Angie continues her day of discomfort at the office, taking a chance of choosing comfort over style that could cost her more than she bargains.
After warning Ms. Morris that she was going out for her lunch, Angie hobbled out of the building and to the bus stop as quickly as possible. She knew she had to walk fast if she wanted to catch the 12:15 Muni. Luckily, her bus was on schedule, and Angie managed to walk back to her own apartment in record time.
Once back in her place, she threw open her closet and pulled out her black Mary Janes. She could practically hear her feet thank her as she slid off one broken heel and then the one intact. There was slight discomfort on her red and raw heels as she put on the flats, but the soles and toes of her feet felt so relaxed to be on a flat surface that Angie could almost ignore the tenderness on the back of her lower tendon… almost.
Having come this far, still feeling the pang of injustice towards Tracy and her own feet, Angie was motivated to duck under her bathroom sink and look for a couple of small band aids. Slipping off her Mary Janes, she secured one bandage to each of her sensitive heels and sighed relief as she put her flats back on.
Feeling lighter on her feet, Angie grabbed a snack bar from the kitchen cabinet on the way back out of her apartment. With her newfound ease in walking, Angie knew she would be able to make the 12:30 bus and be back just in time for Ms. Morris’s big meeting.
Well, at least Angie was half right in her assumption.
Angie did manage to get to the bus stop at 12:30. Only, the bus didn’t.
12:35 and there was no sign of the bus.
Pacing back and forth didn’t hurt, at least, but the worry of getting to the meeting late made Angie feel nauseous. She started wishing she hadn’t been so impetuous and had just suffered through with a broken heel.
But then, how professional would that have looked? Hobbling around the meeting room with a broken heel and a limp wasn’t going to impress anyone.
Angie looked down at her watch – 12:40. If the bus showed up now, she could still be in time for the meeting. However, she would probably be arriving at the same time as Chen and Jaheed – the early birds. She knew that she wouldn’t look too professional in Ms. Morris’s eyes, walking through the front doors alongside Ms. Morris’ colleagues.
Angie’s watch now read 12:45. Her palms began to sweat, which just made her even colder with the 55 degree wind blowing in her face.
The overcast days felt even grayer as time ticked by. Cars rushed passed along the street, probably on their way back to the office after lunch. The tall buildings of downtown loomed in the distance.
If Angie could walk across the freeway to get to her office, she would. Unfortunately, despite being within close proximity to her building, walking the short 20 minutes to work was not a smart idea. Of course, showing up late from lunch and missing Ms. Morris’ important meeting was not a good idea either.
Just as Angie turned to walk in the direction of the office, she saw the bus heading her way. Just a block away. It was now 12:50.
Squealing to a halt, the bus opened its according doors to several irritable oncoming passengers. Angie had a few choice words going through her head to spout at the driver, but before she stepped one foot on the bus’s steps, an elderly woman with a floral-print jacket that went past her knees was already ranting in a raspy type of screech that resembled the bus’s brakes.
“It’s the 12:30 bus! Not the 12:50 bus! Public transportation is supposed to serve the public! I don’t what has happened to punctuality nowadays, but you, young man need to take some lessons in manners!” The woman’s frizzy, short, white curls were bouncing left to right as she chewed out the driver.
A middle-aged man, who reminded Angie of a haggard-looking George Lopez, sat behind the wheel. His hands looked calloused and dry as he adjusted his mirror and stared directly ahead of him as the older lady ranted. Angie never got a clear look of his face because he never turned to look at the oncoming passengers. He only gave a response when he saw the woman wasn’t moving from her spot.
“Buses run late, lady.” His deep monotonous voice echoed in his chest. “Traffic is unpredictable. If you don’t like it, get a car. Now take a seat or get off of my bus.” He never turned his gaze to look at the angry woman.
If Angie hadn’t tapped the lady on the shoulder with an irritated, “Excuse me?” just as the driver was finishing his last sentence, the lady probably would have complained all day, never realizing the irony of her long-winded speech. The last thing Angie needed was further delays.
The doors squeaked closed behind Angie, while the irritated lady in front slowly shuffled her pink slippered feet to the back of the bus. Mumbled words like “unbelievable,” and “disrespectful,” were all Angie heard from the raspy voice in the back for her ten-minute ride to the office.
Keeping at the front of the bus, Angie stood up before the bus came to a complete stop. She wavered, nearly falling back in her seat as the wheels gave their finalized squeak. The doors flew open, and Angie hopped over the steps, running the last three blocks to the office as fast as her flats could take her.
Ten minutes ago she nearly cursed herself for going to her apartment for her flats in the first place, now she was thanking God that she was wearing them. No way could she have run to the office in heels.
Panting from her sprint, Angie reached the handle of the office building, peering in to see if she could see anyone around her desk.
No one to be seen. She looked at her watch – 1:05. They may already be in the meeting, she thought.
Clenching her jaw, she checked her reflection and gave a quick nod of approval at her shorter, yet still professional image. She swung open the glass door and snuck herself in. Lucky her flats did not click on the tiles the way her heels would have. No extra noise gave her late entrance away.
Angie went to the break room, removed an armful of bottles of water from the reserved fridge, and briskly strode over to the meeting room. Taking in a deep breath before she struggled to open the door with her free pinky, Angie entered the room to a very quiet group.
Glancing around, Angie noticed that two of the expected partners had not shown up yet. This gave Angie hope that her absence may not have been noticed.
She walked around the table, passing along the chilled water to each of the seated individuals.
Ms. Morris looked up at Angie from the file she was perusing over with Jaheed and said, “Oh, maybe you could come back with two more cold waters in a few minutes. Barry and Larsen are stuck in traffic, it seems.” Morris’ voice was low and serious, but Angie hoped her annoyance was with Barry and Larsen’s lateness, not her own.
“Sure thing, Ms. Morris. Will you be waiting on them to start lunch, too?”
“Hmm?” Ms. Morris was obviously immersed in her file again since she did not raise her head to answer Angie.
“Oh, well, I don’t think we’re quite ready for lunch yet, anyway. We’ll probably take our meals in about 10 minutes, with or without Barry and Larsen,” she mumbled.
“No problem. I’ll be back in ten, then,” Angie answered in her sugary voice to try and offset the gloom that was lingering in the air. She was grateful to slip out of the room. It was thick with frustration in there, and Angie was looking forward to ten minutes alone to breathe and collect herself from the rushing around she just put herself through for a pair shoes. Shoes!
She controlled a laugh at herself for what she had just done. So much worry about what to put on her feet. Angie continued to shake her head as she gathered the lunches that had been pre-ordered from the restaurant down the street.
Lunch for half a dozen people wouldn’t be so tricky if their meals weren’t so elaborate. Larson’s shrimp scampi with a side of garlic bread and carrot cake, or Jaheed’s chowder soup bowl and seltzer water were the kinds of meals that gave Angie a reason to want an extra hand today. It was times like these that made Angie feel like more of a waitress than administrator. At least her flats wouldn’t add to her balancing act as she carried a couple of trays in and out of the conference room.