Monday, September 12, 2011
Did I Do That? Really?!
Have you ever automatically reacted badly or embarrassingly (is that a word?) to a situation that you didn’t have any control over? You discover that your natural instincts, and innocent reactions have taken over, and you don’t realize what you’ve done until it’s over, and there is nothing you can do to better the situation. It’s an awful feeling. All you can do is HOPE that no one saw you just do that. You can’t go back to that person to explain, because it would only make the situation worse. Well, unfortunately I’ve had a few of those embarrassing moments. Here are a few examples:
It’s one thing to have it happen in a public place with people you don’t know, but when it happens at work, it never goes away, no it just lingers. No one really talks about it—not to your face anyway. You are left NEVER knowing if “so and so” saw you do that, or heard you say that…. Sure, they will talk about it behind your back, perhaps in the break room with low voices and silent chuckles, but you’ll probably never hear about it. You are left to wonder, and ponder if you were caught acting badly.
In one incident, I walked into the women’s bathroom and almost caused a scene. In front of the mirror, washing their hands, I saw a tall figure. I immediately was taken aback. My natural instincts told me that I may have been in the wrong bathroom! Was that a man at the sink? From where I was standing, all I knew was it was a tall person, wearing manly loafers, very short hair, and wearing a long sleeve button down shirt, and low rise slacks. I felt myself stop in my tracks, and jump back a little, my eyes transfixed on the figure, until she came up to look in the mirror to fix her hair. I have no idea if she had seen my look of horror, and bewilderment or relief when she saw my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a deer caught in the headlights; I was in shock. Eventually, all I knew was I had to stop looking, and proceed to my stall as quickly as possibly, and try to avoid any further eye contact... I sat there on the toilet feeling really awful afterwards. What if I had said something horrible, questioning whether or not she was a man? Oh how embarrassing that would have been. Oh my God… I couldn’t even finish “my business” after that.
In another bathroom work place incident, I went into a stall to try and do my business, yet again, when I noticed heavy breathing coming out from the stall next door. It took all the strength I had not to knock on the stall wall and ask if the person next to me was “okay”. This person was heaving, and gasping for breath. I did not know that the person next to me was one of my superiors, who happened to be a larger woman. How was I to know that she always “heaved” and “gasped” when she was “doing her business?” I swear, I thought this woman was going to die in there. I thought it was a client, or another person working in the building. If I had said something, I don’t think it would have gone very well. Thank God I didn’t say anything. It would have been awful. I wouldn’t have been able to look at that woman in the face again.
For a number of years, I worked in a fairly small office, mostly with women. As the secretary, in this office, I became friends with all my co-workers, and having worked with them for a number of years, I grew to know them very well. I had met their boyfriends, children, friends, etc., family stories, and I was invited to a lot of the family/friend events. It was a very casual, and comfortable, close knit working environment. So, in comes a call for my friend Vickie. Her boyfriend, whom she had been living with for years, is on the phone and asks to speak with her. What do I say loudly across the busy, client waiting room? I call out:
“Vickie, your LOVER is on the phone!”
I’m so glad my friend Vickie has a sense of humor.
I’m getting better, but now and then I still squirm at the work place. I’ve caught myself assuming that people in the lobby are clients, when in fact they are judges or cops working undercover, and I accidentally told a person, who I thought was a janitor about some of my life history, when, later, I found out he was really a client, who happened to be a registered sex offender… I could go on and on, but there is one person in particular in the work place that makes me squirm each time I see him. He may have noticed, and I’m hoping he hasn’t, but I’m pretty sure he has seen me react badly at times when I see him. I’m afraid he has seen some weird looks from me—looks like I’ve just seen a ghost or something. He may think I’m really strange. I can’t help it, but from behind, this guy looks just like my ex-husband! So, sometimes, when I’m caught off guard, and forget he is around, I’ll suddenly see him walking towards me, and I cringe, and my heart stops a little, and I squirm, and sometimes I’ll make a face, like “someone just hit me in the stomach face.” Poor guy has no idea, and it’s embarrassing, but it just happens, and I can’t control it. I guess it’s okay if he thinks I’m odd, but I just hope he doesn’t think I find him attractive like the majority of the women in the building. He seems to have an ego, like someone “else” I used to know, which doesn’t help. I hope he doesn’t think: “Oh that Julie is gushing over me again…like, everyone else..” Squirm.
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