Some of you, even those of you who are fairly close to me, may be wondering, “What is it that doubleawk does with the limited time she has when she is not awkwardly bumbling around, making people uncomfortable, stalking celebrities, or writing about these experiences?”
Ordinarily I spend a fair amount of time wearing a sweatsuit and forgetting to brush my teeth.
But right now, well, I’m on a business trip. Yes, it’s a business trip in Vermont which involves me working with one friend and crashing at other friends’ love nest. But still, it’s a business trip. And ironically, even though I remembered I wanted to brush my teeth, I forgot my toothbrush, so that on my first morning of work, I had to brush my teeth with the lovebirds’ toothpaste using my finger, as if I were a teenager who’d unexpectedly been allowed to have a sleepover.
But the very concept of being on a business trip is comical to me because I’ve just re-entered the paid workforce after a fourteen month hiatus during which I’ve been writing full-time (aka wearing that sweatsuit), and before that, I was a teacher. Teachers don’t generally do business trips; instead, they do field trips, which feel more like family outings with a really big family.
I should pause for a moment to inform you that the one and only time I went on a field trip was to take a class of sophomores to a rather sexy performance of Macbeth. The sexiness of the performance is neither here nor there. What you do need to know is that after sitting in traffic for an hour and a half on our way back into the very city from which I had commuted that morning, I had to pee super-duper badly. We were stopped at a light when I said to the driver, “Can you let me out here? I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
“We’re two blocks from the theater.”
I managed a frantic grunt, gave the parent-chaperons an apologetic look, then shot out the door of the bus. I ran to a gas station, where the attendant informed me there was no bathroom. “But where do you go?” I pleaded, circling my hips in a desperate measure of urinary-containment which she may well have taken for an invitation to join me in the bathroom. “I’m a teacher taking kids on a field trip and I’m about to wet myself!”
“Try the fire station across the street.” I sprinted across Boston’s Huntington Avenue, not even bothering to look for oncoming traffic. No one responded to my distressed greeting as I stormed the firehouse, looking wildly for a bathroom. I barely made it to a toilet, not even managing to close the door behind me. Greatly relieved, I scampered out of the firehouse without meeting a single firefighter. (It should be noted that two years later when stuck in traffic during a blizzard, I temporarily abandoned my car and ran into a different firehouse. This one wasn’t empty, but the firefighters were quite nice about letting me pee there once I explained that I didn’t expect them to do anything about the traffic and/or the blizzard.) But back to our original tale of bathroom woe:
“Where did you go?” asked my students when I finally rejoined them at the theater.
I couldn’t think of a convincing tale. “I really had to pee,” I confessed, thus in all likelihood sealing my legacy as Peeda Eizenberg or something even more embarrassing/clever.
But business trips are different. You can pee pretty much whenever you want (though I don’t recommend it on the bus from New York to Hartford.) Still, other challenges arise. One big one is being apart from your sweetie.
John and I have been using technology to compensate for being apart. No, not in that way, you pervs. For example, I sent the picture at right to him in a romantic gesture. Because apparently according to me, romance = giant bags under your eyes. Oh well. We also used Skype video chat. Only it was a one way video chat, because John doesn’t have a Mac like I do. This leads to me getting distracted by the tiny image of myself, and instead of following the conversation, musing aloud on the angles which gave me fat face.
Then I wanted John to be able to say hello to our friends, so I trotted him around the room, allowing him to see everyone and chat with them. It was rather like carrying around a robot I was dating (but not, for some reason, one to which I was married). Or my husband’s disembodied head. Or the crystal from that show Out of this World, through which Evie’s father communicated with her.
Although we invited John to watch the movie Fired Up with us from the vantage point of his computer videocasting the film via my computer’s camera, he opted out. A foolish move. It was a surprisingly awesome movie. With important lessons. Remember, dear reader, “you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.”
Workin’ it awkward style,