So, I'm doing this 60 Day Challenge from the blog Ask Moxie, and every day I send a report to some friends who are doing it, too. Fascinating stuff like "I did cardio and weights today" and "I drank some water, but wish I drank more" and lots of other scintillating details. A couple weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a stranger: "Re: Tuesday: 'Hi, I don't know you. I think I got this by accident. But I certainly admire your commitment!'"
Oof. That was pleasant. At least my e-mail was simply boring, rather than rife with scandal.
But it put me in mind of several times in my life when I've been mortified. So, instead of sharing my workout habits with one stranger, I'll now share some of my most embarrassing moments with the internet. Next, I'll pour Bosco and baked beans on my naked torso on stage and call it performance art.
1. When I was a grad student at UMass Amherst, I interviewed to teach in the writing program: twice. Both times I was rejected without explanation. I screwed up my courage and showed up unannounced at the director's office, with the mature intention of asking for specific advice on how to improve my chances. Instead, I opened my mouth to say "I'm here to talk to you about a teaching job..." and then burst into hysterical, hiccuping sobs. I cried for about 15 minutes while she tried to comfort me (looking like she'd rather be cleaning up vomit) and never really got a coherent word out. I went away thinking, "Well, I can kiss that job goodbye." One week later, she called me herself to say a position had "suddenly opened up." The rest is history. Unfortunately, I may have imbibed a message that all things in life are there for the crying.
2. I decided to ask this guy in one of my classes on a date. I wrote him a note. He wrote back, saying yes. I wrote another note with my phone number. He wrote a note with his phone number. I called. He wasn't in, and never called back. I finally accosted him in the hallway, asking when he wanted to go out. He wouldn't look at me, and kept rocking on his heels, saying "How about during the day sometime?" I was a bit daft, even when I said "We could talk on the phone" and he said, "Oh, that's probably not a good idea." We made a vague plan for the following Friday and I left, perplexed. To cheer myself up, I drove to the mall, intending to see a movie and eat junk food. I stopped at a pay phone, where apparently someone stole my wallet. I thought maybe I'd dropped it, so I ran around the mall, searching crazily. I ran outside to check my car; it had started hailing. I ran back in, looking like a wet dog, tripping over my unlaced boots, bangs plastered to my face, starving and movie-less. As the automatic doors opened, I ran SMACK into Cagey Guy...with his arm around a dry and attractive woman, just like in a bad romantic comedy. I looked up, we made eye contact, I looked away and ran. I never found my wallet or got any food that night, and I never saw Cagey Guy again.
3. I had a bad break up. I got a therapist. At my first appointment, I tried to explain to her that I just didn't feel like myself these days. She nodded and wrote stuff down, looking like she agreed that I might be crazy. I left, feeling somewhat unburdened, and walked to my car in the warm sun. Things would get better. I stretched, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something odd. I looked down at my shirt. It was buttoned wrong. Not just a little wrong. I mean, so wrong that bits of my belly were showing.
4. I was in college, and called Jill, an old friend from high school, to see what she was doing. "Guess what! I'm with Jason right now!" she said. Jason was our BFF from senior year--we used to hang out with him every weekend. He was tall, blond, gorgeous and a total sweetheart. My mom used to say, "What's wrong with that boy?" "What do you mean, Mom? He's perfect." I said. "Right. I can see that. But he spends all his time with two pretty girls and doesn't want to date you. I think he's gay." When she said that, I was speechless. I couldn't understand how A+B=C in her mind. I told Jill about my mom's crazy theory and made her swear not to tell Jason.
Now, years later, Jason was as adorable as ever. "So," he said right away, "Jill tells me your mom thought I was gay." I had been bending down to adjust my shoe and froze in horror. I looked up slowly. He was smiling. "Anyway, your mom is a genius! She knew before I did. How did she do that?" I just stared at him like a deer in headlights. Then he started telling us about his boyfriend.
5. I was on my way to teach Nia when I suddenly turned my car around, realizing I hadn't packed a clean outfit for afterwards. I was meeting friends for dinner later, and knew I'd want to shower. I showed up late, frazzled and out of breath. I'm never late. I dashed in the room to find my boss with a clip board, waiting to evaluate me, a stealth attack. "I'm so sorry I'm late!" I gushed to everyone. "I wouldn't have been late, but I forgot my underwear!" There was a short silence. My boss furrowed her brow.
"I wouldn't have needed it, except I'm going out afterwards!" I yelped. "I mean, of course I wear underwear when I TEACH." The whole class cracked up, and I could not get my mouth to form any more words. My boss made a lot of notes, and I was close to passing out for the next 30 minutes until she left.
Dear Readers: Please help! Give me some ideas for lists you'd like to hear. The well is running dry.