So one of the perks of my job are lab coats with my name embroidered over the breast pocket. Well, in theory anyway. It’s been three months and I have yet to see these lab coats. Instead I lead a double live; in the lab I am Cynthia or Elly. Or I’m just my name Sharpeed onto a bit of and tape stuck on the front of a disposable lab coat.
Having abandoned all hope of any of my supervisors following up on this issue, I approached the woman who does the ordering for the section I am in. She wrote my name down on a Post-It note and asked me if my size is a medium.
These lab coats aren’t exactly fitted women’s sizes.
“No,” I say, “small.”
“Are you sure?”
What, am I lying about my lab coat size now?
“Yes, it’s what I’m using currently.”
Fine, end of issue. Mildly irritating but quickly forgotten.
Weeks go by, no lab coats.
I bug my supervisor about it. More weeks go by. Still no lab coat.
This afternoon I’m walking down the lab hallway minding my own business when a brisk little elderly man with a thick Spanish accent accosts me. He wants to know, is my name Rebecca?
No, it’s not.
Do I have lab coats?
No, I don’t.
Well as it turns out, this man happens to be in charge of lab coats. The power, I’m sure, is intoxicating.
And he really wants to know if I’ve filled out the form for ordering lab coats. Forms I was unaware existed and certainly haven’t filled out. So for the third time no, I haven’t filled out any forms.
Right, so, he’s going to get me lab coats. What’s my name again?
I tell him.
What’s my size? Medium?
There it is again, why the hell are you asking me my size if you already know it?
“No,” I say, “small.”
Let me interject here and say: I’m not being vain, the size small lab coat is what fits me. Even over a hoody, the coat fits with no uncomfortable bunching or tightness. It fits, as they say, like a glove.
And here’s were this little man tells me:
“I don’t think so, you look like a medium.”
My smile has faded; I’m looking him dead in the eye.
“No, a small. It’s what I’m wearing right now.”
Even this is not enough to assuage this man’s fear that I’m such a waddling tub of lard that I’ll split a small lab coat from seam to seam. And again, let me remind you, these are some roomy lab coats, small isn’t exactly all that small.
“Are you sure? No tightness here?” He says, gesturing to his shoulders.
Yeah, I’m sure.
I don’t understand. Obviously he thinks I’m too large for a small. Does he think I don’t know my own size? Does he think I’m lying? Have I magically added inches to my shoulders and pounds to my frame since I last looked in the mirror?
I don’t know which is more insulting, that he thinks I’m too big to fit into the small or that he thinks that I’m so vain that I’d lie about it.
What the hell man, what the hell?