Friday 18 April 2008

Crimson faces in many shades

let me explain

I had an email from a friend who was telling me about an embarrassing sailing incident. It made me laugh. It got me thinking two things really. First, how I love open people who are willing to share their stories and laugh at themselves and second, just how many ridiculous things that have happened to me over the years that have left me wearing various shades of crimson.

These Embarrassing Moments have been selected out of a pile of many such moments (this strangely makes me happy when it clearly should do the opposite).

10. The Colour Purple - I was doing the makeup of a top politician who was about to appear on TV. He was sitting in the makeup chair sound asleep (or so I thought). I happened to mention quietly to someone else how I would love to paint a black eye on him because he needed all the public sympathy he could get given his unpopularity. He suddenly opened his eyes and said, "now, that is the best idea I have heard all day". He wasn't insulted but let's just say I learnt to keep my opinions to myself....for at least a week afterwards. However, I often wonder if I had given him that black eye, where he (or I, for that matter) would have ended up?

9. In the slips - I was getting a parcel delivered and I was standing there talking to the courier in the reception of an office. Suddenly, my petticoat just fell down around my ankles. I did not look down. I just stepped out of it and kept talking as if NOTHING had happened. He never said a word and eventually went on his way. Oh the humiliation.....

8. A way to get attention - I had to give a presentation at a seminar. I decided to try a new face mask the night before. Everything was fine when I put it on and took it off, BUT, when I woke up I looked like the elephant woman. I have never seen anything so scary in my life. I was allergic to something in the mask. The worst thing was I could not cancel the event at such late notice. I had to stand there in front of many curious expressions and looks of wonderment. It was humiliating, I have to say. But, that speech was one of the best I have ever done.

7. If I could only dance - I was demonstrating some new technology to a large number of people. We had done a lot of marketing, trumpeting the benefits of this equipment. Everyone was sitting there ready to see the magic .... and there was NOTHING. The fantastic, wonderful, brilliant piece of technology refused to do its stuff - leaving me with egg on my face and this mad wish that I could tap dance so that I could have at least given the audience some kind of show. Of course, as soon as they left it worked........beautifully. Never work with technology, children or animals.....they are the rules of life.

6. Red Hat Day - I had a job once whose title had the words Creativity & Innovation in it. Laugh, because you should. Anyway, in this job I had the pleasure of meeting Edward de Bono . He was truly fascinating and I learnt many wonderful things from reading his books and hearing him speak. He was, however, the sort of primadonna that only the famous can pull off. I happened to ask him whether he found it hard writing his books with a typewriter (rather than use a computer) given it was more difficult to make amendments as you were typing. He stared at me (glared, may be the correct term though) for what seemed like minutes. There was a deathly silence before he said quite abruptly. "I do not make mistakes". The End. Move on to the next question. Quickly.

5. Hands Off - I was in Rome's Fiumicino Airport going through security. Something about me must have triggered off alarms in the head of the female security officer. She decided to do a body search then and there in front of other passengers. No explanation. I was fully clothed but let's say her search was as close to assault as I have ever encountered. Everyone was staring and watching. Ohhh - I have avoided that airport since...

4. Down but not out - I had gone for a long, long walk in Manhatten and finally sat down in the gutter for a rest. Err, I must not have been quite aware of how 'good' I was looking after all the exercise because some kind soul walked past me and gave me some money. Don't worry I passed it on to someone more deserving than me at the next street corner and I have refrained from sitting in gutters since.

3. Oops, almost blew it - A friend's husband rang me up to invite me to a surprise party he was organising for her. Given other commitments, I wasn't able to make it. She rang me up a few weeks later and I asked her how the party went. "What party she said?" Oh dear...the party was on that weekend and I had assumed it was over already. I backtracked, sidetracked and fast tracked to get out of that one.... just by the skin of my teeth.

2. A Chain Reaction - I was in Stuttgart, Germany, with my daughter and my sister and her family. You know just out for a nice meal at a popular and tightly packed German restaurant. The restaurant was surrounded with candles and the atmosphere was lovely. The meal was great and we were really enjoying ourselves until.... I got up to visit the ladies room. By the time I came back there appeared to be a commotion going on at the table next to us. My whole family were standing up and they literally grabbed my arm and pulled me out the front door. It seems that when I got up to go to the ladies room, I knocked over a candle sitting on a ledge which then fell onto the handbag and coat of a woman sitting at the next table. No-one noticed until there were flames. She managed to rescue her things without too much damage but lets say it was a bit tense. I had no idea......absolutely no idea at all..

