Guitar riffs sizzle through car speakers as I sing. Bohemian Rhapsody has always brought out the high school headbanging rock star in me. As I reach the end, there’s a tap on the window.
I look up sheepishly.
“Um… Mom, meet Amy.”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Isn’t Your Face Red.”When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?
One thing about getting older is that you care less and less what other people think. As a result, embarrassing moments, the kind that turn your face red and make you want to hide in a closet happen less and less, and when they do happen you tend to take them with aplomb.
This has been the year of the fall for me.
The introduction was quiet. I was hiking with my family on an icy path to a beautiful waterfall. It’s a long hike, and we were not expecting the ice. We skirted it and had fun watching the dog slip and slide. On our way back to the car, the ice was melting, but I happened to catch myself on a slick patch and just went down. Of course my family turned around and laughed at me, because that’s the kind of family we are. I was almost all the way down, so I just laid my head down for a moment, laughing.
After getting the introductory fall out of the way,
I managed to stay upright for quite some time, just long enough to get comfortable with my vertical abilities. I was training for a half marathon in the spring, which means I run a few runs of 4-5 miles during the week and consecutively longer and longer runs on the weekend. I was due for an 8 miler, so I grabbed the dog, a pup of one year old and usually very compliant, to run with me. She needs the exercise as much as I did. We headed out. I almost had her trained to turn left when I said left and right when I said right. I could anticipate when she might cut in front of me and at those times I would hold her leash straight up to keep her straight. This time, however, was different. Somehow I tripped over her foot and landed in the road, hitting my head on the concrete just shy of the edge of the curb. I picked myself up and sat on the curb to call my husband to pick me up. A mild concussion and a bruised or broken rib convinced me not to run with the dog anymore. I’m not sure anyone noticed, and nobody came to my aid.
After that I was cautious walking anywhere that wasn’t completely flat. We would hike the trails in the mountains and I envisioned myself falling right and left. I mentally goaded myself to pick up my feet. I made mental notes to take yoga or practice balancing or something.
The grand finale (so far) of my year of falling took place during a family vacation in June. We were camping at a lake on San Juan Island and had decided to rent some boats and cruise one of three small lakes. My son got the kayak, my daughter and her friend the canoe, and my husband and I were stuck with a rickety rowboat. We tried to keep up with them to no avail, and eventually just creaked around the lake on our own, trying hard not to row in circles with the uneven paddles. When the hour was up, we headed back to the dock. There was nobody there to greet us, so we figured we would just disembark on our own. I was in the front of the boat, so I was going to be first.
When we pulled up to the dock, I grabbed the boat hook and started to get out of the boat. I had one foot on the dock when all of a sudden the boat slipped backwards and I tumbled onto the dock, skinning my knee and almost falling off the side into the water. My daughter and her friend, who were sunbathing after their canoe trip, jumped up to help me, but I pleaded for them to just let me die right there. (A bit dramatic, I know.) I laid there for a while before getting up again, partly to let the pain subside and partly in the hopes that any onlookers might have lost interest and wandered on. The pain went away and the abrasion healed, but the jokes and ribbing continue to this day.
Embarrassing moments are just that, moments, and they can become great family memories and stories. It’s all a matter of perspective.