So, maybe my day wasn't this bad . . .
But it was still pretty embarrassing.
It all started at Girl Scouts. It's cookie time and the troop's leader held a meeting for all the parents. I normally love going to that sort of thing, but I cringed this time because of a lady I call "The Snoot." She always has to sit by me and talk about how awesome she is. She used to be in Girl Scouts. I was too, but that didn't seem important when I told her; she was too busy spouting about her badges and muffins that won prizes at Camp Perfection!
Since I knew The Snoot would be at the meeting, I did my hair--for once--pulled on my new Snoopy pants and donned my birthday Boots. I thought I looked all right. Maybe The Snoot would feel like being nice to me. Then she'd quit boasting and teach me how to make muffins that win stuff. Well, that was my plan, too bad my Boots must have made her more competitive.
At the meeting I sat at the far end of the table where "The Snoot" joined me. Some strange looking father ogled us. He wore a crocheted rainbow hat and blond dreadlocks hung against his Hawaiian button-up shirt. John Lennon's glasses balanced on his angular nose; those frames were pretty cool, but everything else just portrayed his love for "Cool Runnings." I actually thought he'd make the kind of Mad hatter Alice would love. But as interesting as that was, between his searching eyes and The Snoot's comments, I wanted to run from the meeting.
"How many cookies did your girls sell?" The Snoot asked.
I paused. She hardly ever asks me questions since she'd too busy bragging. Maybe my outfit had helped. "Thirty-seven boxes each," I said. It was sweet of her to ask and I was proud of my girls.
"Oh, that's . . . nice. My girl sold over three-hundred, all by herself. Can you believe my husband and I sat in the car while she did all that work? She's such a hard working kid and so smart. She--" The Snoot continued talking, but I didn't listen anymore. I pinched the bridge of my nose. I had to be nice. I HAD to be. But why does she always insist on being such a putz? Thirty-seven sounded like crap next to over three-hundred!
"Excuse me," I said after she'd finished. "I better hurry to the potty before the meeting starts." Potty? I'd just said . . . potty. I wanted the lady to think I was cooler than Hera, yet I'd used the word "potty?" It's amazing how being a mother leaks into every other part of life. At that rate The Snoot would never be nice to me.
I walked into the bathroom and stared at the my reflection in the mirror. I put my hands on my face, stretched the skin near my eyes. Yep, I had bags under my smeared mascara, and a few of my hairs probably just turned gray. What's sad is that I'm not even thirty! So, I didn't look especially great, but I'd tried. I glanced at my boots; at least my pants and boots were nice and brand spanking new. I smiled suddenly. The Snoot hadn't seen my pants. If she had, I felt sure she'd stop making snide remarks!
After finally going in the stall, I was just about to tug my pants back up when I heard a voice. "Are you still in here? The meeting's about to staaar-t."
The Snoot had followed me! She must love making me suffer. So I yanked my pants on, a bit too fast because I wanted her to see them. That's when I heard the metal zipper groan in death. Remember how I hate Zippers? Well, I hate them even more now because my Snoopy pants--those awesome pants I'd gotten because my mom is a rock star--had busted at the zipper.
"Everything okay in there?" The Snoot asked.
I held my breath and shut my eyes tight. Maybe if I stayed like that she'd just go away. Out of sight, out of trouble.
"I can see your boots, honey. I know you're in there. Everything okay?"
"It's just . . . fine." I wished she hadn't seen my boots! I inspected the zipper. Yep, my new pants were having issues; they'd need a new zipper for sure. I put them on my hips and buttoned the suckers, but one problem remained--an X-Y-Z (examine your zipper) problem. I completely looked like I'd forgotten to zip. I tugged at my shirt. If I could just get it to stretch down maybe it would cover the zipper area. It bounced back up though--stupid springy thing.
I tried again. Nope. It wouldn't happen. I'd been so busy trying to impress The Snoot, I'd worn some tight shirt that barely slid past my belly button.
"Elisa? You okay?"
"I'm fine," I said in a very high pitch that DID NOT sound fine. I looked around a moment more. Why had I worn bright orange underwear that screamed, "I'm here. Look at me!" I LOVE orange, but right then I abhorred it. There was nothing to cover my zipper with, nothing but toilet paper or my hands. I wound some toilet paper up, but that just looked ridiculous! So, with nothing else to do, I walked out in the symbol of holiness. I held may hands as if in prayer and hoped she wouldn't think I was weird, clutching my hands stoically so she wouldn't see my zipper.
