I saw her in the bread aisle as I wheeled back through the meat department to pick up the turkey dogs I had forgotten on round one of the grocery store circuit. She was one of the career women I fastidiously kept up with at my first bonafide professional job out of college. A few years older than me, she was a bit higher up on the corporate food chain in a similar department. She was the epitomy of the young successful career woman. She wore power suits. She had long flowing hair. She drove a sleek black luxury car. As I progressed in my career and moved on to another company I would run into her at professional development luncheons and after hours mixers and we would chat informally about work and then later work and kids as we munched on shrimp and sipped Chardonnay.
Then I had Amelia and although my career has not necessarily been shoved to the back burner, I’ve cut back on my hours and I no longer feel compelled to keep up with the extracurricular shmoozing and networking that I once deemed important. My lunch calendar is now more likely to be filled with quick trips to Tarjay or grabbing a sandwich with a friend or the hubby. And after hours business receptions? My new “clients” really dig apple juice and animal crackers.
So when I saw my peer looking quite removed from the corporate scene, surrounded by loaves of bread and pushing her child in a shopping cart on a Monday afternoon, my first thought was that her child, like mine, must be sick or perhaps she’s now a stay at home mom. But it was kind of nice to see her in jeans and a buttondown shirt and not slingbacks and a tailored suit. I was almost ready to walk over and say hello after all these years but Amelia started fussing and trying to eat my grocery list, her patience level plummeting after being a trooper at both the pediatrician’s and the grocery.
That and the fact that I remembered the lima bean size zit on my chin prompted me to make a bee line toward the checkout aisle.