Our morning routine went rather smoothly today, particularly on a day that I have to be on campus by 7:15 am. Because I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, these mornings typically tend to be panic-filled and very task-driven as my husband and I maniacally wrangle children into clothes, serve breakfast, make lunches, look for runaway shoes and coats, and flip through folders, school communications and other thousands of pieces of paper that would send environmentalists into immediate cardiac failure.
However, today it seemed joyfully effortless as I left my house after kissing the three shiny faces efficiently groomed, packed and ready to ride and sing with their dad all the way to school. It was one of those rare moments I congratulated myself for having it SO together. Good for me.
I drove to school, making the necessary mental switch from parent to professor, with determined concentration on the lecture I would be giving. It is sometimes difficult to make the transition from a household where I just spent ten minutes applauding the independent bowel movement efforts of a three year old, to a classroom where I will present a two hour discord on Piaget's Theory to sleepy-headed twenty year olds. It takes unprecedented focus.
I pulled into the parking lot, checking into the rearview mirror for any last minute adjustments needed to my teeth, hair and face. College students will mercilessly pounce on any glaring imperfections so it's always worth a second glance before entering the world of the young and wrinkle free. I noticed that I forgot to put on lipstick and looked into my car cupholder.
A little sidenote here - I don't typically carry a purse. With young children, a pocketbook is just one more item to keep up with, particularly when it is all I can do to keep up with my children. Every once in a while I will attempt to be a real grown-up woman, assessorizing appropriately with a trendy little purse that ends up being an annoyance. For adult outings I usually rely on my husband's pockets to hold all of my necessary items - lipstick, driver's license, tampon (The last one is met with much resistance which, of course, makes me laugh)
Because of my purse aversion I have lipsticks strategically stashed in various places in my home and car. The cupholder in my car is one of them, but today my old faithful mocha brown was not in its usual place. I looked in the glove department. Nothing. I looked in the middle console. Zilch.
This should not be a big deal but it is. I fully depend on my lipstick to brighten my tired face which has been patiently waiting for a full night's rest for about eight years. Without a little color to my lips, I look washed-out and weary, and unnecessarily old. I looked in the backseat of my car, and on the floor along with many other random items, was Mary Mac's Hello Kitty lipgloss.
With no other alternatives available, I slathered on the gloss, noting that the flavor was deliciously similar to the Bubblicious gum I chewed as a child, gathered my books and laptop and headed to my classroom. While I may not have color to my lips, I did have a fabulous shine that was curiously complimentary to my overall look.
This is Mary Mac with the above mentioned lip gloss. Please notice the shine.
My students were waiting, and I stepped to the front of the classroom, ready to dazzle them with dynamic diatribe. As I opened my mouth to speak, my lips were slow to open. The generous amount of gloss I applied, mixed with my saliva, had turned from a fantastic shine to an unfortunate shellack. While my lips could part from one another, it was in a gradual, creepy manner that stretched my lips to freakish limits before finally being released with a loud slurp, a sound similar to the one made by a guppy when begging for algae-infused fish flakes.
I spoke several sentences, trying to ignore the slap of my lips as they opened and closed, as well as the snickers coming from my collegiate audience who, by the way, have now earned themselves a failing grade. The gloss was distracting us all, and I determined that the fabulous shine was not worth the smack, crackle and pop escaping from my mouth.
I excused myself to the bathroom and removed the gloss, along with several layers of skin from my lips. I looked in the mirror and was greeeted by a tired face, but, thankfully one that had a fully functioning mouth. So what if I looked old and worn out to my students? At least I passed my college courses which, after today, is more than I can say for them.