Recently I’ve been crying a lot. This is probably because I’m a girl. And hormonal. And tired. And irritable, forgetful and prone to feeling guilty about all the things I should be doing but haven’t the energy to do. I cry when something goes wrong at work, or someone asks how I’m feeling, or I make a mess of things. Which I do a lot lately, because I’m tired, irritable and forgetful. It’s embarrassing.
Last week, I totally forgot about an important meeting at work, accidentally submitted my guest post on Black Box Warnings on the wrong day, cut the bread all wobbly and discovered a hole in my Alice in Wonderland shirt that I was wearing around all day. Every one of these things made me cry.
So of course, I turned to Brad. I buried my face in his chest and wailed incoherently about all the embarrassing things I keep doing while I drenched him in tears. And he very lovingly patted my head and told me, “It’s okay” and “Please don’t cry on me, my love” and “Besides, you’ve done way more embarrassing things than that before.”
Because he’s very encouraging like that.
But also, he’s right. I really have done worse things. Forgetting meetings, being tech-silly, going about with a hole in your clothes – those things could happen to anyone. It takes a certain kind of clumsy genius to do something truly embarrassing. And maybe the most humiliating moment in recent memory happened when I was returning to work after lunch one day.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the area, Pyrmont is an old, beautiful part of Sydney where the streets are cut directly into the original bedrock, terrace houses perch precariously on the edge of sandstone walls, and uneven, narrow staircases wind between streets that lie whole storeys above their nearest neighbours. On this particular day, I was walking down one of these steep, rocky stairways. I am, if I may say so myself, quite a stylish person. I enjoy brocade coats, corset lacing, satin slips – you get the point. I was dressed for spring in a flouncy knee-length skirt with a satin ribbon at the hip, and, of course, a pair of four-inch, two-toned heels. And suddenly a gust of wind whooshed up the stairs, lifting my gorgeous skirt up right over my head. I shoved at the layers of fabric, Marilyn Monroe-style, pushing the folds down in a desperate attempt to restore my dignity, and hide my underwear.
Of course, the smartest thing to do might have been to stop where I was. But I didn’t. Because I’m just not that cool in a crisis. In my blinded panic, I continued my walk down the stairs. Or … tried to. But unable to see the steps ahead of me, I twisted one beautiful heel on the uneven rock, turning my ankle sideways and falling the rest of the way down the staircase, to land in an inelegant heap.
And – of course, because these things happen to me in extremes – there was actually someone right behind me to witness my humiliation.
Someone who I work with.
She helped me up and made sympathetic (and alarmed) noises and tried not to laugh (especially when I nonchalantly told her that I’m very good at walking in high heels).
And I pretended like it hadn’t happened, or maybe like I’d done it on purpose because Marilyn is cool, you know? and lied about my sprained ankle and then did the best I could to avoid her for the rest of my life, even though after that she moved to a desk on my level and always went out of her way to say hello to me each day. She recently left our workplace to go overseas and I have never been more relieved to see someone leave.
If ever there was a good reason to cry about something stupid you did, that might have been the time. I think I laughed, though. And that’s what I need right now – someone to make me laugh and cure these wretched tears. So that’s where you come in: tell me something hysterically humiliating that you did, and make me feel better about my bread that wasn’t cut straight. Please?