Case of the Waiting Donuts

15 Apr

“One of these things is not like the other.”

I hummed the song softly while surveying the room. To my left, like ducks in a row, a rainbow-colored group of men and women sat attentively scribbling  as a small, round brown woman offered instructions.

“Hair must be pulled back into a ponytail so they can see your face,” she dictated.

One woman, ebony and pencil-thin, frantically ran over to the security guard near me and recruited him in her search for a small rubber band for her shoulder-length locks.

“A job interview,” I wondered then quickly discarded after noting the ubiquitous sea of tanks and jeans.

I glanced down at my own attire.

I was still caked in mud from the farm (yes, the farm). My knees were dirt-capped from kneeling to weed a row of tomatoes. My face was publicly makeup-less for the first time in months and donned glasses to mask the remnants of the previous night’s festivities and lack of sleep. I was one of those people who waited until the very last minute to file my taxes. I intentional drug my feet because I knew I owe Uncle Sam a pretty penny. I spent all of last year working primarily as a freelance reporter, a status that meant I was paid sans taxes and received a 1099 instead of a W2.

With the deadline looming, I walked into the building where I knew free tax filing was offered. Shoutout to VITA. What’s crazy is that 8 years ago, I had come to this same building during tax season. Back then, I was on the other side of the chair. I had studied accounting in high school and as part of our community service and for practice, we went into the community to file taxes. As I entered the lobby, a stout woman in a black suit and clipboard in tow eyed me suspiciously.

 “Taxes,” I replied to her raised eyebrows and frozen smile.

After releasing a visible sigh of relief, she directed me to a security guard with the sign-in sheet.

Near him, sat a box of glazed donuts. I eyed them hungrily. I only had yogurt for breakfast hours ago. “What in the world was a box of untouched donuts doing sitting on a counter amidst a room full of people in the afternoon?” I wondered, smacking my lips in anticipation. The security guard noted my drool and offered me a couple. I declined, determined that something must be wrong.

As I waited my turn, I stole glances at the seated bunch to my left.

“What’s going on over there?” I finally whispered to the security guard.

“Fashion show,” he offered.

Just then, the entire group stood and filed into a room. They were giants to my 5 feet 4 inches and made my little curves pronounced against their rail thin bodies.

I grabbed a donut and laughed: Mystery solved.  

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