Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Top 5 Awkward Situations Featuring Yours Truly

Have you ever been trapped in a really awkward situation? Maybe it's become an infamous family story that relatives tease you about at holidays. Or maybe it's something you haven't told a soul because it's too embarrassing.

Well, you're not alone, and today I'm here to share my top 5 most awkward moments!

More awkward than a blurry accidental selfie!

#5: Misadventures in Anthropology 101

In college I took an anthropology course. I can't remember my exact reasoning for this, since it wasn't part of my major and I don't think it fulfilled a general education requirement.

Apparently I just thought it would be cool to spend $594 per credit hour on something that was mildly interesting and had zero practical application to my life.

The day we learned about altered states of consciousness in different cultures, the professor turned off the lights and showed us a video. In a certain Amazon tribe, they do cataract surgery without anesthesia. They simply put people into a trance and do it.

I vividly remember the grainy black-and-white closeup of the scalpel moving toward a person's eye, the patient's eyelashes fluttering madly to an intense drumbeat, and then...

The next thing I knew I was face-down on the table in front of me, gradually realizing that the lights were back on, the professor was standing over me asking if I was alright, and the entire lecture hall full of students was staring at me.

I had fainted.

Twenty years later, I don't remember anything I learned in that anthropology class, except that I would never cut it as a surgeon or a horror movie producer.

#4: Performing the World's Saddest Flute Solo

When they introduced band in fifth grade, my daughter wanted to play the flute. I looked briefly into renting a flute through the school, but I decided to save some money and scout around for a decent used one instead.

I found a good deal at a music store. When I went to go pick it up, the employee on duty was super-chatty. While he led me to the instruments for sale, he got me to tell him in detail about how I had played the flute all through high school.

"Here it is!" he announced, reaching the back room. He removed a flute from its case, assembled it, and handed it to me. "Go ahead. See what you think!"

A little background: the necessary lip shape for playing the flute requires the use of some seldom-used muscles called embouchure muscles, and that's why beginning flutists spend the first few weeks of lessons unsuccessfully trying to make a sound.

Something which I, who had not used my embouchure muscles for over a decade, had forgotten about until that exact moment.

After blowing soundlessly into the flute with the employee looking on for what felt like an hour, I hurriedly said it was fine and that we'd take it.

If my face was any hotter as we took the long walk of shame back to the front desk, I would've caught on fire.

#3: In Which I Win 'Mother of the Year'

A few summers ago, I found myself at the Southwest Airlines desk at the airport. My 10- and 12-year-olds were flying solo to visit their grandparents in Minnesota, and that means I needed a special "boarding" pass so I could take them through security and bring them to their gate.

I was answering all the lady's questions about myself when she suddenly asked, "And what's the baby's name?"

"What?" I asked.

Gesturing to their 3-month-old brother in his stroller, she said, "I have to put him on your pass as an infant-in-arms."

Oh, okay. Just like when you actually fly with a baby. I gave her the baby's first and last names.

"And his middle name?"

I opened my mouth, then froze with my jaw hanging in the breeze. What was his middle name?

He was only 3 months old, and as far as I could remember the only time I'd even used his middle name was when I wrote it on his birth certificate. Plus, I was so deep in the fog of sleep deprivation I could hardly remember my own middle name, letalone his.

I should have said he didn't have one. Or just given her the first name that popped into my head. But I didn't think of that, so I stood there like a deer in the headlights until my oldest daughter came to my rescue.

Sadly, that wasn't the only time I've basically shook hands with someone and introduced myself as the world's most clueless mom (please see this recent incident with the high school health teacher) but it was probably the most embarrassing.

#2: At Least I'm in Excellent Health

Phillip was with me at a prenatal appointment when my obstetrician, who happened to be male, looked at my chart and noticed I was overdue for a breast cancer exam. "Do you want to do that today?"

"Sure," I answered.

I think my OB quickly wished he'd never asked. Apparently when you're a man doing a breast exam on someone whose husband is sitting on a stool three feet away, it brings up some questions.

Clearing his throat and looking at Phillip, he asked, "Um, do you want to step out for this part, or...?"

And then realizing what he'd asked (think about it,) his voice just withered up and died. Obviously he felt awkward, and now we were all going to share in that awkwardness whether we wanted to or not.

