Sometimes I give too much information about myself. Incriminating information. Embarrassing information. Information I wish I could retract. This post may be one of those times.
But I’m also one who celebrates humor and is not afraid to make fun of myself. So that’s why I’m telling you this story. I was about to write a post about the movie Anna and the King when I realized I needed to plug in my laptop. I bent down to plug the cord into the nearby outlet. When I stood up, I saw a person who had been crouching down, too, and was obviously standing up to look into the window. I jumped backwards and gasped at the exact same time the person outside jumped backwards and gasped. It was not until I stumbled backwards onto a laundry basket that I realized that someone was me.
Now in all fairness to myself, I KNOW I am not the only person that has received a near-heart-attack at the sight of my own relfection. In fact, I was with a friend when she came up from the basement at another friend’s home. As she opened the door from the basement, she almost hit someone with the door at which time she politely said, “Oh, excuse me,” before seeing that the someone was herself in the full-length mirror at the top of the steps.
Several years ago, my husband and I went to a restaurant in San Fransico with my parents. While my parents waited for the table, my husband and I took a walk on a nearby beach. When we came back to check on the table, we saw my parents making their way to the back of the restaurant. As we watched them, we noticed that they were walking a little too closely to a mirror. Both of them jumped back at the same time, thinking they were about to run into other people – but like my friend above, they were only about to run into themselves. Needless to say, my husband and I did not follow them to the back of the restaurant for a good, long time.
As if getting scared by your own reflection isn’t bad enough, there’s also the cell phone saga. Once when my friend called me on her phone, she didn’t hear anything at first so she said, “Hello,” to which I said, “Hello.” Then she giggled because I sounded so much like her. When I (apparently) giggled back, she said, “Are you making fun of me,” and I replied, “Are you making fun of me.” Only it wasn’t me. It was her own echo. It took her a couple more sentences to figure out she was really talking to herself. When she called to tell me, she knew I would understand because it’s something I would do, too. Or so she says. Whatever.
Scaring myself by my own relfection is almost as embarrassing as seeing someone I think I know. This happens so much more than I would like to admit. Last week at the State Fair. I looked over and saw an old high school friend, Ann, sitting on the bench. “Ann?! Hi!”
Since I had just put my son on a nearby ride, I sat down next to her on the bench.
“Do I know you?”
“Yes,” I laughed. “Lynn House… well, Morton was my maiden name.” Man, does she have a bad memory, I thought. I mean, we weren’t best friends but we were certainly friends. “It’s been a while,” I said, trying to make her feel better about being so forgetful.
“Uh, I’m Anna,” she said.
“Oh, you don’t go by Ann anymore. That’s what Chrissy DeMars did. She’s now Chris,” I explained. “That’s cool. I even know two people named Jill that totally changed their names. One is now Elise and the other is Ingrid, so Ann to Anna is not that crazy.”
“I’m sorry. Where did you go to high school?” Now she was starting to freak me out. Yes, it’s been a long time since high school, and I have a steel trap memory but seriously, this was getting embarrassing.
“North Central,” I said, trying not to show my discomfort.
“Um, I went to high school in South Bend.”
“Oh. So you’re not Ann Richardson?”
“No,” she said. I could tell she felt sorry for me now. Had I really just told her about the two Jills?
“I’m so sorry. You look exactly like a girl in high school named Ann,” I said, and as if that weren’t enough, I added: “Well, I’m embarrassed now. Gosh, I’m glad my husband is not with me because he would be mortified right now. He hates when I do things like this.” Oh great. I just told her I’ve done this more than this one pathetic time.
Anna looked at me with sympathetic eyes and said something about the ride being finished. I told her it was nice meeting her, even though it really wasn’t because I felt like an idiot now, and I walked to the exit sign of the ride to meet my son. It took me all of five seconds to greet him and turn around to the bench where Anna was… or had been. I figured she was looking for the police to report a crazed woman who sees people who aren’t really who she thinks they are.
Which leads me to one more embarrassing moment. So, you know when you say to a person, or even a group of people, “Do you ever….” and you finish the sentence with something you are sure someone will be able to relate to? Then when they can relate, you have formed this bond with them because they are like you in some sort of quirky way. Wellllll, I happened to be at a Bible study, and I started with that very phrase, “Do you ever…” and I finished it with this: “see someone you know, and then realize the person you thought you saw is really dead?” I waited for someone to chime in with the enthusiastic, “Yes! I did that just yesterday.” Or, “Oh my gosh, I ALWAYS do that.” But it never came. What did come was this question: “Are you saying you see dead people?” Ha ha ha. Laughter erupted. I laughed just to save face.
“No. Not like that,” I explained. “For instance, yesterday I went to get ice cream, and I thought I saw one of my old neighbors. I was about to say, ‘Hi, John. How are you?’ when I remembered John died last year.” Again, nothing. Blank stares. I was left with no one relating to my craziness and getting dubbed as the girl who sees dead people.
Those are only a few of the instances when I wish I could rewind and take back my words. But before I go, let me offer you one more scenario to save you from the same embarrassment. If you go to a wedding in Ohio, and everyone is chatting about their favorite childhood show, don’t sing the theme song to a show that was only broadcast locally. Not only is singing the theme song overkill, but when no one can relate to your stupid theme song, it will quiet a table as fast as you can say “Cowboy Bob.”