To Top It Off

October 3, 2013

Yesterday was the Topping Off Ceremony for the new med school building. I hadn’t originally planned to go. Because most employees would have to be at work yesterday (crazy, I know), there was a party at our current location (and where our clinics will continue to be) back on 9/18. Originally, I was going to go to that. You know, show off the baby, eat some amazing barbecue, sign the beam, and call it a day. But there was no way I was ready to make an appearance at work on 9/18.

I should probably explain about the beam signing. Before laying the last beam (aka topping off the building), they made it available for everyone to sign. Sure, it will be in the building someplace where it won’t be seen, but it’s still kind of cool to have the signatures of all these employees who were part of the med school when it was new. And since I was not going to visit work less than a week after the loss of my daughter, that left the Topping Off Ceremony on 10/2 as my option to sign the beam.

Here was the plan. My parents and I go downtown. We sign the beam. We leave.

The weather was glorious. It was sunny and warm. I keep forgetting to put on sunblock, so I had on sunglasses and my baseball cap. And you know what I learned? Hollywood has been telling the truth all these years. Apparently you can go incognito simply by putting on sunglasses and a baseball cap. My boss noticed my parents before he noticed me. My boss! And I really got the sense that no one else saw or recognized me. And, other than the baseball cap and sunglasses, I was wearing clothes that I regularly wear to work. I wasn’t dressed in some grungy-Saturday-laundry-day outfit.

So my parents and I went downtown. We signed the beam. We chatted with my boss for a few minutes. We left.

I may or may not have been seen by some of my colleagues. If they did see me, they did not acknowledge me. And that’s okay. It took a lot of deep breaths to walk into the group of people milling around waiting for the ceremony proper to start. It was a first step.

Oh, and my dad knew one of the construction workers, so we chatted with him briefly, too, on our way back to the car. I asked if he could tell me which office was mine. (We still don’t know who all is going to have offices in the new building and who will be staying at our old site.) He told me to go and sign my name to the one I want; they’d take care of the rest. So Dr Z, if you’re reading this, we have our pick of offices if we just take a sharpie down to the new building.

P.S. I’ve decided that sunglasses and a baseball cap are my new favorite things. I wonder if people will notice me if I wear them to work the first day I go back…


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