Saturday, May 31, 2008

STOP...You're killing me...(part deux)

So now it’s the day of the show. I have predetermined that I have nary da nerve to actually walk into the building “in costume”…(a fact that I’ve chosen not to share with Tonia, as I’m desperately afraid she’ll insist that I not only show up disheveled but might want me to mingle that way)…so I have to show up extra early to do a reconnaissance evaluation of the layout of the building.

This is a fancy way of saying that I had to find out where the restrooms were located.

I show up in jeans and a tank and dark glasses, carrying an ominous black garbage bag held closed with about half a roll of masking tape. Inside are all the items I need for my “before” persona and about half as many items for the “after”. (I’ve concluded that looking BAD may actually require more stuff than lookin’ GOOD.)

Fifteen minutes later, I emerge from the restroom as “Mousy Matilda” and assume my post at the far end of the hall, presumably reading a realtor’s “Homes for Sale” guide I’d found on a table…but of course, I can’t read it because I can’t see anything with those 1970’s glasses perched on my nose.

The hostess approaches me (I’ve entrusted her with my true identity, as she’d greeted me upon my arrival and I folded like a cheap deck of cards when she’d asked my business there) and informs me that Tonia has not yet arrived. At this, I utter a snort…muttering that “typical…the talent is always the last to arrive…” as the hostess slowly backs away, claiming she needs to answer some imaginary phone that’s presumably ringing.

I go back to “reading” my Real Estate guide…and I’m actually able to see some of it, which is convincing me that my eyes are summarily adjusting to being back in 1972. A minute later, I’m clutching my side and trying my best not to lose it, for I’ve found an ad that I found particularly funny:

Tell me, faithful readers….exactly what IS that thing she’s posing with? Is it alive? It looks like some kind of genetic mutation…a cross between a dog and a tiger…how weird is this photo? Am I the only one that finds this bizarre? I barely get myself back in control when I turn the page and see this:

Whoever this “Kozak” person is, I’d be terribly afraid to share a “moment” with her.

At this point, I’ve decided I’d better forgo any more reading of this fine material, as I don’t know if my heart can take it…and I’m concerned that my snickering may be drawing too much attention.

I hear applause and I realize that Tonia’s taken the stage, so I jump up and cautiously approach the open doorway to listen for my predetermined “cue”. (The magic words were first impression.) Unfortunately the hostess felt compelled to pick this moment to strike up a conversation with me…telling me “how exciting this was” and “was I nervous”? I’m smiling stupidly at her and trying to filter out her voice and focus in on Tonia’s…and I’m failing miserably. Finally, I have to politely ask her to stop talking so I can hear…and that’s when I hear the words “first impression” drift from the room.

THAT’S MY CUE. So, in I walk…shoulders hunched and eyes on the prize…I’m shuffling down the center aisle like I’m assuming Matilda would and I’m looking neither left nor right.I’m clutching my “mystery prop” in my hands (for it didn’t matter what it was, as it was purely decorative) and I’m focusing on getting to the front and then getting out of town.

I’m dimly aware that heads are turning in my direction as I’m charging towards the speaker and I realize I need to slow down, lest they think I’m a fashion victim gone completely insane. As I approach her, I notice something interesting: she’s not looking AT me…she’s more or less looking THROUGH me…and I realize that it’s the only way she can keep from losing it. This makes me scowl as I hand her the “prop” and she thanks the air to the left of me and I quickly beat feet out of there.

From that point, I remember little. I know I changed from Matilda into a pretty darn polished version of myself…(albeit initially in head-to-toe black per Tonia’s instructions) and within 20 minutes I was back on stage being accessorized, tweaked and fitted. Heads were nodding and there were smiles and at the end of it all, most of the hands raised claimed to have NOT realized that I was the same dame.

All in all, a successful event…proving that clothes really do make a difference in how we’re perceived.

Or whether we’re even seen at all...

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of what you'd see on Leno with the mis-spelled names. Too funny.

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