Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Today's the day I come clean, admitting I've already been lying here. I'll start with the insignificant little white lie that my legal name really isn't "Emily Barton." When I was a kid, I thought it would be wonderful to be a stage actress. This was not because I could ever be such a thing. I don't go in for being stared at for more than about twenty seconds. (I had a huge part in our second-grade play: standing on stage and ringing a bell to announce the arrival of Columbus and his three ships -- no speaking parts whatsoever. About two hours before my big solo debut, I realized that throwing up, crying, or peeing on stage weren't options and managed to pull myself together.) Somehow, I guess, I was going to be a fabulous stage actress without ever having to take the stage, because I just loved the idea of being able to wear all those cool costumes, and I loved my stage name: Leigh Barton.

The name has evolved for the purposes of this blog, mainly because my first name really is "Emily," and I decided it would be too difficult to remember to call myself "Leigh" when needed (as in, when I need to write, which I'm sure I will at some point, "my husband said, 'Emily, what the hell are you doing?'" His saying, "Leigh, what the hell are you doing?" just doesn't sound right). Also, when I was eight years old, I didn't know I'd have had two bosses by this point in my life named "Leigh" (although one spelled it "Lee"). Stealing one boss's name just might be acceptable, but stealing two? Anyway, I just felt I ought to come clean with this lie, because there's an acclaimed author out there named Emily Barton, whose books I have yet to read (although I'm sure I will at some point), and I would hate for anyone to confuse me with an acclaimed author.

My second lie is that, technically, I've been telecommuting for over a year. I just haven't been doing so from my home. I was working from our sister company's office, because it's closer to my house. You would think an office is an office and that most people in offices are pretty much doing their own thing anyway, so those surrounding them shouldn't make much difference. But, I discovered, it did make a difference. Try being the only one in a grocery store shopping for shoes. People will spend most of their time looking at you like you're crazy, while trying very hard not to be associated with the crazy person. You'll discover that even if you've brought your laptop and can easily shop for shoes online while stationed in the cereal aisle, no one is going to want to discuss with you the pros and cons of heels v. flats.

I'll ask you to imagine one more thing about this grocery store. It's constantly threatening to run out of food. But it's the only grocery store in the area. Everyone is always in a panic over whether or not they're going to be able to eat. When they're not in a panic, say when they notice a huge shipment of pineapples arriving from Hawai'i, they're bored to tears, because they've been shopping here for thirty years, and the most exciting thing that ever happens is a shipment of pineapples from Hawai'i.

Your choices when shopping for shoes in such a place is that you either spend all your time desperately trying to convince other people they should be looking for shoes, or you leave, taking your online shoe shopping to the comfort of your own home. The employees at my sister company were a very hard sell. They wanted to stockpile food not shoes. I decided, because maybe I have at least half an ounce of sanity, that leaving the grocery store was the only option for me.

So, there you have it, my two lies. I promise, though, that I'm not a dog or an alien or anything. And here's a truthful statement: I've managed to spend the day today not looking at that proposal and sample chapter I mentioned yesterday. You know this is true, because I'm quite proud of myself. No truly talented liar would admit to being proud of not working while taking a vacation (of course, I have been checking my email, just to make sure the office hasn't caught on fire).

No comments: