We all have our embarrassing moments.
When I was in sixth grade I got a scholarship to go to a marine biology camp (*smarty pants*). My science teacher decided to give me a special award at the end-of-year assembly to make me feel distinguished. And I felt so. fucking. distinguished. Everyone hated me anyway because they thought I was gay (how silly of them) and insulted me daily, hourly, minutely, whenever they could. I decided to rub my MASSIVE scholarship check in their faces by prancing oh so proudly across the stage, only to trip on a speaker cord and fall flat on my face. I'm sure you can imagine the chaos of laughter that ensued. I may have cried. For three days.
In truth, those embarrassing moments of our childhoods matter just as much as the idiots who laughed at us in school - NIL! It's the embarrassing moments of our adulthood that teach us lessons, change our ways of thinking, and forever reverberate in our personal zeitgeists. One such moment happened to me the other day.
Last week I was on my way to a PR meeting in SoHo. [I know, it sounds fancy, but it really wasn't. It was casual, fun, and I learned a lot. It was, though, the first real business meeting of my life, granted to me by doing well at a real job and getting my real ideas heard by really important people. It was a good day.] Obviously I was sporting my best/only black blazer, a black and white blouse, skinny black jeans, and my favorite black boots (tranny business casual FTW). I felt good, and I looked good (or so I thought).
A tiny bit of relevant backstory: I had gotten my hair trimmed the night before, for the first time since October 2010. Did you just cringe? I'll allow it, because my lack of hair maintenance is pretty appalling. The shampoo they used to clean my hair in the salon RAVAGED my sensitive, flake-prone scalp, the evidence of which would only make itself apparent the next day.
I was early to the meeting (win), so I sat on a bench across the street for a few minutes to eat some almonds (i.e. to appear skinny) and take in the first 70 degree day of the year. All was peaceful and sunny and perfect, when a homeless woman popped her head over the back of the bench and asked, "25 cents for coffee, sweetie?"
Because I'm a nice person, was startled, and couldn't really avoid her since I was stationary, I began to rummage in my bag for some change. It was taking quite a while because I don't actually carry cash very often, thus, I hardly ever have change. Two minutes into this awkward-ass situation it got even more awkward.
"Honey," the homeless woman said, "You need to clean off the back of your jacket. There's dandruff on it. Lot's of dandruff. Look!"
She proceeded to brush off entire hand-fulls of dead scalp off my shoulder, collecting into piles reminiscent of snow drifts three-feet deep in all directions.
"Oh..." I said, "...um. I'm sorry... err... yeah... sorry!"
My gardian angel finally threw me a bone and dropped two dimes in my bag.
"Thank you, honey. Don't forget to clean up." she said, as her hair, in the form of one massive, repugnant, leaf-filled deadlock swayed back and forth with her limpy step.
Yes, I apologized to a homeless woman for having a flaky scalp. I had no idea what else to say.
I may have had an out-of-body moment after that. It's moments like these that are the most embarrassing moments of all embarrassing moments, because it makes you realize, no matter how prideful you are, that you have shame. It's people who we look down on, who we think we're better than, who always bring us back down to Earth. Earth being a bench on Broadway in SoHo, surrounded by piles of dandruff, with a homeless woman behind you shouting "So THIS is where all of this winter's snow has been!"
Absolutely, positively, undoubtedly abashed.
Needless to say I put my hair in a quick, sophisticated pony and took my black jacket off during the meeting. No snowing on my parade, bitch.
My scalp has since recovered, and my shoulders no longer look like Himalayan peaks. Be happy for me, and feel free to relish in the hitherto most embarrassing situation of my adult life.