This is a semi-oldie but a goodie. It’s the story I use at parties to illustrate how charmingly anxious I am. I know it’s pretty much full-blown loco. And yet… it happened. And if dropped into the same situation, it might happen all over again.
Every month or so, my company holds an all-company meeting. All 60 or so employees gather in one space to hear updates on the state of things. The meetings are always an hour, and they are always held at the end of the day.
On this particular day, around 25 minutes into the meeting, I realized my bladder was unhappy with me and unlikely to make it another 35 (I could start an entire category over bathroom anxiety – in fact, maybe I just might…). At any rate, I didn’t want to call attention to myself or disrespect the CEO leading the meeting.
So I hatched a scheme. My contact would bother me – that’s the ticket. No one would fault me for excusing myself to take care of that, right? (No one would fault me for having to simply use the washroom either, but I am not always a rational gal).
For 90 seconds or so, I rub my right eye. Damn this thing. Damn these infernal contacts! AC-TING! (Was that two Jon-Lovitz-character catchphrases in as many paragraphs?) I excuse myself from the big rectangle of rolling desk chairs and quick-step to the bathroom. Ahhh, relief.
But wait! My contact was irritating me, right? I can’t go back looking perfectly glowing and normal. No sir-ee. So what do I do? Take my contact out, run it through tap water, shove it back in, and sure enough? Blink-blink-blink-blink … yep, I look like someone who has had a mildly irritated contact. WTF.
I think with neurosis comes a sense of narcissism as well. Did I really think the company CEO — or anyone watching him speak, for that matter — was watching me? Nay, watching me so closely that they would have noticed the condition of one of my eyes? Good God. It’s Grade-A super eff’d, but let’s be honest … the whole charade did make me feel better in the moment. Less guilty. If slightly crazy.
I once shared this story with an old manager of mine (who was also a friend). “Dammit, [Lucy],” he chuckled. “Now we can never fire you because clearly you’ve expressed that you have mental health issues, and I’m not going to help you get help…” A year or so later, I’m still in a job despite the volatile nature of my company. Don’t ever let anyone say craziness wasn’t good for something.