One of the pubs I work for recently hired a new editor. She called and asked to meet with me, so of course I agreed, hoping to parlay it into more work.
I’m 8 weeks postpartum, but you know, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Only ten pounds or so up from my usual weight, so I can already fit in my “fat jeans.” Not bad for 8 weeks out.
So I thought, hey, why not try to climb into one of my business-type outfits? You know, look all professional for this meeting? Last night, I decided to try on some of my old clothes. Surely something decent would fit me.
Well, big mistake. I huffed and puffed and yanked and pulled, but nothing I own could fit on this crazy body. In despair, I threw my fat jeans (the only pants that fit me) in the wash and decided I’d have to go for the “hip young writer” look – but of course that look is sooo much easier to pull off when you’re actually hip and young.
I had to bring Ainsley with me, of course, as I’m nursing and can’t leave her for as many hours as it takes to drive in and out of downtown Beijing. So I loaded her in the car and left with plenty of time to spare – which is a good thing, as once again I got lost trying to get to their offices. Not lost, exactly – I could see where I had to be, but getting there on Beijing’s crazy roads was not easy.
Finally I arrived and pulled into the parking lot. There are about one billion people in China, and fully ¼ of them work in this parking lot. Their job is to salute you and then point you in the direction you need to go. I dutifully followed their directions, passing loads of empty spaces along the way, until the last guy (guy #250,000,000, for those of you keeping score at home) pointed left, and tried to direct me out the exit. I stopped and tried to say “I don’t want to leave yet, I still need to park, as I have an important business meeting to attend.” With my limited Chinese, I was actually able to say “I don’t want to… I need to… where can I… my car… may I… I don’t speak Chinese… I need to…I no exit…” etc. Eventually, guy #250,000,000 passed me back to guy #249,999,999, who had me follow slowly behind him, going the wrong way, until he found me a space. This despite the fact that nearly every space I passed was empty – they were just all blocked with traffic cones.
Then I had to feed Ainsley, right there in the parking garage, under the watchful eyes of guys #249,447,000-249,999,998. Finally I was ready to load her into her baby sling and set out to find my new editor. I was wearing my not-so-hip fat jeans and my baby sling, on my way to a business meeting. Very unprofessional. “Hip young writer… hip young writer…” I kept muttering to myself, trying to convince myself that this is what she’d see. Until I got to her office and met my new editor, who actually IS a hip young writer.
Still, Ainsley was quite well behaved throughout our meeting, and I never once had to lift up my shirt to nurse her. It’s a good thing, wouldn’t you agree, to avoid lifting up your shirt during a business meeting? So hopefully I’ll get some more work, despite my relative lack of hipness and my dearth of well-fitting business clothes. I was at least wearing decent shoes. And I didn’t flash her.
And then, after making it through the whole meeting, I fed Ainsley in the car once more before setting out into Beijing traffic.
Once again today the air is nasty. Yet the Olympics are just 30 days away. I don’t see how they’re going to pull this off, I really don’t. Then again, I wasn’t convinced I could pull off this meeting today, and yet somehow I limped through. So you never know.