Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What are the right clothes for the job?

When I have evening meetings, I usually stay at work getting something extra done in that time, rather than driving home and back. But my parents are in town, so today I left from my afternoon meeting and did not go back to the office until 6:30.

I went to see what Dad was working on and soon enough I was helping out- holding boards and smoothing caulk... in my nice office clothes.

Sure, I could have gotten changed into grub clothes, but I knew I was going back to the office in a couple of hours--mud-streaked jeans are not appropriate for a board meeting.

So I stubbornly continued on, eventually taking the caulk gun, and doing my best to avoid messes. The closest call came in washing my hands--Mom had thrown some bleach in the soapy water. But no, I did not shake my hands or wipe them on my (chocolate brown) pants.

Stubborn to be certain.  I suppose I could claim a certain amount of efficiency--no changes needed and somehow I got the work done!

But it was awkward and full of anxiety. Not only am I something of a klutz, but my dad can get a little carried away in his chaos. So I moved slowly and deliberately, over thought some things, and kept my distance from brute force.

Our hymnal features an excerpt from Marge Piercy's To Be Of Use--the part that comes to mind is "I want to be with people who submerge in the task." Submerging--sometimes that seems a little rash and messy.  We would rather tiptoe carefully around the edges of the task.  We might or might not ever get finished, but at least we'll clean up easily...

Or maybe not. Perhaps tomorrow, between my 3:30 staff meeting and 8 PM webinar, I'll be painting the master bath. Surely my colleagues will understand the streaks of primer on my cheek, the bandana tight on my head.

What wonderful things might happen, if only we're willing to get messy?

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