Does anyone else notice that furniture is crafty? For a group of inanimate objects, it certainly happens to leap into one’s pathway with suspicious accuracy at the most inopportune times. Like when you’re serving people at a volunteer breakfast that required you, not a morning person, to get up at 5:15 am. Cue the nefarious chairs. It’s like they can sense when you’re not at your best, when all your focus is on being engaging and cheerful and helpful, on not spilling anything on the white shirt you’re wearing , on staying stable in your Nine West heels (which is only a problem early in the morning) and also on being bilingual (because sometimes you might be listening/speaking in Spanish). Like when you’ve successfully navigated a veritable labyrinth of tables and chairs for at least 90 minutes, and the formal program is winding down and you’re almost in the clear. Enter the dastardly pews.
Full disclosure: There is more than one version of me. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this (and not in a way that is indicative of a mental health concern. I have to say this because I have a lot of friends who are therapists). There is Chill me when I’m alone, Real me when I’m with my family and close friends, Professional me when I stand in front of a classroom, and Company me when I am in the presence of strangers. I like to think that Company Safiya is a pretty classy dame – she’s on point when she dresses, is witty without being obnoxious, is confident without being overbearing, is “tall and tan and young and lovely…”O dear, I might be listing into fantasy here. (I bet I’m not alone in that either – crafting an inner persona that in no way reflects who one really is.) And, perversely enough, I am extremely entertained by the moments that bring me crashing to reality. Like yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been – not one of those gag reels where the poor unfortunate careens into the Obstacle, causing a tower of dishes containing food with unparalleled staining power to rain down on both her and everyone around. My harrowing encounter with a wooden bench that I had successfully navigated multiple times that morning (clearly it slid itself out a few precious inches) was witnessed only by a few other volunteers, who winced and clucked sympathetically. I had a choice – play it off? Try to recover that elusive inner mirage of grace and coordination? I laughed at myself, claimed my well-deserved bruise and changed into my Chucks. Serves me right for trying to gain 3.5 inches of height before 10 am.