Hello! Welcome to Day 13 of the #AKwritingChallenge! Today’s topic is my most embarrassing moment.
Like everyone else on the planet I have plenty of stories that embarrass me. The problem is in deciding what’s embarrassing versus what’s humiliating. There are differences.
Many, many moons ago I was living in Phoenix. It was an interesting time in my life. I look back on it now and wonder what the hell I was thinking, but at the same time I’m so glad that I did it! I mean, how often can you chuck your entire life and start fresh? If you’re me, you lose track around 4.
It was my 22nd birthday. I wasn’t all that excited about the day, really. The year before had been 21 and that wasn’t the greatest. I mean, it was fun, but it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about, even if I did write a blog article. The Bacchanal That Was 21
I was in the in-between stage of personalities. I suppose I could have been considered a grunge neo-hippie? If that makes any sense. My friends in MI all listened to Phish and the Dead (someday … someday, I’ll tell some stories about some of these events. For now, they’re still personal) and we had been on the front lines of Nirvana and Pearl Jam and all those other amazing groups no one thinks about anymore. Mother Love Bone, anyone? Temple of the Dog?
Phoenix was different. The people I met there were okay with the Dead, but they really liked the grunge thing. And techno. Sweet baby Jesus, the techno. Were that today, I’d have bailed back to Michigan immediately, but at the time I apparently liked migraine triggers. Not to mention the flashing lights at raves. God help me.
Well, that and the fact that you couldn’t have paid me to go back to MI at that point. I was on the run from some emotional stuff.
So, my birthday rolled around and the group wanted to know what I wanted to do. Really, I was at the point where I wanted to have a nice couples night out with a few cocktails and then back to video games or whatever it was we played back then. Windows 3.1 was on the computer, so it may have been solitaire.
I’m not a huge clothes person. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on them, and I tend to buy everything so it can basically mix and match and be all good. At the time I had a killer job where my monthly bonus checks paid all my bills so the actual checks were mine to do what I wished. I won’t say what I did with all that money, but I will say I wish I had it now.
I decided that if we were doing a couples thing, I should buy an “outfit”. I wore a lot of loose stuff, brightly colored and baggy, back then. Hiding from emotions and other people, I suppose. I had my hair much longer, and it used to hang in my face. It was another way to hide who I was.
I went to the mall. I really, really hate the mall to where I almost dropped an f bomb simply typing that out. Today I Went To The Apple Genius Bar is a take on my having to go to one recently.
I searched high and low and found something that appealed to me. It was this stretchy/tight blue-grey skirt, made of a material I haven’t seen since. It hugged me from waist to knees and then flared out slightly with a slit in the back for walking purposes. It was dry clean only, which is something I still don’t generally buy today. I managed to snag a fancy tank top to go along with it that was white. Thigh high stockings, some heels that were white. I got my hair cut and everything.
Now for the “why I’m embarrassed” portion.
Everyone wanted to go to Red Lobster. Not me, as I am allergic to shellfish, but I went along with it. People pleaser, thy name is A.K. They were talking about cheesy biscuits and all excited, so yeah. I risked my own life for cheesy biscuits that I didn’t even want. Epically failed to stand up for myself, so there’s strike one.
I’m wearing my killer outfit. I felt good about myself for the first time in months. Like, really good. I wanted to sit near the window in the booth. It’s my preferred spot. I gave it up because the gentleman I was seeing at the time slid in there before me and never gave me the option. Again, I failed to stand up for myself. Technically that’s strike two.
Our server came around, a young lady who seemed relatively new. The place was packed and her section was over packed. She had been seated multiple times. I recognize this now, looking back. We ordered drinks. Because it was a special night, I went with a Strawberry Daiquiri. The others all ordered beers or mixed drinks.
Eventually she comes back with an exceptionally overloaded tray. The kind where if you remove one item, the entire thing is going to slide and devastation will ensue. I did not see this as the woman came up from behind me.
For some reason, she thought it would be a great idea to hold this tray over my head and shoulders.
I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
She picked up my bright red drink and the entire tray went sideways. Beer, sodas, mixed drinks, all spilled over me. In an attempt to stop the devastation, she threw her other hand to the tray, effectively releasing this icy red slush bomb all over me as well.
Hair, face, brand new outfit, everything got nailed.
Everyone else in the booth? Just fine. No collateral damage.
Dropping a full tray of drinks is not a silent affair. The entire packed restaurant and waiting area applauded her. Definitely humiliating for her and I felt awful for her but at the same time I had spent $100 on this outfit. That’s a lot of money for the late 90s, early 2000s. It is now, too, but not quite like that. I could still fill a gas tank for $20. And when you factor in the mall trip, having to shop, and how much I hate both of those things? Yeah.
The manager comes scurrying over. They quickly get a mop and take care of the broken glass and the mess that’s all around and over our table. We get a new round of drinks, and he leaves.
No apologies, no offers to discount our meal, no offer to pay for dry cleaning.
Do I go to the manager before I leave? Of course I do. Do I demand dry cleaning or a discount? Of course I don’t. I do demand that he acknowledge he was NOT going to fire that server.
I didn’t stand up for myself in any way, shape, or form throughout that entire evening. I cringe when I think of it now. I ate the price of the outfit, I ate the price of the dinner (because yes, I paid for everyone – only one working) and I did it with a goddamned smile on my face.
When we stood up from the table to leave, I didn’t get empathy from the other diners. Oh no, I got smack talk. “Oh ho ho did you buy the outfit that way?” “Pretty sexy redhead” (I’m brunette at that point). “Smile, honey, it’s your birthday”.
That unsettling feeling when I let someone walk all over me isn’t one that I enjoy. I fricking hate it. I may as well have embraced it that night. “Oh, yes, please, spill drinks on me, make fun of me, and make me pay for the privilege. Thank you!” *bright ass grin*
I never went back to a Red Lobster again. I never will, mostly because I consider the food crap and I’m allergic to their main item, but also because that was mortifying for me, for the server. I tend to hold grudges against inanimate objects.
I hope that server got the hell out of that job before it sucked away her soul, I really do.
I have other embarrassing stories I could share. Like when I decided to run for class Treasurer, forgot, and had to free-wheel a speech in front of my entire Freshman class. That was an epic fail. My third cousin won, and I’m glad.
Or when I didn’t know about deodorant and a girl in one of my classes gave me some as a secret Santa gift in front of everyone.
Or when the girl showed me the mug shot of my dad at 8th grade lunch …
Or when …
Screw it, you get the idea.
Point being, I chose the one that actually stuck with me. I hope you enjoyed it!