how many roles?

It’s funny the many roles we play in a day.  My train mate (stranger sitting across from me) is a female business woman.  From her notes, I’ve gathered that she is a manager of some sort for HSBC.  She is preparing for a team meeting.  In the space of an hour, she played many roles.

When we first sat down, she brought her loose notes, and her notebook, and her laptop.  Intense and focused, she poured over her notes, made more notes.

Time passed.

She pulled out her blackberry.  I thought she was making a business call, instead she called her daughter to make sure she was ready for school.  Soft voice, mum’s voice… ‘I love you’ at the end.  Phone down, back into business manager role plugging away on the laptop inputting her notes.  In the midst of this transcription, she pulls out her nail file and moves into girly mode and starts doing her nails.  Then back to business manager.

Notes finally finished, she pulls put her iPod and relaxes to some tunes and does the soduku from the morning Metro.

Even her look suggests a women of a thousand guises.  She is wearing a black suit jacket, but underneath is a pink terry cloth top with a white t-shirt that shows just above the rim of the pink shirt.  She is has a small silver cross hanging neatly against her cleavage.  Her hair, short and spikey.  She sports a hard won tan and face that looks as worn a leather glove, not ugly, just haggard.  She is wearing opened toed shoes, pink painted toenails.

I reach my stop, which turns out is also her stop.  We get off.  She has three bags – a laptop bag, her handbag, and some large overgrown back that looks like may contain presentation gear.  Another role, that of the traveler or perhaps the wandering saleswoman…

I wonder how many other roles she will have to play before the end of her day.  Which leaves me to wonder, how many roles do I play in a single day?   And when, if ever, do I get to be just me, no roles, no masks, no walls or barriers?

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