A conversation held over microwavable lunches:
Me: ...so anyway, I think we can all agree that a place is really not a true breakfast establishment unless they have a variety of flavored syrups. Obviously. I mean, come on, Denny's, who are you kidding?!
My Brutally Honest Friend: Totally. Wait a second--[points to the curiously foamy orange liquid I was currently pouring down my throat with a face of utter disdain]--what is that?
Me: [after un-pinching my nostrils and attempting to regain composure] What? This? Oh it's Airborne. I know, I know...it's just a scam and really just pumps your body full of Vitamin C...blahblahblah...whatever. All I know is that I'm popping these tablets like candy because I cannot afford to get sick--I must see my B-F-F this weekend!
MBHF: Mmmhmm...yeah...ooh! I like your earrings!
Me: Oh! Thanks!
MBHF: Yeah, it goes with your office-y attire. You are becoming quite the office lady these days, by the way.
Me: Whoa...what? Why? Because I'm wearing a cardigan?! I mean, I'm sorry, but it gets drafty in this place!
MBHF: Well, that and you just seem to have embraced it as part of...I don't know...your identity.
Me: [in a horrified whisper] My...identity?
MBHF: Yeah! I mean, your earrings, for instance. I really like them. But they are so...office like.
Me: WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!
MBHF: I don't know exactly. It's more than the earrings. It's like you have entered a whole new phase of life.
Me: What phase? The middle-aged, I-wear-my-keds-with-my-pencil-skirt phase?! Because I am SO NOT THERE (yet).
MBHF: No, no, no. It's not a bad thing--
Me: Excuse me, but I fail to see how being FRUMPY is not a bad thing!
MBHF: Oh you aren't frumpy! You look polished but...comfortable.
Me: Great...every woman's dream...
MBHF: Anyway, it's not just your wardrobe. It's more...a bunch of little things that reflects you are adapting to this place. This time. This new season of life.
Me: [crisply] Like what?
MBHF: Like...the fact that every time I eat lunch with you, you have the perfect office lunch. Microwavable soup. Or salads in your Tupperware containers--
Me: --It's just I have to pack it every day and these soup bowls are so convenient!--
MBHF: --And you carry around your water bottle. Everywhere. And have your own coffee cup--
Me: Um actually, I have four. Four. FOUR FREAKING COFFEE MUGS OKAY?! And if you want to know the truth, I even have my own creamer in the mini fridge...LABELED IN PERMANENT MARKER! Oh my gosh. This is depressing.
MBHF: And I mean, hello, you are drinking Airborne at lunch!!! Yep. Definitely an office lady.
Me: [mouth drops open in protest then promptly closes as I see my clipped ID badge hanging smugly from my cardigan] Crap.
And so, if anyone needs me, I will be raiding the office fridge in search of leftover cake from last week's retirement party. That is, right after I remove the highlighter stain from my blouse...with my own personal Tide-to-Go pen.
Lord help me.