I was walking our dog, Whiskey, early this morning when I witnessed a ridiculous sight. A guy riding a bike on the sidewalk, holding a stuffed hefty bag of items the size of Santa’s toy sack, tried to avoid on-coming school children on their own bikes and somehow took a colossal dive into a bunch of garbage cans lined up on the street.
It was “Three Stooges” funny. But I couldn’t laugh out loud because the poor guy was obviously mucho embarrassed. Garbage spilled everywhere. His sack of recyclables erupted like a volcano and he had fallen awkwardly – head down with froggy-legs sputtering up in the air.
The kids scooted by in a quick tempo, focused on getting to school and relatively giggle-free about the guy’s crazy spill onto the ground. He popped right up and looked around to see who else witnessed the carnage and frowned when he spotted me.
“You O.K.?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He responded gruffly, clearing his throat.
“Good going aiming for the cans as they definitely broke your fall.” I said cheerily.
“Yeah.” He responded sourly – not looking me in the eye.
With a sad shake of his head he grabbed his torn sack, climbed on the bike and slowly rode off – one wheel now squeaky with every labored pedal push.
I felt bad for him, but really – in the scheme of things- he shouldn’t feel humiliated. I mean who really cares? This type of stuff is unavoidable in life. It happens to all of us at one point or another. Right? I’ve had a couple of doozies myself.
Hmmm, let me think. Those times were definitely more in my youth. Or perhaps they happen now too but because I am in my 50’s I just don’t really care what strangers think. It’s one of the biggest benefits of getting older – you are free of worrying about that kind of crap —so that you have more time to worry about other crap.
O.K. I digress. Let’s go back to my youth and pick out some mortifying moments. When I think about the very first memory of feeling totally embarrassed I remember tripping in the street in Toronto. I was maybe 10 years old and remember my outfit – cute navy top with ruffled collar, green plaid skirt, new blue suede shoes. My family was in town for a festival and the streets were bustling. We had all dressed up for dinner at a fancy restaurant. I was feeling pretty and happy. But then I fell down, scraped my knees and was so embarrassed I just wanted to melt into the big crack of the sidewalk that caused me to fall. I remember thinking I was going to die right there. At least I had on new shoes…
O.K. maybe that one was not so bad but here is another one that happened when I was 20. I remember it so clearly…
I’m in college – at Penn State- walking in the quad by my dorm. A gorgeous hunk of a football player stops me to chat. I had just met him a couple days before and thought he was very handsome and back then all the Penn State football players were like supreme beings on campus.
He mispronounced my name, but I didn’t care.
He usually had a harem of pretty “it” girls hanging around him, but I didn’t care.
I was having a moment; alone in the quad with this super-hero-like-god.
And as I am looking up into his oh so handsome mug and hanging onto every word coming from his oh so sensuous mouth – I feel it – the abrupt end to my bliss. Like a guillotine, my moment with him was as the French say “Fini”.
He stops talking, takes a step back and breaks into a massive grin that would look so good if I could only see it clearly. But I can’t see much through one eye at all because an obviously large bird has just plopped his large capacity poop onto my head.
Lacking any witty comeback to this sorrowful situation, I do believe I simply vanished into thin air.
I don’t remember getting back to my dorm. I don’t remember if he said anything upon my departure. But I do remember that I never saw him again. 😦
So what is the point of my sharing these embarrassing stories?
I don’t know. I don’t like it when people feel bad for stupid moments that everyone has. Those awkward happenings although unsettling is what keeps us real. And I feel we are lacking “realness” in our lives.
There is way too much pretend perfection going on– Whether it’s football players pretending they aren’t in pain, or celebrities pretending they aren’t aging, or Facebook posters that pretend they always have it going on. I feel the need to bring balance…and I am happy when sometimes we get to see it.
It’s the real stuff that makes me smile. I can relate to it more…I’m not saying I don’t enjoy when things are really too good to be true. That can be fun. But for me there needs to be balance. It’s all about The Yin and Yang of life.
“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day.” Anthon St. Maarten
So let’s not hide our bad times or get too upset over spilled milk, silly falls or being a landing pad for bird poop. Because these things are a common thread we all share and like it or not they are unavoidably a part of life.
Here’s to both the chilly and the warm days!