Faithful Listener, I embarrassed myself today.
Someone waved at me. I didn’t know them, but I waved back. It’s polite to return a cheery salutation. Then I realised they were waving at the person behind me, who did know them. I was embarrassed. I immediately pretended I was receiving an important phonecall, and proceeded to put my silent phone to my ear and talk into it. There was no one on the other end of the phone, Listener. No one. Just my own crippling indignity.
And the whole sorry incident led me to contemplate the little embarrassments with which we must contend in daily life. No one escapes them. Least of all me. I am constantly embarrassed.
My above example is an excellent one. Pretending to be on the phone. We’ve all done it. It gets us out of various disagreeable situations, in particular:
- A boring conversation. Someone’s talking at you. They’re boring you. You need an ingenious escape. You reach for your bag or pocket. You say ‘I’m so sorry, I just have to get this’. You walk away and have a conversation to no one for three minutes, hoping that by the time you get back to the boring person they’ve forgotten what they were telling you and will talk about something more interesting.
- Avoiding someone you don’t want to talk to. You see someone approaching whom you just know is either going to demand that money you’ve owed them for three years, or will ask you again to go out with their acne-riddled and rather maladroit brother. So it’s phone out, head down, and there ensues an extremely intense conversation to NO ONE along the lines of ‘Yes, I know they said they’d get it done by Tuesday, but Tuesday isn’t soon enough, I need it by Monday or the whole deal will fall through, and you know what that means’. Crisis averted.
However, these sudden-important-phonecall strategies will not pass without embarrassment. Your phone will ring as you have it desperately pressed to your ear whilst absorbed in fervid conversation. Why is your phone ringing as if someone is calling you whilst you’re having a conversation into it? Is it because there’s no one there and you’re actually just pretending to have an important conversation to avoid talking to someone? Yes. Yes it is. You socially awkward buffoon.
But Listener, these daily trifles can always be made more embarrassing. Observe.
Not long ago, I was walking. I saw my friend walking towards me. A friend whom I regularly call ‘Cockface’. As it was definitely my friend who was walking towards me, I waited until he was close enough to definitely hear me, and I called out, nice and loudly, ‘All right, Cockface’.
It wasn’t my friend. Not even a little bit.
What do you do, wise Listener, when you have yelled ‘All right Cockface’ in the face of an innocent bystander? Do you chuckle, apologise profusely, say ‘I’m so sorry, I was convinced you were my friend’, both have a bit of a laugh and continue on your journeys amused by this light-hearted yet harmless bungle? Or do you do what I did and whip your hand to your face, make that shape with you little finger and thumb that is the well-recognised international symbol for ‘phone’, and start talking into it?
No. No of course you don’t. Because then not only would you have called a stranger ‘Cockface’, but you would have made yourself appear mentally dangerous by having an intense conversation with your own hand.
But what about the other little embarrassments that plague our daily life? Anyone run for a bus, missed the bus by a millisecond, and turned your desperate sprint for transport into a casual afternoon jog? Of course you have. You probably do it every day. And what about that little accidental trip up a kerb? Turned that into a playful jog as well, did you? Thought you’d style it out and run a few steps like you were suddenly filled with the joys of life and just had to expend some energy? Of course you did.
And don’t forget the friendly toot from a car horn. You’re crossing the road. The car at the crossing toots at you. You cannot ignore that toot. It is the toot that says ‘The person who is driving this car recognises you as a chum and would like to register their greeting by utilising their automobile’s method of acknowledgement; furthermore, they demand a response’.
You give the windscreen a cursory glance. Your worst fears are immediately realised: all you can see in the windscreen is a reflection of the sky.
You have two choices:
1) You ignore the toot and walk on. When you are later faced with a chum who says ‘Hey, I beeped at you earlier and you completely ignored me’, you say ‘Oh, did I? God, I’m so sorry, I must have been in a world of my own’. Situation resolved. You win. Have a biscuit.
2) You throw caution to the wind and peer at the windscreen, squinting like there’s no tomorrow, knowing full well that the person in the car is thinking ‘Christ, she looks like a ruddy idiot squinting like that – she’s known me 20 years, can’t she see me? Why is she making that stupid face? Bloody hell, she looks like an absolute dick, I wish I’d never tooted in the first place. Jesus, this is embarrassing, maybe I should just run her over and make this whole situation less awkward for both of us. I could say I was overcome by a sneezing fit and accidentally put my foot down. Oh, this is horrible.’
It is a terrible, terrible situation. The only real way to escape it is simply to run away. Just leg it. Then deny you were ever on the scene. They can never prove it was you.
And I haven’t even mentioned bodies, Listener. Bodies. The very structures that comprise our existence are mortifying.
You nip to the toilets at work. You smile at Sandra from Accounts plucking her chin hairs in the mirror. You enter a cubicle. You sit down. A fart like a foghorn bellows forth into the aural receptors of everyone within a 60 foot radius, not least Sandra from Accounts whose hairy chin suddenly doesn’t seem quite so embarrassing. You can do nothing but curl up into a toilety ball.
The list goes on. The violent sneeze that releases a small but entirely audible parp from your lower regions, the unexpected burp that erupts in the middle of a supermarket aisle and offends a nearby elderly gentlemen, the thoroughly unannounced throat gurgle that growls like an angry tortoise in an otherwise silent office. Your body is your enemy on these occasions. It is a vile, shameless noise machine with the sole intention of causing you social angst and self-disgust.
Listener, these are the moments that make us the people we are today. Let us laugh at ourselves and the social gaffes that bedevil our existence. And if you find yourself faced with a moment of particularly acute mortification from which you believe you cannot recover, just do as Basil Fawlty does in such moments, and freak out.
