the toilet paper vision


I wore a ten-year old top to a fundraiser last weekend.  This shirt, with geometric black and white strips, belled sleeves and a cowl neckline I wore to a roommate’s wedding ten years ago.  I bought it new and spent too much money because I wanted to be the hip mom.    Now, it’s come back in style.  Does that make me retro?  Or trendy?  Vintage?

I had custom orthotics made for my shoes.  I spend all day in clunky tennis shoes eyeing orthopedic footwear at the mall.  I can’t run. I walk a slow pace these days.  My body creaks.  I sleep in an immobilizing boot.  Let’s call it body awareness or perhaps, an overuse injury.

I like my coffee hot.  Scalding.  The way my GiGi used to drink it.  I attributed her idiosyncrasy to age.  My reason is valid: skim milk espresso drinks don’t hold the heat like two percent, whole or soy.  Isn’t this true?

I left for a business trip Monday and needed a backpack.  I borrowed my daughter’s.  Two things to note are that I: 1) have a child old enough to have a backpack sized for me and that 2) I didn’t care that I was caring a bright, polka-dotted bag across the country.  So what?

But this morning…

I woke early to catch a flight home from the east coast.  I pulled on a brand new , never been worn before purple shirt, eight-year-old jeans, my clunky walking shoes with custom orthotic inserts and slung my ten-year-old’s polka dotted backpack over my shoulders.

It was 4:30 a.m.

I was a vision.

I drooled through the first flight and flung myself at the first Starbucks counter I could find while awaiting my connecting flight.  I ordered my latte extra hot.

Because I had time to kill I decided to walk, slowly.  The  concourse was bustling; we were a sea of sleepy travelers and coffee cups.  I set off boldly: purple shirt, polka-dotted book bag, orthopedic shoes, scorched coffee.  And, by now, a crazed head of frizzy, uncontrollable hair.

A vision I assure you.

I strolled for nearly 30 minutes through the Atlanta airport.  I arrived at the gate and finished my now lukewarm coffee in the middle of the concourse.  There was a hesitant tap on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” a soft-spoken woman interrupted.

I looked at her with quizzical eyes and the best morning smile I could muster…

“You have toilet paper hanging down the back of you,” she said gently and apologetically.

And so I did.

Trailing around behind me like a bride’s veil.  Bright white, fully intact, offering fantastic contrast to the purple shirt and polka dots.

Didn’t I say vision?

I’m sure NO one else had noticed…

I laughed out loud, blushed and looked at my watch.

35 minutes.

That’s how long it had been since I’d used the restroom.  And that’s how long my fellow travelers at the Atlanta airport had been staring at my crazy, toilet-papered self.

The younger me would have noticed the risk immediately; I would have checked the mirror ensuring that I was all pulled together before walking out into a sea of strangers.

But, I’m (gulp) aging (did I say it?) and I don’t give a shit.  This morning, I didn’t want the fluorescent lighting to lure me into counting the gray hairs on my head before my first cup of coffee.

The woman rushed to find the words to fill the awkward space that existed now while I was grabbing at my ass and balancing my coffee.  I turned around, thanked her profusely and noticed her eyes drift to my purple shirt.


That’s what it says.

I’d been parading around the airport with toilet paper hanging off my ass in a purple shirt with the word EXTRAORDINARY emblazoned across my chest.

(Cue the laughter…)

Most of the time we consider ourselves extra ordinary. Which is why parading around an airport with toilet paper adorning your body could probably happen to any of us.

However, really, we are all extraordinary.

Everyday. In a million different ways.

So – to the brave, kind stranger who risked telling me the truth – thank you.  I’ll pay it forward in extraordinary fashion.


8 Responses to “the toilet paper vision”

  1. 1 Mary

    Amy, I can not even picture that. You have always been very put together. when you are my age thast is really what happens and you can attribute it to age!!!!! Mary (Tina’s MOM)

  2. 2 Jessica

    I almost wet my panties.

  3. Cracking up, tears streaming down my face…this is quite possibly one of the most fabulous things ever. I love you for sharing this!

  4. 4 Jennifer

    Very funny I was also laughing well before the cue!

  5. 5 sarah givens

    I just laughed so hard I spit out my hot coffee on myself! Good thing I don’t order it as hot as you!

  6. 6 Beth

    I’m with Jenise, was laughing long before the cue. Awesome, just awesome.

  7. 7 Jenise

    Laughed out load three times before getting to “cue the laughter.” Thanks. I needed a laugh out loud by myself in front of the computer. You definitely pay it forward.

    • 8 Tina

      OMG. I have finally pulled myself together…I have been doubled over at my computer in hysterics. Literally. That is the funniest thing I have read in a LONG time!!

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