I prayed then, really prayed. God. I know I shouldn't have put Snoopy's pants on. I know I shouldn't have worn this outfit just to impress The Snoot. And I'm sorry for calling her that. I know you love her too because she can cook and her kid sold more cookies than an infomercial. Anyway, if you could magically fix my zipper, that would be awesome. I'll pay you back somehow. Maybe I can do some push-ups in church--when I actually attend. I'm sorry I suck at going to church. So, anyway, thanks in advance. I appreciate it, and I'll fess up to Snoopy if you'll just fix my pants.
I smiled when I walked from the stall and saw The Snoot. For some reason, I didn't say a thing in that moment. Since I couldn't move my hands, I guess I thought my tongue was stuck too.
"Why are you walking so weird?"
"I'm not walking . . . weird." And it wouldn't have seemed odd IF I was a penguin with legs that started where my knees do. The Snoot was being so nosy. I walked toward the door and wished she'd quit asking questions and stop stalking me in bathrooms!
"Aren't you going to wash your hands?" she asked.
What was she playing at? Mother may I? "Of course I am. I love washing my hands even if I don't need to. I even wash them before AND after I cook home-made stuff like muffins." I stood a bit too close to the sink. I wondered if God would indeed answer my prayer. But I had little faith; I wouldn't have been healed of leprosy if I'd been in the Bible. So, I washed my hands and before drying off clasped them together in front of my zipper. I decided there was no way God would fix my zipper. He was probably still processing my apology about Snoopy. My prayers work on a snail mail-like system. They aren't always answered instantly.
"Aren't you going to dry your hands?"
She really thought she was my mother. "Fine!" I said, holding up my hands and grabbing a towel. "Are you happy now?"
She gasped. "I knew I heard something break when you were in the potty." So she did notice my orange panties and my broken zipper. Couldn't she at least look on the bright side and tell me how awesome my boots are! That didn't make me feel better, except that I could walk normally. She'd seen my dead zipper, but at least she'd used the word "potty."
"I can't go back to the meeting."
"You'll be fine, just stop acting so funny. Every good girl scout carries a safety pin. Don't you have one on you?"
"Of course I do? What kind of girl scout mother do you think I am?" I acted offended, REALLY offended. But who was I kidding? I didn't have a safety pin. I may be a seamstress, but if I've learned one thing it's: don't bring your work with you!
She nodded. "Maybe you were a good girl scout after all, but I bet my troop was better." I wanted to smack her in the nose; poke her in the E-Y-E! Why does she always have to shove it in my face that she's better than me. I was standing there with my broken zipper and she wanted to talk about her awesomeness again. I already felt like an idiot and God hadn't answered my pants prayer.
"Well," she said. "I'm glad you're all right. I'll see you in the meeting. Good thing you have a safety pin." She waved as she left the bathroom and I realized she knew that I'd lied. After she left, her perfume stayed eating the oxygen in the air.
I thought of my problem and realized why God hadn't healed my zipper. It was because I didn't want to fix all those zippers for the people in my neighborhood. Maybe I do feel bad about that, but I still wasn't sorry I'd lied to The Snoot about the safety pin. Sin clung to my heart in that moment.
So, I didn't know what to do, but at the end of a long internal debate I decided to just walk out there. You've seen people who haven't zipped, right? Sure it's embarrassing, but it happens to everyone. I'd go out there and blind everyone with my construction orange. My worst fear was that someone would actually tell me I hadn't zipped. I didn't know what I'd say back.
They'd say, "You might want to zip."
And I'd respond with, "Ummm no thank you. I've been down that road before." Then I'd wink.
With that full-proof plan in mind, just as I was about to leave the bathroom, my second oldest daughter burst through the door.
"Hey, mom. Your zipper's down, but those panties are cute. Oh and can you keep this by you?" She smiled and I nearly cried when she tossed her jacket to me. "It keeps falling off my waist when we're playing Red Rover. Is your meeting going good?"
"It's just starting," I said. I pulled her jacket around my waist and tied it there. Sure it didn't look stylish and it was a bit small, but I didn't care. It covered my zipper.
I went into the meeting and was surprised that The Snoot was no longer sitting next to my chair and The Mad Hatter stopped checking me out. I'd thought I needed to impress The Snoot with fancy clothes and great achievements, but I've decided I don't care what she thinks anymore because she only thinks about herself, her muffins, and her safety pins.I have two things to be thankful for today. Maybe God did answer my prayer, just not in the way I'd expected. He'd sent my little girl into that bathroom so I'd have something to cover up with. But that's not all I'm happy about. I'm also thankful I've had plenty of practice fixing zippers. My mom spent a lot of money on these memory-making pants and I'm so glad I know how to fix them. Maybe I'm "Elisa the Alterer" for a reason. Maybe it was so I'd be able to fix my own pants someday and there's nothing wrong with that.
I have one question for you: Is it horrible if I wear these pants to the next girl scouts meeting? I'd love to show them off again.