So many of you know this story, but I'm going to tell it anyway...because I can...it's my blog.
I can still remember how I felt as I walked down State Street in downtown Salt Lake City. It was a beautiful, warm April afternoon (exactly 13 years ago today), and the sun felt glorious on my upturned face. There was a slight breeze, so I was glad for the light sweater I had worn that matched my flowing floral skirt and white cotton blouse. I was on my way to a job interview and was a little nervous but mostly confident...even back then I was a pro at job interviews.
That day, I had decided to skip my last class so had arrived downtown early. I'm a freakishly punctual person, but an hour is excessive even for me. I decided to eat lunch at the mall food court to pass a little time. Clam chowder in a bread bowl. Mmmm. It was yummy. When I finished, I had plenty of time to walk the 7 or so blocks down State Street to the small repertory theatre at which I had the job interview. State Street is one of the busiest streets in Salt Lake and at lunch time it was teeming with cars and people. I strolled amongst my fellow walkers, daydreaming about my latest crush, enjoying the hustle and bustle around me.
I was about a block away when I noticed a guy running across State Street's 5 lanes. He was kind of cute, from what I could see at that distance. I smiled when he turned and started to walk toward me; he really was good-looking. As we passed each other, I said a quiet "hi" and my smiled widened when he turned around.
"Excuse me, Miss." he said, walking back toward me. He had an accent I didn't recognize. I turned around and smiled again. I figured he was going to ask for the time or directions or something. I was wrong.
"Yes?" I asked.
"Um...your dress...it's trapped." he stuttered.
"Your dress...it is trapped."
I slowly felt behind me. He was right; my skirt was trapped. When I had sat down at the mall, my skirt had been pushed up and now happily resided in the bottom my sweater, exposing my backside (covered by undies, of course) to all the world.
Turning bright red, I fixed my skirt and thanked this nice, cute guy for telling me. I appreciated him having the decency to tell me my skirt was trapped, unlike all the people, women included, that hadn't. True, some of them may not have noticed, but I can guarantee that a lot did and said nothing. I try to think charitably; I'm sure they just didn't want to embarrass me. To this day, I always tell people when they have food in their teeth, a zipper in the down position, or a trapped skirt. Better to have a moment of embarrassment than to get home and wonder how long that piece of spinach has been covering your front tooth.
For a brief instant, I considered retreating to a safe place - I was at 6th South and could easily turn up it and walk the 6 blocks to my home. I needed the money, so I went to the interview. When I told the box office girl who I was, she called the boss, Tom, to inform him I was there. He said he'd be a few minutes, so I waited quietly for about 2 seconds. And then, because I'm a chronic oversharer, I told her about my trapped dress. She was still laughing when Tom arrived. He wanted to know what was so funny, so I told him the story. He hired me after 10 minutes.
He later told me that he had been impressed with my ability to laugh at myself and had known immediately that I'd fit in perfectly at the theatre. I worked there the rest of the time I lived in Salt Lake and considered it my home-away-from-home. In fact, I spent more time there than at my apartment. The actors and stage crew members became my friends. Tom was like a father to me and his family like my family. I even had Thanksgiving with them that year. I loved that job more than any I've had.
And I owe it all to my trapped skirt.