Of course I always know what it is that is coming out of my mouth. And if you believe that, well its likely that you know that I really don’t know what it is that is coming out of my mouth at all times. I am usually pretty good with really thinking about what I say. I can usually get my meaning across in a polite and civilized manner, but then there are those times when I am thrown off balance. If I get nervous for example, then the mouth opens and these words just tumble out at such a rapid rate.
I gaze stunned, trying desperately to pull them back. This too, would be where the really odd humour that I don’t even get sometimes, even though I am the one displaying it, rears its obscure and twisted head. To give you an example several years ago I went on a job interview. These are nerve wracking to begin with but at that time I had become menopausal.
In any case, there I was at an engineering office being interviewed by three young men likely in their 30’s. The woman I would be replacing was sitting in as well. Now I had been working for an engineer for the last four years so this wasn’t that much of a difference in terms of duties. I would simply be doing the same things only on a larger scale and that was what I wanted so desperately back then was more of a challenge, more responsibility. The interview was actually moving along absolutely fabulously. The banter was light, I felt confident and showed this. I spoke knowledgeably and then it happened.
The back of my wrists suddenly felt warm. This is always a dead give away for me that a hot flash is coming. I never knew until I was menopausal that the backs of my wrists could sweat. Not only do they sweat, they turn pink too.
In my mind that day I felt the panic begin to rise. You see when I first entered into this female transition, the hot flashes left me looking like I had just taken a shower. So I sat before these three young men in their 30’s and watched as their eyes got bigger as I turned into a puddle. And I contemplated telling them about my condition yet when I had told the men that I worked with in the past about this, they looked frightened to some degree. The mythical menopausal female beast was in their minds. I could just see it.
“Well Nancy, if you need to take a break, by all means..you need to go for a walk, you go walk for as long as you like…” and this was uttered as they backed away from me as though I had suddenly contracted a communicable disease.
If I told these men of my condition, would they back away in horror? Would I spoil my chances for this position? And if you have never seen a woman having a hot flash, know that it is really remarkable. Within a nanosecond the body’s core temperature rises extremely high turning the individual, or at least in my case, a bright red flushed colour. Then the waterworks turn on instantly. Think of a fire in a hallway and the sprinkler system coming on. Every pore on my body opens up and within a few minutes I am quite literally drenched.
I am panicking now. I grab some paper and begin to aggressively fan myself, “My it’s hot in here. Don’t you find it hot in here? Goodness it is so hot in here!”
They have that ‘deer stuck in headlights’ look about them right now and I feel like the wicked witch of the west who has just had a pale of water tossed on her. “I’m melting, I’m melting!”
One of them tentatively asked, “Are you alright? Would you like some water?”
“No, no” I laugh far too gaily, “I am just a little warm, that’s all. ” And here it comes, the mouth opens and tries to make a joke about this, and all the while I am having a total inner conflict as to whether I should come clean with my condition. So within a few minutes I have gone from being a mild mannered, friendly and approachable woman to a raving lunatic that sweats on demand.
I smile almost forcibly, my eyes are ridiculously wide and I say, “Oh did I not tell you that I am a professional puddle on the side? Oh yes, I am becoming quite well known for my ability to sweat on demand.”
They are not laughing, they are just looking confused. I should just stop talking now. I should just stop TALKING NOW! But oh no, I keep talking. The panic is rising in me and that part of me is saying just tell them. But its too late. I babbled and the arms and fingers and toes were pointing every with way. All the while this maniacal grin was on my face. The three men had now curled up in the fetal position and were sucking their thumbs.
The hot flash began to subside and I began to stabilize as the core temperature returned to normal and now I just wanted to get out of there. I stopped talking now and we regarded each other awkwardly.
“Was there anything else you wanted to know?” I asked rather fatalistically. They shook their heads in the negative.
I stood as graciously as I could with my clothing now beginning to feel clammy as the heat dissipated from my body. “Thank you for inviting me in for an interview.” I held out a clammy palm and shook their hands. The time frame for this was about 10 minutes though it felt like an hour. No, I wasn’t offered the job however they did call and inform me which was gracious of them.
From that moment on I decided to just come clean because back in those days the damn things (hot flashes) came out of no where whenever they wanted. And you do have to have a sense of humour about the thing. You really do. That was my learning curve that day.
I still have a tendency at times to put my foot in my mouth. And every once in while that strange humour shows up but I have gotten much better at managing it.
It is starting to get cooler outside now and man, it is so dark in the mornings now. Boo! I say. Boo! But I had a fabulous workout and really got my sweat on.
Well, enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.