Ultimately, Phillip stayed and stared a hole in the ceiling, and the OB finished the exam despite his apparent worry that Phillip would jump up and grab him by the collar of his labcoat, yelling, "Hey, buddy! Get your hands off my wife!"

It was just weird all around. However, they found no evidence of breast cancer so I guess all's well that ends well.

Maybe next time, I'll accompany Phillip to his yearly physical for the 'turn and cough' part so we're even.

#1: Willfully Impersonating a Registered Nurse

Several years ago, my family was selected to participate in a media consumer survey. (Obviously it was random, since we don't even have a TV and my 2-year-old thinks Mickey Mouse is a weirdly-shaped monkey.)
Not a monkey.

Everyone over the age of 6 was given a meter  a little black box about the size of a bar of soap  to clip on their belt, and they supposedly picked up any nearby TV or radio stations.

One day the kids and I were in line at Staples when the cashier pointed at my meter and, assuming it was a beeper, asked if I was a nurse. I was in a hurry and he'd given me an easy alternative to explaining the entire study, so I just said "yeah."

"What kind of nurse?" he pressed.

It was a trap! I couldn't back out now, so I lied again and said the first thing I could think of, which was Labor & Delivery. (Figures.)

I was desperately hoping the guy would just drop it. Or scan our purchases quicker. Or that a masive sinkhole would open up in the floor and swallow me whole. But as luck would have it, none of those things happened.

"Wow," he whistled, "You must be an important nurse to have a beeper!"

GAH! I was dying to get out of there. How would I explain the kids' meters if he saw them and wanted to talk about that next? OH MY GOSH, THE KIDS.

They were all standing there, blinking like baby owls and watching me lie through my teeth to this nice man! What were they learning from my behavior, and more importantly, how long before one of them spoke up and blew my cover?

Luckily, the kids kept quiet. The cashier ended his interrogation. And after I'd paid for everything, we peeled out of there so fast our cart left skid marks on the floor that are probably there to this day.


They say that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, which is why I fully expect my life to produce more of these awkward moments. In fact, I'm sure once I post this, my kids will remind me of others I've lived through and already forgotten. (They're great at doing that.)

What was your most awkward moment? Has anything like one of these ever happened to you?

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Jill said...

#2 and #1 had me in tears laughing. Thanks for making my night.

Diana Dye said...

Oh my gosh that last one is hilarious.

I once gave a cashier a completely random string of 10 digits as my phone number. I even said it in the 3 - 3- 4 pattern but I was just making it up as I went. My mind went blank when she asked me and instead of telling her I couldn't remember (who forgets their number?) I just lied. I was 8 months pregnant.

Kath said...

I was about 4 hours into a drive home through a snowstorm in a heavy metropolitan area. Given I had gone only about 10 miles and still had about 20 left to drive, I knew that there were several hours left in this particular commute. And, of course, I had to pee. Desperately. There was no way to pull off the freeway or even to the side as I would have been stuck there until the snow melted and/or been hit by another car (which did happen to someone who was then killed!). So, really, no joke. I had to improvise.

Fortunately I had a large vinyl purse with me. A perfect recepticle!

After some significant manoeuvring, I emptied that purse, adjusted my attire (pants), placed the purse into position, ALL THE WHILE DRIVING MY 5-SPEED CAR WITHOUT PAUSING (clutch in, clutch out), know.

The guy in the semi next to me was insultingly entertained.

Long story short, for Christmas that year my sister gave me an identical purse to the one I had re-purposed with a note saying that she figured I was in need of a new port-o-potty...

It took me a few years to tell most folks about that adventure but look at me now...putting it in the internet!

I also have a video of myself, a bit tipsy but in the happiest way, that caused deep humiliation when first viewed. That feeling of humiliation preceded, by a few minutes, my feeling of hilarity which then translated into forwarding it to every one I know!

I guess my friends and family can count themselves lucky that no one took video of my peeing-in-my-purse adventure. That I know of. Thus far.

Jenny Evans said...

I don't even know what to say about that story. Except that the trucker is probably still telling it, too. Ha!

Jenny Evans said...

I love this.

Jenny Evans said...

They were both funny in retrospect.

PurpleSlob said...

Ah! So that's why I can't play my flute anymore!!

Kath; you are my hero!! Emergency level: genius~~