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By: Jamie Collins

Welcome to your free, group therapy Friday. You’ve arrived…

Today, we’re venturing over the fence into another realm: the sanity realm or perhaps lack thereof. In life, some days are inherently “good” days. You wake up refreshed. You feel good, look good, and by golly, good things are finding their way to you as you make your way through the world. And then there are the “other” days; the not so great, definitely not so stellar after all, kind of days. Those days when despite your best effort to smile and exude a happy countenance, a dark aura is on the personal horizon. For fun, I figured we could swap a few war stories from the latter category in honor of this festive, paralegal holiday otherwise known as Friday. Consider it paralegal therapy, minus the bill.

This Wednesday, I got out of bed, with groggy eyes, finding myself fully-immersed in a full-on, sinus blockage, headache having nightmare. I only awakened about 52 times during the night, flipping and flopping like a catfish on concrete, due to the lack of free flowing oxygen making its way to my sleep seeking, but certainly not getting, paralegal brain. I felt like making the morning transformation and traveling to work about as much as a germaphobe feels compelled to go lick a table at the local MedCheck. I made my way into the shower, gathered my son’s coveted, Cheerios cereal bar, and glass of orange juice, and made my way (ever so miserably, I might add) up the stairs to embark upon the daily ritual; the grand transformation from sleepy eyed, foggy brained me into an alert and polished paralegal. I pulled a rather fashionable, freshly ironed, brown and tan striped, button-down shirt from the closet, along with a pair of tan slacks. I then grabbed a pair of shoes off of the dark floorboard of my closet…and it was GO time! And I mean GO!

We are on a tight schedule in the mornings because I must get Gavin to school in a timely fashion. I then arrive at the big show a/k/a my job about 30 minutes early. Our mornings are definitely front loaded and full of action. There isn’t a moment to spare. We head downstairs to make our way outward and onward, when Gavin spontaneously decides to indulge himself in a full-on, emergency, bathroom break prior to our imminent departure. Perfect. The clock is…ticking…down. I believe some of my sanity may have left too, right along with those minutes that kept tick tocking by while I stood watch.

Of course, on a day like this, the car pool lane is backed up clear around the bend, although we really only left  home about 2 minutes late. At this point, I’m talking to Gavin like I’m a world renowned Coach in the sport of: “Getting Yourself to Class on Time to Avoid the Tardy.” I state, “You need to really hustle today, buddy. You can make it, but you can’t dilly dally at all. You need to walk as fast as you can to your class, okay? You can make it, but you have to hurry.” (I am now rethinking my use of the word dilly dally and wondering how in the world it ever made its way into my daily vocabulary – I must be turning into my father.) Mister G seems to make a mental note of my coaching, at least verbally, anyway, before he begins his Pokey Puppy stride with his back pack loaded securely behind him, down the sidewalk in route to the day’s education.

Then it’s off to work to start another, fun-filled work day; sinus pressure and all. At this point, I’m secretly half wishing that my head would either explode or implode (either plode would do) because the piercing pain and intense pressure is driving my mental car over the other half of that brink of personal sanity. I am still clinging to it…my sanity that is, and trying desperately to keep it intact. Patience is low and the personal irritation factor is high. Not a good day for the resident Dark Cloud (a/k/a Keeper of the Misery) to come anywhere near me. On a day like this, you just never know if you might actually allow yourself to participate in a “Liar Liar” moment (from that Jim Carrey movie) and actually blurt out the twenty three thousand things you’ve wanted to say aloud all those years to that dreaded Keeper of the Misery who sucks your soul one day at a time. On these days, it is best to stay far, far away from mankind and to actively avoid the sub-par office dwellers in order to maintain one’s employment + paycheck + lifestyle + happiness.

I manage to make it through half of my day and decide to take a break for lunch. Yep, a lunch break today; a definite plus. So, I make my way across town (sounds like I live in a little house on the prairie) to the local Bed Bath & Beyond store. I make my way through a few store aisles, do a little browsing, manage to unintentionally secure a Christmas gift for my adorable nephew and depart. I then head across the street to Kohl’s (my original mission) in search of a cherry, wall shelf that is destined to hold some of those really cool, realistic-flickering, glowing, fake candles on my living room wall. Definitely destiny. My wall has a space and is desperately seeking that shelf.

It’s when I’m leaving the store that I realize how much of a day from hell sinus/rushing/misery induced fog I was clearly in this morning. I look down while striding across the busy parking lot, and what do I see? Two different colored shoes…on my feet…one black, the other light brown. It’s readily apparent.  It’s in this moment that I come to the realization that I am a non-matching, double colored, shoe wearing moron! I begin to wonder exactly how many people saw me wandering the streets in retail land, my work place and life, in general, fogged over in a sinus haze, wearing two non-matching shoes and pretending to be a well-dressed, detail-oriented paralegal. My second thought is: “I really need to stop buying multiple pairs of shoes in the same style, but different colors. Seriously. Note to self: STOP IT!”

In all honesty, I’m not sure what’s worse; the fact that I actually dressed myself in two completely different colored shoes or the fact that I walked around for over 5 hours without noticing it. (The jury is still out).

Definitely a day from the latter category of life outlined above. Thankfully, there is no meeting with a client, the court, a mediator or the PTO this evening. Ever so thankfully.

But what’s that? It’s my cell phone ringing. It’s the clinic from my son’s school calling. Gavin is feeling under the weather…so guess what? I now get to take my moronic, non-matching, shoe wearing self into the school in pursuit of my son! What great fortune! Lucky me. Of course I do. Of course. It couldn’t possibly have gone any other way. Me making it home without another public appearance? Not happening.

So me and my two, non-matching shoes visit the school. Thankfully, the nice lady at the front desk was having a doozy of a day, too. It was school bus departure time. She had a phone receiver in one hand and a walkie talkie in the other. She meant to talk into one and was talking into the other, then switching them, and looking like she’s about to go out of her mind. That’s when I come clean. I tell her, while laughing, “It looks like you’re having one of those kind of days! Me too. I’m actually wearing two shoes that don’t even match one other right now.” She chuckles and in the most honest and pleasant tone says, “I’m so happy to hear that…I thought I was the only one.”

Nope. Not even close, lady. I’ve got the market cornered on personal, non-matching, foggy-headed, ridiculousness today! Hands down.

(While I would like to pretend this was the only time in life that this has ever happened to me, it’s not. It’s about the 3rd time. One event like this seems to keep me on my shoe-matching toes for a good year or two, but then it happens; the inadvertent misselection from the dark closet and the modeling of that fabulous black and brown combo. For the record, my shoes totally match today. Score one for the 36 year old capable of dressing herself appropriately for work on a Friday!)

So, my question to you is: “What is the most interesting fashion faux pas and what were the circumstances under which it occurred? Do tell. And if you hear any stories about some weirdo in Indianapolis posing as a well-dressed, detail-oriented, paralegal making her way through the prairie, into retail stores and a local elementary school wearing two completely different colored shoes, it was me – the fearless, non-matching, shoe wearing, TPS Founder.

Black & Brown is the New Style