I’d like to say that I’m slick. Cool, casual, effortless. The truth is that I am the furthest from that. Maybe not the furthest, I can still awkwardly wave at the slick people before the earth’s curvature hides them from view, but pretty far. This morning I woke up with a headache and a turning stomach. It felt like a hangover, but yesterday’s one beer didn’t seem like a likely culprit (read: one beer). I had plans to meet up with my best friend, a designer and fellow awkward person, but I cancelled due to pseudo-hangover. I also had plans to take my dog to the park in an effort to avoid prolonged howling while I left for an informational interview with a fellow writer, but the head and the stomach put me in bed until one. Feeling mostly better I headed out for the interview. I left Dante in his crate (fan on, AC on, dog toy present) and locked my door on the way out. As I reached the elevator a small girl ran up to me and started hugging my legs. It seemed very natural for her, and she kept her arms clamped around my knees for at least 30 seconds until her grandmother appeared, chastising the girl for accosting me. Unperturbed, the girl smiled up at me and started playing with my low-hanging necklace, then the clasp of my purse. Today is turning around, I thought. Small, cute children (of other people) can always brighten my day. After some prompting from her caretaker the girl introduced herself on the elevator ride to the lobby. We had a short, pleasant conversation, and I wished that I had more four-year-olds in my life. She waved enthusiastically as I headed out.
The interview went well, and I got to tour an agency that I have a major flame for in Portland. I had to park a few blocks away, and as I walked to the coffee shop where we were supposed to meet I silently cursed myself for the black shirt I chose to wear. It was 2 o’clock, and the heat of the day was nearing its peak. By the time I arrived, I could feel sweat beading across my forehead as I overheated. I sent the message through LinkedIn that I had arrived. “I’m wearing a black shirt, FYI,” he wrote back. “A bad decision.” I laughed as I wrote “same.” We chatted about writing, about Ad and about school as we sipped coffee. Be normal, be normal, I thought.
After parking, and receiving the finger from an angry driver for some reason during parking, I trekked through the heat back to my building. The ride back up the elevator was spent with crossed fingers, but as the doors opened and I stepped onto the hallway of the fifth floor I heard it. Muffled howling from behind the door at the end of the hall.