Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cringeworthy catastrophes

We've all had those moments, I'm sure, when after we've said or done something, all we want is for the earth to swallow us up. Being a klutz, I've had more than my share of stumbling and falling when I wanted to make an elegant entrance in high heels. Or being caught with my pants down. Literally. I used to mind making a fool of myself. A lot. Even when the damage done was more to my ego than to my physical self. Now that I'm getting older and falling down, literally and figuratively, even more, I've resigned myself to just giving into the moment.

It's funny how I can't remember names or faces from my past, even important ones, but I can recall exactly the times I've made a fool of myself. The first day when I transferred to a new high school in a new city and had to make my way by myself to the school hall (thanks, Pa, for just dropping me off!) I had no idea where to go and decided to follow the stream of girls heading somewhere. Clever me decided to bypass the hordes walking along the passageway and jump off a slope onto what I thought was a grassy field. Well, the field turned out to be more mud than grass and my brand new white sneakers were covered with the icky brown stuff. Nobody knew me nor gave me a second glance but I was mortified. And I have the kind of face that flushes brilliant red . Why do I remember this incident from more than 40 years ago like it only happened yesterday? I'm sure the psychoanalysts  have something to say about that.

All of us want to make a good impression, me included, more so when we're out on a first date. I once went out with some guy I really liked. He was older and the height of cool. I went through what I thought were all the right moves when we were having dinner. Now, I may be small-sized but I can eat. A lot. And fast. While I thought I was carrying on a brilliant conversation with my date and listening intently to what he was saying, I suddenly realized that I had almost finished my steak when he wasn't even half way through his. Did he notice? I'm sure he must have although he was too well-mannered to comment on my gargantuan appetite. My face must have been flashing beetroot red while I attempted to slowly saw through my few remaining pieces of meat. He also made the observation some time later that I had really big strides when I walked even though I am a small person. Sigh. Again, even though this happened a long time ago, I remember this incident so clearly.

You want to know when I was truly, truly mortified? Like "please God, teleport me someplace else, right this instant" mortification? I was flying somewhere with my boss and walking through the airport  with him. At the x-ray machine, as I was rummaging through my carry-all, some of my stuff spilled out onto the floor and he kindly stooped down to help me pick them up, among which was my tab of birth control pills. Aauurrrgh, how embarrassing! The kind man didn't say a word, he just winked. This happened more than 20 years ago. I don't remember which airport, heck I don't even remember my boss's name, but the incident sticks out ever so vividly.

What truly takes the cake (until the next cringeworthy moment, that is) happened a couple of years ago. My friend, V, had dropped me off at the bank while she waited in her car, which happens to be bright blue. After completing my errands, I dashed back and got into her car. Only it wasn't her car. It was the same bright blue model but driven by another lady who was so stunned to see me getting into her passenger seat she couldn't even scream. I think I yelped an apology and beat a hasty retreat to V's car parked behind. V said she had seen me getting into the wrong car and tried to warn me by honking and flashing her lights but I paid her no mind. I am holding my head in mortification even as I write this. How could I?

I've had my share of embarrassing blunders, moments I'll relive and whose script I wish I could re-write. But I suppose they'll make great stories for my grandchildren one day who'll go, "Oh, grandma, how could you?"

1 comment:

  1. Lol, good times. I vaguely remember the lady jumping out of her car the same time you did. - V