So, yesterday was a really long day, spent working with a group of people who have been plagued with conflict for some time. Parts of the day were hard and I was glad when one particularly sobering meeting ended - a meeting between an employee, his manager, his union rep, and my colleague and me. Without going into detail, the purpose of the meeting was to deliver some difficult feedback to the employee, whose behaviour has been contributing to the hostile work environment. He didn't take the news well and it is certain that he will face an uphill battle in trying to change the perception others have of him. By the time the meeting was over, we were all pretty drained, and the manager looked relieved to be able to accompany the employee out of the room.
As they walked out together, my eyes followed them for a moment and then did a double-take as my attention was caught by something emerging from underneath the manager's waist-length jacket. I turned to look at my colleague, whose face mirrored what I imagine mine looked like...is that what we think it is? Sure enough, the manager had about six squares of crumpled toilet paper hanging out of her pants and down her backside. The hilarity of this moment, in such contrast with the gravity of the meeting we'd just concluded, was too much for me. Once the employee was out of earshot, I completely lost it, laughing so hard that I could hardly breathe. I barely kept it together when the manager came back into the room a few minutes later, still sporting a tail that bounced with every step.
Knowing that I'd never forgive someone who didn't bring such an embarrassment to my attention, I said to her, as casually as possible and as if I'd just noticed, "oh - you know what? I think you have a piece of paper stuck to the back of your pants." She reached behind her and, like a magician pulling out an unending series of handkerchiefs, she gradually extricated the offending material from, well, her butt. Holding the crumpled tissue in her hand, she stood there. Beet red. Silent. I tried in vain to find occupation for my eyes but they inerringly found their way back to hers. Finally, she cleared her throat, looked me right in the eye and said, with a dignity that I would have been hard-pressed to muster, "well, I always wanted a train on my wedding dress and I never got it. I guess I got it now instead!"