Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Could Have Been On the News

I literally chuckled to myself at my desk when I read that today's prompt is to talk about an embarrassing moment. My life is the inverse of most people's; it's always embarrassing with occasional normal moments. Where to start? So I'm going to cheat a bit on this one. KLZ and I did a top-10-embarrassing-moments blog swap last year, so I am using one of them today. I've expounded on it a bit here, though.

• • • •

You know how you see news stories and think, "What an idiot? Who would do something so dumb?" This is one of those stories. 

After I graduated from college in December '97, a friend of mine got engaged. Her wedding was to be in Portland in February, and I had gotten a plane ticket to fly out the Wednesday before and spend a long weekend helping her with preparations and celebrating.

The Sunday before I was to leave town, I went to bed with a headache. Monday morning I woke up and had a full-blown head cold. But I was in serious denial. You can't fly with a sinus infection, people, you just can't. At least, not without wanting to die. So I did what any delusional person who had spent money she didn't have on a plane ticket she couldn't change. 

I took drugs. Lots of them. I tried one brand when I got up at 8am. It didn't put a dent in my symptoms by 10am, so a friend suggested a different cold medicine. I took it. Immediately. By 4pm, I was feeling worse instead of better, so I tried something else. After what felt like 800 hours instead of 8, the workday was over. I slogged out the door into the freezing cold.

You know how "friends don't let friends drive drunk?" Well, they shouldn't let you drive whacked out of your mind on cold medicine either. To make things worse, I had to stop to get gas. (I’m the kinda gal who waits until the light has been on for a few days before filling up. What can I say? I like to live on the edge.)

I pulled into a gas station near home. It was rush hour and the place also did oil changes, so it was crowded. It was killing me to wait my turn; I just wanted to go home so I could get warmed up and sleep. 

Finally, I pulled up to the pump, left the car running and started the gas pumping. I engaged the gadget that keeps it flowing, then got back in and closed my eyes for a little catnap in the warmth of my car. (This was before the days of exploding gas stations from static electricity/cell phone use.) After a few minutes, the tank was full again. I opened my groggy eyes, put the car in gear and pulled away.


Oh. My. GOD. I looked in my rearview mirror, expecting to see gas spewing out of the stand. Thankfully, they invented an auto-shut off for morons who forget to take the nozzle out of the tank.

Everyone at the station had stopped what they were doing and was staring in my direction, mouths agape. They knew they were witnessing something most people only hear about or see on AFV.

Dumbfounded, I got out of the car, gathered up the hose, thinking, "This isn’t really happening. How much does a new pump handle cost? A thousand dollars? Two? Ten?" As I was trying to figure out how I would pay for to replace it, I saw that I had parked on the hose. So I set down what I had gathered so far, got back in my car, drove forward 6 inches, then got back out to resume my humiliating clean-up. 

I hefted my load toward the convenience store, unsure what to say, when an employee met me halfway looking irritated. "I got it," he grumbled.

"I'm so sorry," I said, almost in tears.

He turned and walked away, and I slinked back to my car, spending the whole ride home in complete disbelief.
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