I’ve never been the kind of woman to stop traffic. Nor would I want to be. Too much attention. Too much pressure. Too much maintenance. But despite all that, stop traffic I did. Picture this …
New York City, circa 1985. Think big shoulders. Big hair. High heels. Killer black dress. Black stockings. And the confidence that comes with being in your late 20s and knowing that you look amazing.
Okay, there I am, walking up 51st Street toward a client meeting a few blocks away, coatless, on a beautiful late spring morning. There’s a sway in my step; the perfect bounce to my hair; a vivid shade of red on my lips (hey, it was the ’80s). I could be the poster child for Sex in the City (if the show were around then). A sidelong glance into a store window assures me that yes, I am as fabulous as I think I am, and then … snap.
It happens as I cross the street. All of a sudden, my Carrie-Samantha-Charlotte-Miranda stride is broken by — what is that sliding down my legs toward my feet and making me stumble in my perfect black pumps? Alas, the snap I’d heard was the sound of the elastic waistband of my slip breaking. With each step I took, the slip worked its way down my legs until there I was, caught in the crosswalk, held captive by a small pool of black satin and lace.
That’s when the light turned green. I’d stopped traffic by blocking the way. What to do? Assuming my very best what-would-Audrey-Hepburn-do persona, I quickly stepped out of the slip, casually picked it up, and continued across the street, head held high. To their credit, those drivers stuck at the light didn’t utter a honk, a beep, or a “C’mon lady, what’s your problem?”
In fact, one cabbie got out of his taxi and gave me a standing ovation.
© 2013 Claudia Grossman