So I was sitting in my physical therapist's office the other day, waiting for him to come in, when I discovered a frightening-looking rash on my calves. We're not talking about a slight flush. Not a subtle, even surface of tiny red bumps. A splotchy, angry, toddler-who-just-had-a-tantrum-face RASH.
Maybe he won't notice, I thought hopefully. He probably won't notice ... why on earth would my PT, in the course of working on my knee (which is, I realize in retrospect, in rather close proximity to my calves) notice my calves? Maybe it's not as bad as I ...
"What the hell happened to your legs?!"
OK. It is every bit as bad as I think.
Because he said this immediately upon entering the room, without looking at my face, without so much as a hello, as if his eyes were powerless to resist the gravitational pull of so much splotchy awfulness.
At this point in the story I should confess, I have a problem with compulsive honesty. (Actually, that's not true. It just sounds better than "I am generally unable to come up with a convincing lie under pressure." See?!)
So I laughed nervously and gave him the only explanation I could think of. The truth. "Funny story, actually! I realized about 10 minutes before I was supposed to see you! That I hadn't shaved my legs!" (I have found that lots of verbal exclamation points can sometimes convince a person that a story is funny when, in fact, it is not.)
"And I didn't really have time to do it properly! But I couldn't come without shaving, I mean, that would just be awkward, am I right?" (At this point, he was looking like he understood awkward. I took this as a sign that I was making headway. Onward with the exclamation points!)
"So I did a ... um ... well, kind of a quick job, I guess! And look what happened!"
He wasn't smiling. In fact, he looked concerned. "I'm going to get you some Aveeno or something." This was bad.
"No, no! I'm fine! Really! It'll go away in ... um ... a while!" Trying to project absolute confidence in my imminent freedom-from-rash-ness.
"OK ..." He looked unconvinced, but finally met my eyes briefly and looked at my chart. This was progress. Maybe we could move on.
Then he said: "I was just going to ask if you'd gotten into some stinging nettles or something."
Yes. That would be an entirely plausible and far less embarrassing explanation.
Let's go with yours.