Posted Monday, October 9th, 2006
We Would Like to Honor You With Our Appreciation
The carrots were under-cooked, the beef was an oozy gray. She’d joked with Claire about the rubber chicken they always serve at these things, but this was worse.
How much longer will this last? She mused, not even hearing the speaker.
Realizing how far she had strayed in her mind, she swooped herself back into the room and looked at the man at the podium. Beige pants, blue long-sleeved shirt, bland. He stood on the platform loping along about studies of the competition, how we were going to unify to snuff them out. She could only listen for a few seconds before his voice resembled the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Wha wha wha wha wha.
Her gaze traveled to the string of men seated in a row on the platform behind the speaker. She had to suppress a laugh when she noticed that they were all wearing the same beige pants and blue long-sleeved shirts, collar open, no tie. They were all white. They were all in their mid-forties to mid-fifties. They all looked in rapt attention at the speaker, the president of the company, who had deigned to grace them, us, with his presence, with his words, with his perfect, clear vision. She’d have to get some beige pants and a blue shirt to wear as a private joke at work.
Beige made her ass look huge, though. Not if the fabric draped properly, though. God, there was all that laundry in the basket. Oh, wait. She’d washed it. It was through the drier, waiting for her to pick out the ironing. She’d worked so late the last few days, she couldn’t remember from day to day what state things were left in at home.
It was wearing thin, too. Brad had known that she had to come to this banquet for the past three weeks. As the date drew near, he became pouty, sullen. Why did he always have to baby sit their kids? he had asked. Claire told her that his complaints were ridiculous. How can you be a babysitter for your own kids? Claire had wanted to know. But she could never say that to Brad. She had been home with them every night for the past eight years. Now, this week, with the launch of the new product, she had to ask Brad to step in, get their dinner, get them to bed. By the third night, he had said to her, You’re never home anymore.
She was so tired, she just wanted to put her head on the table and take a nap. Just as this thought wandered through, she was jolted into her chair by the sudden, crashing applause as everyone stood to honor the speaker. It’s finally over, she thought. The banquet to recognize the efforts of the team was now past. Randall and Ron and Howard had received their plaques and handshakes, the company had shown its gratitude by paying for this meal. Now, she could get back to her regular routine. As she pulled onto the freeway she looked at the clock in the car. Only 10:00. No chance Brad would be asleep.
Comments [post a comment]
Posted by Marie Shield [ firstname.lastname@example.org
] on Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 10:14 AM
When the phrase 'having it all was coined' is this what any of us expected? You captured what it turned out to be beautifully. I could so relate to this, still I'm glad I had the chance to 'have it all.' Thanks for a great read.
Posted by Margot Miller on Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 2:31 PM
Wonderful moment you've captured. It will bring a wry smile to the faces of many a reader here.
Posted by Norma Trent on Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 5:08 PM
This rings so true for working women with families. There is never time for it all! And when will it ever stop being men's work and women's work? There are just things that need to get done and children that need to be parented. Thanks for a good story.
Posted by Suzanne Aubin on Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 at 10:37 PM
I love the row of bland men in their beige trousers and blue shirts, the mediocre dinner as "payment" for performance, a token of appreciation. I particularly tuned in to the man who, on the third day of taking care of the children, says "You are never home anymore". How true and will we ever stop being torn between two worlds?
From a language standpoint,in the last paragraph, I would have liked to see a more powerful phrase than "Now, she could get back to her regular routine" What else could she be going back to? Maybe time for herself, for something exciting...I just expected more of her.
A great read, thank you!