So, yesterday I was in ACE Hardware which is close to my house and where I go all of the time. Since I’m in a bit of a manic phase, I’ve been traipsing over there even more to get my painting supplies and other what-nots. Anyhoot, I know the store like the back of my hand but for some reason, I could not find the lightbulbs yesterday. This store is locally owned and the people who walk the floor to give you that old-fashioned service are mostly older, retired men (who are simply adorbs with their pants up to their nipples 😉). After wandering through the dozen or so aisles, I was asked if I needed help and I said: “Sure, I just can’t find the lightbulbs…I guess they must have been moved.” His deadpan reply was: “No ma’am…they are right here where they’ve always been…turn around.” And yes, there they were, 4″ from my face.
THEN, I had to buy a couple of screws and was filling out the little paper sack with the screw price (shutty…I know I could have worded this better 🙄) and trying to calculate the total (very difficult: price x quantity). I was secretly using my fingers and must have looked perplexed because grandpa came up to me again and asked, AGAIN, if I needed help. I said I was just having a little problem with my calculation and he looked at my sack and said, “Well, ma’am, you have 6 screws at $.09 each. That would be $.54. 6 x 9 = 54.” I tittered and said: “Would you believe I’m a college professor?” And this old geezer (who was married…I checked…🙄), said: “No.” Then, he walked away shaking his head.
OK. Gotta admit this was pretty embarrassing. I looked like a complete twit and wondered how I’ve managed to get along so well in life thus far since I’m obviously incapable of seeing objects and multiplying single digit numbers. Then, it got me to thinking about other embarrassing times in my life, and unfortunately, there are a lot of ’em.
So, I play the flute and am mediocre at best. Or, to be honest, I’m probably a few steps down from that. But my best friend in high school played the flute VERY well (she’s actually freaking amazing on it 😀) and I wanted to sit by her in band and be 2nd chair so I decided to take lessons with the same guy she studied with. His name was Mr. P and I had a HUGE crush on him. He had traveled all around the world and was very cosmopolitan. He’d play the piano along with my fluting and tell jokes I loved hearing. I’d spend hours in front of the mirror before I rode my 10 speed to his house, just to make sure my hair was ‘feathered’ right and I had my strawberry Bonne Bell lip gloss on just so. One afternoon, he was trying to broaden my range and had me play really high notes. I worked and worked at playing a high C and when it finally happened, something else happened too. I farted. Or pooted. Or passed gas. Use whatever term you prefer but I wanted the floor to open up so I could fall in and never be heard from again. The worst part? He didn’t acknowledge this case of the ‘vapors’ but I’m the type to laugh when I’m nervous, so I started giggling like a lunatic (yes, big shocker there). He, being a gentleman, tried to ignore this too, which made me more nervous, which made me more gassy, which made me more giggly. Long story short? He left town not much later, gave up teaching flute, and embarked on a figure skating career. If he ever would have won a gold medal, I was going to take the credit for it.
As some of you know, I’ve got the grandiose delusion that I actually have Oscar winning acting abilities if I could simply be discovered (my family disagrees, but what do they know? Their last name isn’t Spielberg…just sayin’). Of course, this began when I first saw Jodi Foster (btw, my big girl crush) and knew I could be just like her. Anyhoot, I was always too shy to try out for plays in high school since that was for the popular folk (no-talent boobs who are still bitchy…get over yourselves already, please) that I was much too intimidated by to be around. But one day an opportunity presented itself: during Jr. year, my English Lit class was reading “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, and I was playing Laura that day. She is physically and emotionally impaired with a lot of mental fragility (wonder why I was chosen?), and her mom was desperate to find her a husband (once again, this part fit me like a glove). Anyhoot, I was excited to read this part because it would show the snotty seniors in my class how much they needed me in their plays. There’s a part of the play where the horn of a glass unicorn is broken off and Laura yells: “My GLASS MENAGERIE!” Menagerie is pronounced ‘men-aj-er-ee’ but I SCREECHED ‘man-a-jer-aw’. The class started cracking up and I was horrified! My big chance at a movie career (actors from my Illinois high school often make it to Hollywood) ended and I was humiliated. Bye bye, Tinseltown.
Another embarrassing moment happened when I was getting ready to start my Jr. year in college. I went to community college my first 2 years (and now teach at the same college 😃) and was so so so excited to be the first in my family to go on to university. As hard as it is to believe, I was a bit smug about this. Anyhoot, Hubby 1 and I were dating at the time and we were at “Cousin Fred’s”. I kid you not…there was a store where I live actually called this. It was a great store and one of those where you could find about anything you need, but it was a bit dumpy. So we were checking out and I was wearing a shirt from my new college and the cashier said: “Are you going to that university?” I thought: “How cute…this guy, a cashier at Cousin Fred’s (!), wants to know if smart, academically motivated Kristi is going to a big, scary university. Bless his heart!” I say, in a pretty snotty voice now that I think back to it, “Yes…I’m going to be a junior.” It sounded like I was saying, “Why yes, I’m queen of the freaking world.” The guy said: “Cool. I just got my Masters there.” Hubby 1 started cracking up! After looking at this guy dumbfounded that out of all the people who have asked me about college, I had to be snotty towards the 1 who actually had his graduate degree, I kinda mumbled something like “Good for you!” and moseyed out of the store. Yes, this put me in my place. Yes, I have never bragged about anything again. And yes, I sorta lied on that last one.
Once, I was at another store in my town called Venture that was also a bit of this and a bit of that. I was wearing white shorts and as I was meandering the aisles, I noticed a lot of people admiring my butt. I was 17 and thought WOW, I must be looking good! Whispers followed me and my confidence was growing and I started smiling at these guys who ‘wanted me’ and the women who ‘wanted to be me.’ I glided through the check-out, sashayed my way to the parking lot, and when I got home I looked in my full-length body mirror to see my amazing ass. What I saw was thin white shorts that showed my dark brown underwear perfectly. Yes, dark brown underwear was a thing in the 80’s and I was too stupid to think they would show through THIN white shorts. These guys weren’t admiring my behiner…they were laughing at me! From this day on, I never…ever…ever…leave the house without looking at my backside first. Just in case.
There are so many times I’ve tripped in front of people (and always look at the floor like there was a spill or something), waved to someone who wasn’t waving to me, said hello to someone who had no idea who the hell I was, talked to someone with a huge piece of food stuck in my teeth, got caught smelling my armpits, argued about something ad nauseam and then realized I was wrong, wasn’t able to get an easy word out, couldn’t complete a high five and having my palm just swat the air, said “That’s great” when I couldn’t hear someone and then realized what an inappropriate remark this was, gone out in my greasy face and lank hair to run a quick errand and then seeing a dozen people I know, and the list goes on.
Isn’t it funny how we think our families are embarrassing or we see embarrassing things on YouTube and we thank our lucky stars that it wasn’t us? It’s so easy to point out other people’s moments and so hard to face our own mortifications. I probably embarrass myself at least a dozen times a week…I’m clumsy, awkward, and have the tendency to say and act before thinking about it which can set me up for a lot of humiliating situations. But I can laugh at them now. Out of all the things I face having this fucking (first time in this post, ma 😄) bipolar disease, being embarrassed is the least of my worries. You know, I learned not long ago that if you can laugh at yourself, it’s one less time you cry. And believe me…for those of us with mental illnesses, laughing can feel pretty damn good.