Back in college, one of my friends asked if anybody else had ever had that dream where you’re walking along and you suddenly realize you’re naked. An alternate version of the dream is where you find yourself in public in just your undershorts, like you forgot to get dressed before going out.
I was thinking, “Ever?!” Of course! It was in my top four most frequent dream themes, along with the ones where you can’t remember where you parked your car, or you’ve got a final exam (or semester project due) and realize you’ve forgotten to attend that class all semester, or you’re back in high school and can’t remember your locker number (or locker combination). Failed memory seems to be a robust theme in my less-pleasant dreams.
Anyway, back to the first paragraph – yesterday, that dream became prophetically fulfilled.
Late in the afternoon, I had driven to the gym, parked the car, bar-coded in with my pass, stretched out and was in the middle of my second set of chin-ups, when I noticed from the mirror on the opposite wall, that I had forgotten to put on my outer shorts.
I was wearing (this, usually sub-surface, for me) a faded pair of spandex compression shorts, extensively worn out in the seat from cycling, which, I suppose on some younger, more athletic-looking physical specimen would have caused little alarm, perhaps even admiration. Realizing my workout was abruptly over, I retreated to my car while trying to present a confident “Yeah, I dressed like this on purpose,” false facade.
When I arrived home, baby girl met me on the lanai asking if, instead of her going, I could go pick up beloved wife, whom I had dropped off on my way to the gym, with the assurance that I’d be staying there late to try to get in two days worth of workout. Naturally, she was surprised to see me so soon.
Wife: “Did you change your mind about going to the gym?”
I: “No, I went. I just came back because I forgot to wear pants.”
Wife: “I noticed you were only wearing the spandex.”
I: “You could have mentioned it.” Sheesh! What does she think wives are for, anyway!
Wife: "I thought that was just your new look. How could you forget to wear pants?”
I: “Well, there’s just so much to have to remember!”
Wife remained wisely silent.
I: “Okay, that did sound a little weak.” On a day when you forget to put on your pants before going out, there’s a low-probability chance that you, extemporaneously, anyway, will be able to come up with any kind of excusable reason for having done so.
Wife: “People work out in just spandex shorts.” She went on to cite son-in-law number two, who works out in spandex shorts.
I: “Son-law-number two is a competitive tri-athlete who weighs 50 pounds less than I at roughly the same height.”
Wife: “Well, at least you have something to write about in your blog.”
Small comfort, and this from someone who rarely reads my blog posts anyway, which, makes her like about 98% of everyone else I know.
In my defense, I had spent much of today trying to figure out the right fee to charge as part of our proposal for the first design job of its kind to come our way in years, and then kicking numbers around with my partner over the phone. I was still pondering our proposal on the way to the gym, present physically, absent mentally practically the whole time.
Jobs like this one we’re trying to win have become rare around here in the new economy As my partner says, each job that comes along is like a crumb that falls to the floor, which is immediately swarmed by 15
cockroaches architects. The trick is to submit a proposal that’s competitive enough to win the job but not so low that you wind up at the end working for nothing just to be able to complete the project and finish out the contract.
During tough times, it’s reasonable to expect that the architects who remember to wear pants have at least one leg up on the competition. For good measure, I should probably borrow beloved wife’s lipstick and write on the vanity mirror: GOT PANTS? – maybe tape a note on the dashboard too.