Today I sat in a conference room around a long table with twenty other people. We were in training for a new piece of corporate software. The room was unpleasantly warm despite the cool air hissing from an air conditioning vent in the ceiling. I looked around the room and saw a lot of glazed eyes and chins resting on hands.
“And now we’ll move on to an example,” the instructor said, flipping to the next page in his presentation. I hid a small yawn behind one hand and moved the cursor, waking my computer.
I glanced at the clock. 10:47am. Almost lunch time.
I brightened, wondering what we were having. Maybe they’ll do Greek again. I hoped they hadn’t ordered sandwiches from the cafeteria downstairs. I hate when the company goes cheap and orders cafeter – damn it, my boob itches.
I moved to scratch the itch and froze, my hand hanging stupidly in the air.
What am I doing?
I can’t scratch myself here.
Bits of industry conversation floated to my ears. “Maybe that didn’t get cycled back…”
“Were all permutations sent in?”
Summoning every ounce of will power, I ignored the fire ants that had suddenly taken up residence in my bra and put my hand back down. I glanced at the people across the table. Two men leaned over a laptop engrossed with the lesson. A blonde woman tapped a text message on her iPhone.
Would they notice if I scratched? The itch intensified, the fire ants angry now. I gritted my teeth and tried to scratch covertly with the side of my arm. No good.
Across the table, a man leaned back and pushed a hand into his crotch, adjusting himself. I glared at him enviously. Bastard.
Just then, the instructor walked by. He saw I was several steps behind in the example. He leaned over my shoulder. “Click here,” he said, pointing at the screen.
I’ve never been much good at prayer, but this seemed a good time to start.
God, please, I know we don’t chat much, and I’m really sorry for that, but right now I have to move my hand. Please lend me your strength and guide it to the mouse and not to my flaming boob. Amen.
I clicked the mouse.
The instructor asked, “Got it?” He looked at me, eyebrows raised.
“Mm-hmm,” I said, pressing my lips together in what I hoped passed as a smile. I held my hands firmly against the arms of the chair.
Satisfied, the instructor nodded and moved on to the next student. I sighed in relief.
I began planning a retreat to the bathroom when the itch disappeared. I sat still for a long moment, not daring to hope. But it was gone, popped like a soap bubble.
That was close.