Friday 21 March 2008

Embarassing Moments

There is one thing you can count on your family for and that's to remind you of all those embarrassing moments in your life that somehow you would prefer to forget. My daughter came home last night for the Easter holidays and we stayed up late, talking.

She told me that she was telling her flat mate about my experiences of living in Los Angeles many years ago and that her flat mate had laughed so hard she had almost caused herself an injury. "That's nice, I said through gritted teeth, "glad I can make someone happy".

Surely there must be many other wonderful things she could have been telling her flat mate about me. Surely. I mean I know I've had interesting life experiences but...... some things are best left in the family vault. Right?

I told my daughter that she should stop living vicariously through my embarrassing moments and start creating a few more of her own. However, that's not going to happen because one, she is incredibly more sensible and astute than me and two, she is like the rest of us and would prefer to laugh at someone else's misadventures than share her own. I have thought about suing her but she's a lawyer so I don't hold much joy there either.

I am quite an open person so I don't really mind. However, some of my embarrassing moments I will never tell just because of their high humiliation factor. On the other hand, there were a couple of 'tame tales' that we were laughing about last night and that I can easily just put down to the inexperience of youth (I was young for a long, long time).

I lived in Los Angeles for some time after doing a theatrical makeup course. I had been there about three weeks and got up early one morning to walk along Hollywood Boulevard. I came to some traffic lights and, as there was no traffic, I just started walking across the road. All of a sudden I heard this voice over a loud speaker saying, "Lady, you are walking a red light."

I looked up and thought 'my moment' had come. I thought I had walked into the middle of a Hollywood movie (OK, those were the days I still had stars in my eyes and blinkers on obviously). I ran my fingers through my hair, adjusted my clothes, put on my best smile and just kept walking. When I got to the other side of the road, a car turned around and two men got out. Um, the only problem was that they weren't big shot movie producers but rather two heavily armed police officers.

In Australia, jay walking is not even such a big deal but it seemed in LA things were a little different. I seemingly had committed a big no no and the fact I kept walking across the road after they had yelled at me over the airwaves just made them angrier. I could hardly tell them I thought I was about to be 'discovered' could I? I really thought it must be a joke but I could see that Starsky and Hutch were deadly serious as they were talking about Traffic School and breaking the law.

The truth is, I have been known to mislead police officers (just twice in my life to anyone who is tut tutting out there) and this proved to be my first real attempt. I put on my best Britney Spears Miss Innocence voice (before she had even discovered it) and told them that I had just arrived from Australia and I had never seen one of those traffic light things ever in my life. I have to say their attitude did a 360 degrees turn. Suddenly I was seen as some poor hick from the colonies where kangaroos hopped down the streets and pedestrians played chicken with the oncoming traffic. They went to great lengths to show me how traffic lights worked and I went to great pains to keep a straight face. I then walked on, just a bit concerned as to how people could be lying on the streets, where drugs were being openly trafficked and yet somehow dodging traffic lights was a seemingly bigger issue. I did learn my lesson though and no matter where I have been in the world I have never even so much as jay walked ever again. I have found it far easier just to stuck to the really big crimes (I jest, I jest...).

This was only one of many stories I have of my time in LA. I think I will leave the one about how a travel agent I had just met, offered to take me to the Griffith Observatory to 'see the view'. Oh OK, I will just give you a snippet of the story - it kind of went something like this...... He made the offer of a tour of LA and I said, "sure, that would be great". How hospitable the locals were, I thought. Half way up to the Observatory, it suddenly occurred to me, in the pitch black dead of night, that I was with a perfect stranger and that perhaps this was not such a good idea. What came out of my mouth next, even embarrasses me.

I said, "Um, excuse me, you're not a murderer by any chance are you?" I am not sure what I expected him to reply, perhaps something like, "Oh sorry, I should have told you when I met you what I did for a hobby. Here let me give you my card, Murder By Design" or, "Why thank you for asking, I was just wondering, are you afraid of heights?" or " Was it the gun on the back seat that gave me away?"

I won't tell you what he did say but one day I might tell you the whole story....... let's just say that I am sure that guy has never forgotten the experience either....

Am I the only one with humiliating stories to tell and children who are willing to share them to everyone and anyone?


  1. Your walk in the dark reminded me of a time when I found myself in a very similar situation. I didn't ask if he was a murderer, though I did begin to plan my escape routes and look for weapons... just in case. :)

  2. I so have to hear about your story though - it will make me feel better about my stupidity!


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