I had applied for several jobs in the past six months. Most companies hadn’t even responded to my applications, but after only a brief chat and a 15-minute audition, I left Liberty Tax Service as a new employee giddy with excitement.
Once in the car, I smashed the tiny lettered buttons on my cell phone. “I just got a job. Booyah!”
My husband greeted me later in the kitchen. “So what’s the new job?”
“Well, that’s top secret. I can’t reveal that information right now.”
I’m sure he knew what I was up to, but he was a good sport and let me have my fun.
Lady Liberty was to remain in the closet. Nobody was going to know about this –not my parents, my children, my neighbors or friends – NOBODY – the only exception, a lone confidant 500 miles away. I needed more time to come to peace with my decision and allow my positive energy to build up its charge.
No one would ever expect me to be on the street in a Statue of Liberty costume. If people I knew drove by they wouldn’t have time for a second glance, but just in case, I’d take extra precautions: face paint, sunglasses, and a hat to hide my most distinguishing features. My secret was safe.
It was only a few days into my Liberty gig when Mother Nature reared her ugly head and put all my plans in jeopardy.
The first big snow of the season started falling the night before my third day of work. The news stations were in hyper-mode as they often get when precipitation falls from the sky in Coastal Virginia. The schools had already cancelled classes. The grocery store shelves had been wiped clean of milk and bread as if the polar vortex itself had torn through the aisles.
Being a brand new employee, I wasn’t certain the protocol for extreme weather conditions, but I was determined to be prepared. I set aside a pile of clothing containing as many layers of pants, tops and outerwear that I thought could keep me warm yet still allow me to move.
I should have taken a hint from my colleague working out on Liberty Island. Does she get to step off her pedestal and stay home in bad weather? Nope.
Turns out, neither does Lady Liberty in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Similar to our mail carriers, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (we have glow crowns) stays these wavers from the completion of their appointed duties. Interestingly, I don’t think our mail was delivered that day.
But I pounded the icy pavement in a dress and Duck Boots, and that’s pretty remarkable. That’s perseverance. That’s dedication.
The reporter was from the Virginian Pilot. With his shoulders hunched and hands tucked deep in his pockets he made his way through the chunky ice and slush to my spot on the sidewalk. “Can I talk to about your job out here?”
YES! Publicity for my boss! Advertising for Liberty Tax Service! This is what it’s all about! And I’d get noticed! Cool.
Oh wait… NO. I don’t want to get noticed! I was in a quandary.
The thing is I had an obligation to do my job, and that was marketing. I simply couldn’t deny the publicity. I was also pretty excited about being interviewed by a reporter. (and spending a few minutes in the warm office) Surely he could tell the story without using my name.
He couldn’t. He insisted on a surname. I had a few seconds to think, which clearly wasn’t enough time because (1) I’m not that quick on my feet, and (2) I’m a terrible liar. So in my flustered state I blurted out my maiden name. (as if that was going to cloak my identity)
Great. Now my parents could be surprised and embarrassed when they opened their newspaper that day. As a writer and journalist, I’m ashamed to admit I secretly hoped nobody else I knew had a subscription.
The rest of the day I wondered when I’d get a phone call, an email or a Facebook message reporting that the story had been spotted and my secret revealed.
I got home around 1:30 that day. I turned on the computer and clicked on my mailbox. There was a message from my husband whose subject line read, “What’s the first thing I see when my work computer opens to Pilot Online?” I opened the email and discovered only one line, an internet link containing the words, “snow-cold-cant-keep-lady-liberty-work.”