Sunday, July 20, 2014

a little bit homeless (if there is such a thing)

I've got the routine down now, so that when my fellow runners ask me, "Do you shower at work?" I know how to answer them. The question comes up every time I tell another non-res member (i.e. not a resident in a transitional living facility, i.e. not a person who is homeless) that my office isn't too far from skid row, and that I go straight to work after our early morning runs. They usually relate stories of cleaning up somewhere after a run, using baby wipes or something. One person said something about febreeze, but I think she was being facetious. I couldn't tell.

So here it is: after I stop for coffee, I pull into my parking garage, park my car, and gather all of my things: purse, food bag (breakfast and lunch), getting ready bag (deoderant, change of undergarments, shoes, makeup, etc.), and my clothes on a hanger. I take the elevator to my floor and walk fast to the bathroom, hoping that nobody sees me in running clothes and quickly-caking sweat. I open the door to the bathroom and find it empty, since only a few colleagues are crazy enough to start work at this hour (about 6:45am). I unpack my getting ready bag, plug my curling iron in, and get to it. Washing my face, rinsing my whole body, putting on clean clothes, blow-drying the sweat out of my hair (gross, I know), putting on lotion and makeup, then putting the finishing touches on my hair (usually hair up, bangs fixed with the curling iron).

The routine doesn't end there. I lug all my stuff to my office, and hang my washcloth and sweat-soaked sports bra (yes, it's only 3 miles we run, but I sweat a lot, ok?) on the hook on the back of my office door to dry during the day. The first week I laid them out on my back counter, hoping nobody would look carefully enough to see what was back there. But my boss did, and tactfully suggested the hook idea. Unfortunately, I hadn't planned ahead for the days when someone might come in and close my door, thereby seeing my dirty washcloth and sports bra. The first time this happened, my coworker and I were interviewing a candidate for an open position. I tried to laugh it off, but my cheeks turned red. The second time it was two male coworkers who came into my office with a question, and before I even knew what was happening, they closed the door behind them. Their eyes moved together from the washcloth and sports bra to me, puzzled. Then, as if one queue, we all burst out into laughter. I tried to explain, but they shook their heads like they didn't want to hear it. "Do you live here, Betsy?" one said through his laughter.

The irony isn't lost on me: for that one morning every week, after running with some homeless guys around downtown, I feel a little bit homeless. But I am not. I laugh with my coworkers, pack my bags at the end of the day, and throw the wash cloth and sports bra in my wash basket at home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment