friendship, humor, life lessons

Entering Through The Exit..

..or something like that.  You slogged through my morning rant  – thank you.  In return I give you one of my more embarrassing moments to underscore the importance of paying attention to the details, even if you are a ‘big picture’ kinda person.

Whenever I visited our offices in London, I stayed on the same floor, followed the same path to and from the elevators, the coffee-room, the loo.  I knew how to get access to the stairwells for every so often, physical exercise took priority over waiting for the lift with a cup of takeaway from Cafe Nero in hand.  Fair enough..

Until the one visit when I was sitting on the eighth floor.  I was next door to one of our DC associates who had recently transferred to the UK.  We would chat on and off during my week’s stay – he was a great young man with a rockin’ sense of humor and mischief.  Each day, I followed the same route that I knew – the floors were rectangular – eventually you’d get where you needed to be even if you have no sense of direction (I was born without this gene).

You know where this is going – all week, I visited the men’s room instead of the ladies.  I saw the urinal, which struck me as somewhat different from the ladies’ on the other floor, but thought little else about it.  I never saw another person while I was in there, though I did hear hand washing (a good sign I always think).  Friday morning, I thought I’d make one quick visit before leaving for the airport.  And I saw the little symbol that is universally known for ‘men’.  I ran back to my office and asked my US pal, if he had been watching me go to the wrong loo all week.  He of course busted out laughing, acknowledging that he had been waiting for me to put my glasses on and realize what I was doing.  I wish I could tell you that my mortification lasted for a long time – but he was laughing so hard and this was so typical of me – I just shook my head, blushing.   Little did I know this would become a local story in the London office for years to come, and someone routinely placed a large sign on the ladies’ room door when I was in town – bless their heart.  Don’t tell me you’ve never done something like that – of course you have, right?  Right?


41 thoughts on “Entering Through The Exit..”

      1. I imagine you earned a “small but mighty” moniker, no? You don’t seem like any kind of slouch in the work department, that’s for sure.

      2. Lol – as a matter of fact I did…as well as the title ‘culture queen’ – because I fought hard to retain a culture that I felt would distinguish the environment from every other big law firm. I even got a tiara with that title on it when I left..

      3. Fabulous. I would love to hear more about this. Have you written a post that I missed? I imagine with you at the helm, Big Law could manage to be a (relatively) nurturing place.

      4. I have written about it, albeit circuitously. There are still lawyers and others in the firm who read this on occasion, and I hesitate to say too much too soon. Suffice it to say, growth, apathy and perhaps exhaustion has diluted what I so loved about that firm. It used to be touted as a place that was truly distinct – and I think that when any organization grows to the point where bureaucracy trumps purpose and a hierarchy becomes increasingly layered and silo’ed, it becomes one of the faceless firms that allows people to make crazy money and the satisfaction is in ‘eating what you kill’. I will write about it one day – for clearly this response in and of itself suggests that there is a lot to say…

  1. Did it myself in Spain with my daughter watching and waiting for the “light bulb” to go off and I would make a quick retreat. Of course, I left as I entered calmly. Similar hysterics ensued when she, as daughters will do, pointed out my “error”. Nonplussed, because of age or because it takes more than using the wrong bathroom to embarrass me, “when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.” However, I have never returned to Ronda again.

  2. What a riot, Mimi! I can totally picture the scene, and I’m sure what made it even choicer was the aplomb with which you entered said loo each time. Easy breezy…. 😉 Thx for the giggle….

    1. You’ve got it – I was completely non-plussed, each time. Went in, did what I need to and just walked out. Me? Look at a sign? ha! 🙂

  3. The big picture ,(yup ) you got it ! my out come was the same in the end you might say . At the time I was an EMT and a nursing student, working way to many hours day and nite always looking at the big picture ,so I thought .We had just made a run to Portland Me (Maine Med Center) I was on top of my game didn’t miss a thing no one died and I felt great ! Mind you I was a student of Zen for many years ,I get the big picture ,my eyes wide open ,ya sure ,but not this day .At this point, the day had been long and I needed to eat ,Yes sir I’ll have a American sub . yes mayo,lettice,pickels and swiss cheese,. The counter person looked at me an asked me six more times and I told him the same thing six more times, you see where this going (I didn’t ) Back on the road to home I opened up the sub to eat and found ,you got it, mayo, lettice, pickels and swiss cheese ,thats it ,no meat !!!! It took me about 2 sec’s for the light bulb to come on and I laughed so hard I thought soda was going to come out my nose .Remember the big picture ? At the I had been trying to find a way to tell my ex wife that it was time to end our life together for a long time. That night, clear as a bell talked with my ex wife. Yup, got the big picture by laughing at my sub and my
    self .Sometimes we think we don’t miss a thing .

      1. You think it was funny? You should be a fly on the wall when I had the talk with my ex wife, she could not belive it. This over a sub samdwich!

      2. I don’t think the conversation with your ex was funny at all..the conversation as you placed your order and the look on your face when you saw what you got? Yeah. I think that must have been funny…

    1. That’s what they call the bathroom in London..or ‘the lav’…and you’re right – walking around with my legs crossed doing a weird little jig would have been far, far worse!

  4. but isn’t the memory worth it Mim? Just for the chuckle alone? BTW….how come you didn’t recognize the urinal as a urinal? I really thought that would have been a ‘head’ giveaway. rofl. wish i’d could have seen the look on your face when the bulb blew. and no, nothing embarrassing has EVER happened to me. nada. i was NEVER caught w/my skirt tucked into my pantyhose. that was NOT me!

    1. A ‘head’ giveaway…groan…:-)lol…I’ve been to so many ‘co-ed’ bathrooms around Europe, I just thought that they decided to keep the urinal there because on all the other floors (which all looked the same), it was the men’s room, and perhaps they just hadn’t gotten to it ). You see, the eighth floor was the same as the others floors to – but in reverse..What can I say – another Mimi memory. And it is a pretty funny memory!!! And I KNEW you would be the one with such calm, forethought, restraint and deliberateness to never have anything happen like that to you honey – I knew it!!! hugs, me

    1. I tell you Russ, I have more moments like this than I can count. Yes, a smart woman, yes a wealth of professional experience – and yes, a complete ditz with a host of ‘duh’ moments!

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