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That Awkward Moment When...

By Belinda

The current meme, "that awkward moment when," is a great device for those universally hilarious moments we can relate to.

It has set me thinking about some of my own "awkward moments" and laughing out loud as I do.

One tradition in our Christmas party gatherings is reading a funny story out loud as a group. Even though we know the story well, (Dave Cooks the Turkey, by Stuart MacLean is a favourite, and you can listen to it here,) we laugh at them over and over again.

So tonight I am retelling one of my funny "awkward moment" stories.

I was on my way back to the office from a morning meeting; a trip that went right past a Jones of New York store at lunch time. What could I do?

The lure of the January sale was strong, so I pulled into the large parking lot of the strip mall, deep in melting slushy snow left over from the morning's snow fall. I parked my car as close as I could to the store, and splooshed my way across the parking lot with all speed.

I can power shop with the best, and less than half an hour later, having tried on about ten tops, I emerged with a zippy little black and white top that I liked, for only $14.99!

I fished in my purse for the automatic car starter, pointed it in the direction in which I had left my car and pressed the buttons that start the car and unlock the doors. Then I started the hunt for a car with a running engine. I spotted it. The engine wasn't running but the doors were unlocked. I need to buy new batteries because the starter doesn't always work first time.

As I got in, I noticed that the hand brake was on. I never use the handbrake, so I had a strange feeling that someone had been in the car. My snow brush was still down on the floor on the passenger side, but I glanced around the car quickly to make sure my briefcase was there.

As I released the handbrake I simultaneously noticed three things: the gloves on the back seat were blue, and mine are black; I realized that this was a standard shift car and mine is not; and I perceived that the car had been left in neutral, because it was rolling forward into the lane between the rows of parked cars! As the realization dawned that I was in someone else's car, I desperately hit the brakes to stop it going any further.

The car  stopped halfway across the lane that ran between the rows of parked cars. I had no way of getting it back to its original position and absolutely no way of knowing where the owner of the car was.

I didn't know what else to do, so I sheepishly put the handbrake back on, got out, carefully closed the door, and went back to innocently looking for my own car as though I had nothing to do with the car that had been moved from its parking spot. I imagined how puzzled the owner would be when he came back and found that his car had moved forward by several feet. I was so embarrassed that I didn't think until later that I could have left a note on the windshield.

The owner of the vehicle that was parked across from it decided to leave just then. I noticed that they had great difficulty backing out through the tiny space now available.

So that was mine--that awkward moment when I realized that the car I had just got into and moved; was someone else's. I'd love to hear yours.


Anonymous said…
Belinda - I've had so many deeply awkward moments that it will be hard to choose. Some still bring the sting with the memory.

My father use to own a McDonald's store. Before anyone thinks that was exciting for me, the ownership happened way past my childhood desire for chicken McNuggets.

I found out that George Cohon, one of the big wigs of McDonalds, had written a book "To Russia With Fries", further he was having a book signing in a large bookstore I frequented. Dad had met Cohon a couple of times over the years. I had the grand idea that I would go to the signing and have Mr. Cohon sign the book for Dad for a Father's Day gift.

Although I didn't make any effort to dress up, in fact just pulled on my pants from the day before and put on an nice crisp blouse, I did want to make a positive impression on such an influencial man in my father's world.

I made arrangements to leave for lunch early and drove to the mall. I dashed throught the rain and into the bookstore.

Boy - they had really pulled out all the stops. A table with books was laid out - but there also was a small band from the local highschool playing. There was a lineup of people and also workers from the nearby foodcourt McDonald's wandering around giving out bits and pieces of food fare.

I waiting my time in line - which actually was kept back from the table and was uncomfortably close to the band's brass section with over enthusiastic young men. Not sure if it was for security or effect, but you had to approach Mr. Cohan's table by about 12 steps.

I had my book in hand and was rehearsing in my head what I wanted to say. Finally it was my turn.

On my very first step I felt something funny on my right foot. Oh no, had my shoelace come undone?
Second step - what is wrong? I'm trying to make eye contact George as I continued my approach. Third step - gotta look down. Fourth step - stopped dead.

Dead would have been better at the very moment for hanging out of my black pantleg and splayed over my black shoe was bright red underwear. Red as Rudolph's nose.

I only ever owned one pair of red underwear for I often wore uniforms, and you don't wear anything but neutral under those puppies. But here they were, my one and only pair on my shoe on display in the store.

And notice I said underwear, not panties. No, these were not dainty little underthings - they were industrial strength underwear belonging to a larger than life woman. And these bright monstrosities were flailing around at the end of my leg.

I honestly didn't know what to do for a moment. Do I keep walking and hope no one notices? Do I scoop them up? I felt the room was awaiting my decision. For sure Mr. Cohon was awaiting my arrival. It was one of those "time stands still" moments - the band may have even stopped playing!!!

I decided to scoop and walk on. Of course trying to stuff the red riot into my pocket was not an easy task. By the time I stumbled forward, my face was as red as the underwear peeking out from my pocket.

I mumbled something about my Dad, McDonalds, signing the book - it was all a blur. Oh yes - Mr. Cohon remembered my dad. Apparently Dad had made an impression on him. No doubt I did too.

I thanked him and headed straight out to the car where I had a two minute hysterical laugh tinged with shivers of embarrassment before heading back to work.

The underwear was stuck in the leg of the pants obviously, but of course did not dislodge upon putting them on; walking to the car; walking into work; walking around the clinic all morning; during a washroom break; walking to the car; walking into the bookstore; walking around the store and paying for the book. No the little sucker dislodged and dismounted on the first step toward Mr. Cohon.

Oh - fast forward to Father's Day. Dad loved the story way more than the book. You see, someone already had given him a free copy of the book. Awkward!
Belinda said…
Ha ha! Oh, Anonymous, I have the biggest smile to start my day at the hilarious mental image you painted of your awkward moment. THANK you for sharing with us all here, such a funny story. I loved it and will be laughing all day at the bloomers on the run!
Belinda said…
Anonymous, I posted this blog post on FB as well, and a friend posted a response to you! Here it is:

Hilarious! I also loved the story about the signing of the book, I can only imagine! One of our daughters, anonymous, was wearing pull up stockings under her beautiful grad dress. When it was her turn to come forward to receive her diploma, her stocking had a will of its own! While walking up the podium one of her stockings went into the opposite direction, needless to say this was a very embarrassing moment. Being very slim has also "downfalls!" Ingrid de Jong-Lucacevich
Anonymous said…
Thank you to both of you for sharing my one of my awkward moments. My heart goes out to Ingrid's daughter. Yikes! The only good thing about such moments is that down the road a bit they become the "remember when..." moments. Thank the Lord for a sense of humor!!
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