My Favorite Embarrassing
Fresh Ink 2006)
There is an interesting
phenomenon that takes place after distressing things happen. In the retelling
of them, they become funny rather than upsetting. You now have a story that will
make people laugh every time you tell it. Such an incident happened to me years
ago, and as you read about my moment of acute embarrassment, please feel free to laugh.
Back in the days when
women dressed in suits and high heels to go to work, my friend and I treated ourselves to lunch at an elegant restaurant close
to the office. My blue high-heeled shoes with straps around the ankles actually matched
my blue suit. I’m sure we gave the impression of very successful
career women—women in control of their destiny.
We enjoyed a delicious
meal (no wine) when we suddenly realized the time. We would be late getting back
to work if we didn’t leave immediately. The tables in the restaurant were
unusually close together with little space to navigate. Sandy left first, and
people watched her walk through the room, the epitome of lovely sophistication.
Soon, all eyes were focused
on me but unfortunately not for the same reason. When I took my first step forward—I
fell flat. Surprised and startled, I jumped to my feet—and fell straight
back down. A little slower this time, I pushed myself to a standing position—and
fell again! This time, totally confused, I stayed down. No one in the restaurant moved. No one rushed to my side. There was a sudden cessation of all conversation.
I was now definitely the center of attention.
It was then that my dear
friend said the words that make me laugh to this day. Sandy was looking
down at me, calmly, as if nothing unusual had happened. Finally, in an unruffled, quiet voice, she asked, “Libby, why do you keep falling down?”
To which, I responded,
meekly, “I don’t know.”
My very wise friend then
asked the pertinent question, “Is your foot asleep?” Reaching down,
I realized I couldn’t feel my leg below my knee. It was completely numb. Since I tend to cross my legs when sitting, I had obviously cut off the necessary
Relieved to understand
the problem, I quickly jumped up once more and with my head held high, gracefully hopped across the room on one high-heeled
shoe. After sitting on a chair in the lobby for a few minutes and rubbing circulation
back into my leg, I assured Sandy I was able to walk. Keeping a wary eye on me,
she followed me out of the restaurant to our car.
For a few weeks afterwards,
my friend always answered my request to go out to lunch with the question, “Do you promise not to fall down?”