Life With An Extra Side of Flavor

Weekly Writing Challenge: Characters

This week’s writing challenge: Tell us about a character in your life.

far-side-supermanWhere the heck do I even begin with this challenge? My dilemma isn’t a lack of material, it’s narrowing down the list. I’m not sure if it’s my overly curious nature or keen listening skills, but my path is always crossing crazy. Never a dull moment that’s for sure.

For this piece I decided to share the likes of Kathy MacDonald, a coworker from my very first “real” job. You haven’t experienced characters of the real world until you work for the Federal Government in Center City Philadelphia, at a meer 18 years old. This was similar to dropping a lamb off into the center of the  jungle. 

I’m not certain of Kathy’s age at the time, considering 30 year olds appear ancient when you’re 18, but if I were to guess, I would place her around 60 at the time.  She had white cotton candy shaped hair, large glasses with over exaggerated features. Her cleavage doubled as a clutch purse and her voice was that of a well seasoned smoker, however Kathy never smoked. Kathy’s wardrobe consisted of nothing from the current decade and everything from the closet of a retired 60’s go-go girl, complete with colored plastic beads & baubles to match any shade on the color spectrum.  She stepped right off of a Far Side calendar and planted herself in the desk behind mine. 

My first day of employment was 6/14/1982, better known as Flag Day. I will never again 7794185-clown-dressed-in-red-white-and-blue-smilingforget this fact due to Kathy MacDonald, who was dressed as a human american flag in honor of the holiday. As if the red,white & blue ensemble weren’t enough, it was accessorized with flag earrings, a red sparkly headband, all sorts of red, white & blue plastic beads and bangles with blue socks that donned stars and of course, white sandals. I was in awe! 

She introduced herself just as she headed out the door at lunch time to partake in the festivities over at Independence Hall. I had never met anyone who celebrated Flag Day with such enthusiasm in my life. To be honest, at 18 I probably had no idea there was a holiday called Flag Day. I quickly learned that ALL holidays were celebrated equally in true Kathy fashion. 

The only difference is the hair color.

The only difference is the hair color.

Kathy always had a story that my 18-year-old ears had no business hearing, but I couldn’t help but be completely absorbed in her tales. One day she called me over to her desk to discuss the discomfort she was having with her “girdle”. I patiently listened how this “girdle” was pinching her skin, yet she didn’t feel it was doing its job. I had NO IDEA what a girdle was up until this point…I was just coming out of diapers for god sakes! She proceeded to raise her dress to reveal this torturous device that spanned from her neck to the middle of her thighs. It was covered in metal zippers with these elastic ribbons that held up her stockings. It’s really a shame that cell phone cameras weren’t around in 1982. 

As you can imagine the girdle sighting stayed with me for quite some time. My mother tried to reassure me that it was only an undergarment, but I probably should have undergone some sort of therapy at the time. To this day I have questions about those zippers. Not to mention this went down in the freaking office!  

I have certainly witnessed a large cast of characters over the years, most that left Kathy appearing almost normal. Looking back on Kathy’s character, I must say she certainly lived life with a little spice adding flavor wherever she traveled. She certainly made it easy for me to go to work every day…I never could risk missing an event. 

The world can be amazing when you’re slightly strange, so be yourself and Enjoy the Ride!

21 responses

  1. I remember when that Far Side comic came out. Lois really didn’t age well, did she?

  2. Such a character! I bet she really doesn’t have any filters now!

    1. Filters weren’t even in the vocabulary.

  3. We need more “Kathy’s” in this world! Although sadly, if she were working in an office in this time, she’d be called into HR on a daily basis and any coworker but you would probably try to slap a bs sexual harassment suit against her… You & I would be having lunch & Friday night drinks with her 🙂

    1. I thought the same thing Jennifer! Poor thing would be drug through the coals by today’s standards. She was a hoot!

  4. Kathy sounds like a great person to work with. The kind of person that makes you want to celebrate every single holiday with loads of enthusiasm. And the kind of person that makes you so badly want to traumatize 18 year olds with girdles!

  5. free penny press | Reply

    haha.. You described her so well I thought, “Hey, I’ve seen that lady somewhere”.. This was hilarious and yes, it’s those characters we meet that give our lives an extra dash of fun!!

    1. Thank you..it wasn’t easy getting all those details in. I was laughing today thinking about some of her antics….lol

  6. Kathy, the original spice girl! Every 18 year old needs an education, clearly skills and memories for life.

    1. Seriously! She set the bar pretty high when it came to “life lessons”…lol

  7. What a character! Nice job. I especially like the cleavage doubling as a clutch purse. I really wanted that picture of the red, white and blue clown to be her.

    1. Oh, so did I…lol. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I’m old enough to remember girdles & garter belts! Kathy was quite a character!

  9. Gotta love eccentric old ladies!!!

  10. Brilliant. What would life be like without the nuts we meet and have to get along with!

  11. I have a sister who is a “Kathy”. No girdle stories but she has an “outfit” for every holiday. I love her to death.

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