentlemen on the other side of the door, who knew me, as though everything was just peachy.  I walked down the stairs as though nothing was wrong when all I really wanted to do was fall over and make a painful and overly dramatic scene.  I calmly and elegantly walked out to the parking lot and casually conversed with the engineer I came with as the blood began to pool so badly beneath my foot inside my high healed sandal I could feel it splashing out onto the asphalt with every step.  And I didn't say a thing about it until I got into the car and I sweetly asked the engineer that I came with if he happened to have a tissue because I hurt my toe and I thought it may be bleeding.  At that point he stopped and looked at the horror that was my toe and said, "Holy shit!  We got some blood born pathogens going on here!"  (and we need to take a moment to recognize that's a pretty colorful response, for an engineer. We must applaud him for that.)

Anyway, he dropped me off at my office and I promptly walked (or limped by that point because my entire foot was throbbing by then) to the nurse's office (and yes, my company has a nurse's office the same way your child's school has a nurse's office and well... I have to say it's one of the coolest things ever).  They soaked my foot in some sort of something and they bandaged me all up and then they wrote a short report and sent it to my boss (which is hilarious and at some point I will have to write about "safety minutes" and such, but now is not the time).  And no, in case you're wondering, this is not an OSHA recordable event (thankfully).

After I walked back to my desk and sat there long enough to respond to my boss who had just received the report, my mind started wandering about toes and things (because that's what my mind does, it wanders about stupid things like this).  At some point I remembered what a wacky new agey friend of mine would've said at a moment like this.  She would've said, "Hmmmm... What detail are you not paying attention to?" 

Now, for you or I, we would most likely respond with, "Well, obviously I wasn't paying attention to the fact that my right foot was dangerously close to the stupid door I apparently pulled open with the strength of an ox."  But that wouldn't suffice for her.  She would be applying some kind of crazy symbol to it because to her, there was no such thing as an accident, everything in the body was a symbol for something else in your external life, and if you did something like stub your toe (let alone slice off the meaty top portion of the damn thing) you must be walking around oblivious to some other detail in your life. 

Like I said, everything to her was a symbol.  The back is the "support system" of your life.  So, if you have chronic back problems, to her this means your "support system," like your friends or your family, is failing you somewhere.  Your knees were your ability to be "flexible in life," so if you had knee problems there was obviously something somewhere in your emotional life that you were refusing to "bend" for.  She called this "body feng shui," and if you didn't "heal" what was happening on the outside of your body you would never "heal" what was wrong with the body. 

I never really took her too seriously because... well, logic and reason and science pretty much overrule any of that mish mash there.  However, at least from a writer's perspecitve, her view on life and the symbolism of everything proved valuable for creative purposes.   ... for pracitical everyday living?  Not so much.  She would spend an entire afternoon trying to figure out the meaning behind her papercut and then, after hours of stressing over what spiritual shift must've taken place because of the papercut were wasted, she would call me up hoping I might have an answer and be sorely disappointed when I would say, "You got a papercut.  It happens." 

I really don't talk with this person anymore, but every once in a while she, or something she said in the past, crops up into my head.  This whole slice my toe moment was one of those.   So... I had this moment, where I was remembering her and recalling how she would've responded to something like this, and I sat there thinking, "Okay... what detail are you not paying attention to?  Did you miss anything in the information you provided?  Nope.  Did you miss anything in your delivery of the message?  Nope.  Did you not smile in the right place?  Nope.  Did you miss some sort of political nuiance?  Nope.  Did you not notice the man off to the side looking at you a certain way that was not business oriented?  Nope. Did you not notice that you've been ignoring the dishes lately?  Nope.  Did you not notice that you've been stressing out over things that you would usually take with a grain of salt? Nope.  So.... what did you not notice?  Um... I think I didn't notice where my foot was when I opened the door and that was a pretty significant detail so... that must've been it." 

I think that thought process lasted less than the time it took me to write that paragraph, but I still laughed that my mind took the time to consider her perspective.  I mean, I guess I could say something like I must've scraped the meat off my toe because I really needed to take more time on the couch tonight instead of doing the dishes in the sink but... I still don't think that's it.  The details may be in the toes, but I think it's more like it's because they're easily forgotten.  I mean... they're just toes, after all, and I'm one woman in a room full of male engineers who most likely hated what I had to say so... hell... who wouldn't inadvertently slice off the meatiest portion of their toe when trying to escape a room like that?!

(...and suddenly I can hear her saying, "why are you still afraid of the engineers?")

 ...unspoken details....

...stupid toes....

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