At some point, we all have what my now
18-year-old daughter liked to call “stinky-poo days.” It’s an amusing way of recognizing that sometimes you just have to get over yourself and deal with the circumstances at hand.
In fact, my epic stinky-poo day involved my daughter, that eloquent word-master, when she was just six-months old. It was September 1999 and I was slated to speak to a group of 35 people in New York City. Unfortunately, Hurricane Floyd was also planning a visit to the area. So, even though my breastfeeding daughter usually accompanied me on my engagements, my husband and I decided that I would leave behind some milk and she would sit this one out.
I showed up at the event to an audience of one. We were soon informed that a state of emergency had been declared. So I, and what seemed like the rest of the city, arrived at Penn Station to get the heck out of Dodge. We were stuck there for hours. And while my husband and daughter were prepared for me to be gone all day, my breasts were not! I had to find a way to relieve the situation (my trusty pump), but I needed somewhere to plug it in and, obviously I needed some privacy.
As it turns out, Penn Station’s restrooms do not have outlets. So, I approached a policeman whose only suggestion was that I go to a hospital. Not keen on that idea, I did the only thing I could. I gathered in the waiting area with all the other professionals who were catching up on their work. And instead of pulling out a laptop, I started up my breast pump and covered myself the best I could in my black coat. Now, if you’ve ever been around cows at milking time, you know that pumping is not a silent endeavor! I saw many a quizzical face searching for the source of that “whirr-whirr-whirr” sound. But, I just kept a straight face and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Finally, we boarded a train and I was engaged in a pleasant conversation with my seatmate when our train came to a halt. We were stopped at a bridge, waiting for the wind to settle down. We waited and waited, and it became evident that we would be waiting a long time.
It was clear that I was not going to make it home without another pumping session. Thankfully, there was an outlet at my seat, but there was the matter of the gentleman beside me. I sheepishly told him my situation, and frankly, he couldn’t get away from me fast enough. Again, I put my black coat into service and, again, that “whirr-whirr-whirr” caused a lot of puzzled glances.
So, what did I learn from my stinky-poo day? Life and business throw us curve balls. We have no choice but to quickly adapt to the situation at hand. Those with the most resilience tend to have the most success in their work. Sometimes you just have to do what the day asks of you — and never underestimate the versatility of a black coat.