Ok. So, maybe it is not THE most mortifying moment. Unfortunately, I have had quite a few of those in my lifetime. But this one definitely ranks pretty high up there on the scale of a “perfect picnic on a sunny day” to “holy crap, that just happened!”
I was reminded of this story while I was reading the relative cartographer’s delightfully descriptive post about his Forthcoming Pigeon-Plucking Business, a hilarious conversation he had with his neighbor before he woke up from the day’s morning grog. It reminded me of how much I truly enjoy those moments of pure reaction, when your brain doesn’t have time to censor itself and you end up with something awesome or awesomely awful.
(For the purposes of this story, my character will be played by random monkey faces.)
So, let’s rewind a few years. Ok, now a few years more to a time when dial-up Internet ruled the world. (Side note – Why are you supposed to capitalize Internet? It’s not a name like John or Sara. I digress.)
This was a time in my life when I was a struggling student with a startup web design business. As such, I was forced to share a smallish apartment with my two business partners. Being the only girl in a bachelor pad wasn’t too bad. Historically, I have always gotten along much easier with guys than with girls. So, it wasn’t too far out of my comfort zone. I had my own space and life was good. It didn’t hurt that it was within walking distance of the beach!
One early evening I went for a walk with one of my roommates. We returned about thirty minutes later.
Now, a little explanation to set the scene – our apartment was technically a duplex. One side had two stories. Our side was on the second floor above the two garages. So, when you entered our apartment, the first thing you had to do was walk up an entire set of stairs before you even came to the main living area.
So, we came home. We unlocked the door, came through the door, closed the door, locked the door, and walked up an entire set of stairs – laughing and talking the whole time. I was the first one up the stairs. As I topped the stairs, I turned to my left and I saw…well, let’s just be nice and say my other roommate was in a compromising position with himself and the computer in our living room.
My naïve eyes had not seen such things! This is certainly never how I wanted to picture my platonic friend and business partner! And in our shared common living space no less! There were so many questions (like where are your clothes, didn’t you hear us coming up the stairs, why the living room, why would you do this when you knew we would be home soon, why, why, and why), but my brain went into overload.
I fell to the ground and literally started rolling back and forth whilst screaming at the top of my lungs. The spectacle that I created was enough to quickly scare him back to his bedroom (where he should have been in the first place).
The roommate who came up the stairs with me was completely confused. Since he was behind me, from his perspective it just looked like I walked up the steps and fell down and started screaming. I couldn’t explain. I just kept rolling back and forth. At some point, I got up in a state of shock and just sat there for a while. Needless to say, there were quite a few awkward moments of silence in the days that followed that incident.
In retrospect, I find it very intriguing that in that moment I didn’t have time to filter myself. My brain could not censor what was about to happen. I just dropped to the floor and started screaming. It was a moment of pure reaction. Several guys have told me that I made the situation way worse by not adhering to the guy code and acting like nothing happened. But hey, I’m not a guy. When I see things that mortify me, I scream. At least I know how I will react in that type of situation if it ever happens again (please Lord no!). At least I have a comical story to tell.