1. I hear you, I think - I was doing some community consultations on behalf of a government agency in different ethnic communities. I made a phone call to a community leader to arrange to come and talk to HIM about his views on a certain subject. All was fine. I arrived and met him in his office. EXCEPT it all went downhill quickly. He had made certain assumptions about my visit and from these incorrect assumptions he had made some grand plans. Involving me. He thought I was someone in the Government who had some kind of decision making power and influence. He asked me to follow him to another room which I assumed was a meeting room. WRONG. He led me into an auditorium with at least 1,000 people in it. He had a translator for me to use. A microphone and a stage. He introduced me as someone from the Government who was here to listen to the communities issues and complaints about ANY government service. I was mortified and had to explain that there had been a communication breakdown. Oh dear. It was THE most embarrassing moment of all time just because of the sheer number of people involved in the complete and utter mix up. Communication is such a difficult thing but language barriers can create all sorts of dramas if you are not careful...

Unfortunately when I think about it I have so many more of these stories. They often happen when travelling it seems and when I'm out of my comfort zone. There was the star struck moment in Abbey Road Studios, the time I lost a crate of champagne I was looking after when I turned my back for a few minutes and the time I lost my shoes, my balance and my dignity on a flying fox on the Isle of Capri...yes, I think I will need to repeat this exercise because these stories are even worse.

So, are you willing to share an embarrassing story with me? Just to make me feel better about myself of course.


  1. Thanks for sharing those embarressing moments. If nothing else, they made for an enjoyable read. I have a whole bunch of moments myself - I'll have to think about which ones to share.

  2. Well I have to say that I know I must have so many. I think my brain blocks out things so I can "pretend" they never happened! LOL!

    I will put my thinking cap on and get back to you. Better yet, I will just ask my husband and kids. I'm SURE they will remind me of a few. :))

  3. Very entertaining read, Lilly. You really have gotten into some predicaments haven't you? It's great that you can share them and laugh about it; shows the quality of person you are. Funny that you posted this when you did because just yesterday on my lunch hour I went to a bar-b-que restaurant and got one of their specialties - a huge baked potato piled high with everything, butter, sour cream, a mountain of cheese and even chopped bar-b-que brisquet with sauce. Weighed about ten pounds, it seemed. Well, I guess I got a little anxious and set my tray down on a rack that wasn't wide enough to support the tray (with ten pounds of spud on it) and, yup, the whole thing flipped right over onto the rug. Of course, cheese, meat, sauce and everything else flew all over (to the amusement of the patrons). And my friend was so helpful by announcing (loud enough for everyone to hear) "Matt, you're dangerous, I can't take you anywhere!" I felt about three feet tall.

  4. Erica - thanks for dropping by. I think the more we live the more things are inclined to happen that we least expect and that in itself is exciting. I dont mind laughing at myself - if I didnt I might cry...

  5. MacNellyFamily Adventures - thanks for dropping by. I know its best to block them out except mine are so stupid they even make me smile. And, I wonder where my daughter gets it will have to think of one to share with me...

  6. Matt - they were just the tame stories I could tell in public fortunately (or unfortunately). I guess I have had way worse things happen so sometimes these embarassing things are nothing in the scheme of things. I think its important not to take ourselves too seriously. Oh what a shame about your 10 lb potato - bet that curbed your appetite. Kind of thing all of us have done. Nothing worse than food going everywhere. Hope they gave you another one on the house and it was as good as you thought it would be. You will get your own back on your time..thanks for being brave enough to share....

  7. I will share one as soon as I think of one, but right now I'm too busy laughing. The candle in the handbag put me over the top!

    I have the "brain block" thing going on too.

  8. Troublex2 - no the candle incident wasnt real pretty but I had no idea what was going on. Oh dear.... thanks for dropping by..

  9. Lilly,
    your life seem familiar to me!
    You think a lot like I do on so many subjects. I have more than a few embarrassing moments. I am late for work but will share with you in the future....

    PS.. I can tap dance! (from 9th grade)

    Jules hheheheheeh

  10. i love your #1 moment. very kafkaesque...

  11. Jewels- thanks for dropping by - glad there is someone else out there like me. And you tap dance? Too funny!!

    Horatio Salt - if you mean it was marked by a 'surreal distortion and a sense of impending danger', then it certainly was one such moment. I run away a lot ...... I tell you one day I would like you to do a post on your site about the humble blogger don't need to use your creativity this stuff is kind of real life for some of us. I laugh...eventually.


Thanks for your comments.