Do you find your self cringing at the memory of embarrassing faux pas from a long time ago? Are you haunted by blunders you’ve made that probably no one else remembers? I sure am! I find that I never really let go of these things, even if they are tiny little embarrassments, even if there was no harm done, every so often these memories resurface in my brain and make me cringe.
Like yesterday for example, a boy sitting opposite me on the tube was eating a Mars bar. Whenever I see a Mars bar I am reminded of a friend I had in high-school, Christie. She would take about an hour to eat a Mars bar; in fact she once said she couldn’t understand how people (aka, me) could eat them so fast. I have always been on the opposite end of the spectrum myself; even though in general I eat slowly, when it comes to candy I practically inhale it. So I was in awe of Christie for this talent of hers and even though I haven’t seen her in many years I still think of her when I see/eat a Mars bar.
Anyway, because this story has nothing to do with chocolate bars I will swiftly go on. Once Christie was in my thoughts yesterday morning, my bizarre brain moved on to another memory involving her.
It was afternoon, after school, I think sometime in May. Christie and I were working on some project together that year, I believe it was to get extra credit in history or something equally nerdy. I wanted to discuss something relating to this project so I called my friend.
She answered the house phone (back in those days there wasn’t any other kind), she probably said something like “Hello?”
I identified myself, probably said something like “Hey Christie, it’s Maria.”
Let’s pause this gripping conversation just for a second. You know how when you have called someone many many times you kind of know what their standard greeting is and how that first minute of the conversation will go? Yup, that’s what I thought I knew in this case too.
So when my friend replied with “Hello Maria!”, I went ahead and answered “I’m good thanks, and you?”.
“I’m good thanks, and you?”
Only after I had said that did I register the fact that she hadn’t used her usual line which was “Hello Maria, how are you?”. I don’t know why, but she hadn’t.
In the few, awful moments of silence that followed this I was so very embarrassed. I suspect it was barely a second or two but to me it felt much longer. Really what I should have done was laugh and just explain what I thought she said. But I was an awkward teen so instead, I didn’t and stayed quiet until she said “Oh I’m good too.” She was so nice, she didn’t even laugh. And then we just took it from there and never addressed that false start.
This objectively insignificant moment of slight embarrassment is still making me cringe when I remember it. And it happened more than a decade ago. I don’t think I’ll ever properly get over it.
I am since much more careful when I’m calling someone.