66 thoughts on “Becky says things about … the little embarrassments of daily life”
Thanks for the laughs. Had an almost embarrassing moment just hours ago.
What was it???? TELL ME!!! We’re all friends here, a problem shared is a problem halved…. 😉
When you are talking about a colleague and they walk up as you are ruthlessly destroying their reputation. Instantly change the subject and say “hey, where did you get those taco chips?”
HAAAAAA I have SO been there! Or change the subject to ‘GOOD LORD, HASN’T THE WEATHER TURNED?’ and hope for the best. 🙂
“Gracious, is there a ship approaching?” Laughed my butt off at that one in particular for some reason. That you said maladroit makes me happy too, but now I have to go Google 50 pounds as I’ve no idea how much that is.
That’s the one that did it for me too, Don. The one about the ship approaching. I’m still mopping up the tears on my cheeks from laughing at that one.
I thoroughly enjoyed using ‘maladroit’ as well! Isn’t it lovely when some rarely-used words just pop into your brain?
Glad you laughed 🙂
You just made me cry laughing, plus I peed a little in my pants. Hilarious!
Yey! My goal in life is to make people pee in their pants, and I’m delighted I did it to you 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂
Dear Baby Satan, you’re funny. I avoid the faux cell phone call problem by keeping the ringer off. Mainly because I don’t want to talk to people anyway, so if they call, I don’t have to hear the phone ring.
My finest hour was when I was walking down the street and someone from behind me yelled, “HEY! STUPID!” And for some reason that eludes me to this very day, I turned around. The guy who yelled out saw me turn around, as did several other people on the street. They all either laughed outright or smiled mockingly at me. I’ve never prayed so hard for an asteroid strike as I did that day.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA ohhhhhhhh that’s made me laugh. Was he a sociology student conducting an experiment? Or just an asshole? Whatever he was, I would definitely have turned round as well. And then run away. Far, far away.
I think he was yelling to a friend of his. But when I turned around, his original intent was quickly forgotten, unfortunately, because he was too busy laughing at the dumbass who responded.
I’m dying here! I think I would have turned around…not because they were talking to me, but because I was interested in who the stupid person was in question.
Exactly! There might have been a particularly ridiculous-looking person in the street, and everyone wants to see that.
I’ve been talking to my husband and then I look over and I lost him a while back at the power tools and I’ve just been discussing something personal like say that our kid can’t poop with a complete stranger. Oh hiii, I thought you were my husband. Stranger backs away slowly.
And there’s always the fun talking smack about someone only to turn around and see that person. Especially if that person is, say, your boss.
Loved this! Ahhh…how dull life would be without these embarrassing moments. 🙂
Funny AND very true post! Good to be reminded that we all experienced awkward moments 😀
Yep. I defy any human being to claim they never experience them. It keeps the world going round 🙂
I love Basil Fawlty – and his Flowery Twats…
I’m perpetually on the verge of complete and utter humiliation ~
I remember smiling (with a mouth full of tea) at a boy I had a crush on in high school and tea drooled out btwn all my teeth and down my chin. I cannot help but think that he was impressed.
I read somewhere that dribbling tea down one’s chin is a sure-fire way to get boys to notice you. Oh wait… it might not have been tea…
Anyway, I’m glad you’re perpetually on the verge of humiliation, as I am, and I’m also delighted that you love Basil and his Flowery Twats, and I cannot BELIEVE they got away with that. 🙂
Well BBC seems less stringent than American TV (in those days).
Yes – I’m series of unfortunate laments.
“Whoa, yeah, I just LOVE life!” = at last twice a month. That one made me laugh aloud with self-recognition. Damn curbs. Damn anything that isn’t a perfectly flat surface.
HERE HERE. The world should be made up of perfectly flat surfaces. I don’t understand the need for inclines, declines or bumps in pavements. They are all simply traps for oafs like me to humiliate myself with.
Thanks for the great laugh, as always Becky!
Cheers mate 🙂
Hopping and skipping and saying “I just love life!” doesn’t work when in the next step you fall flat on your hands and knees!
I’ve never pretended to be on the phone though, and now, I never will either! Many laughs — thanks.
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I did a post in May about women not wanting to go to the bathroom in front of other women at work: http://indacampo.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/dissecting-the-news/
I have to give you props for still going pottie in front of your co workers because apparently people just don’t do “it” anymore at work. And with that I think I will also make the observation that the last comment I made here had something to do with bodily functions also. There seems to be a trend. 🙂
Okay, your post has just alerted me to the best thing I ever seen in my entire life. A SOUND PRINCESS????????? A PINK DEVICE THAT MAKES THE SOUND OF RUNNING WATER TO MASK LADY’S TOILET SOUNDS IN PUBLIC LAVATORIES???? That is INGENIOUS – apart from the fact that surely the sound of running water will just make it sound like you’re WEEING LIKE A HORSE????
Oh I am immediately sending this to everyone I know. This is utterly brilliant. AND IT IS SOLD OUT!!!!! PEOPLE ACTUALLY BOUGHT THEM!!!
I’m so happy. Thank you for making me so happy.
I hate to leave links to my own stuff on other peoples blogs but sometimes it’s just more expedient. Good to know that it’s the small things that make you happy. Flush on sista!
I have a confession to make: I was once responsible for waving at someone I knew and having a random stranger in front of them wave back. It was at the gym, and my dad’s best friend was on the treadmill. He gave me a little wave, and I waved back, and the woman on the treadmill in front of him waved back at me. I was as embarrassed as she was.
Also, I went to the dentist at the start of the month, and in mid-tooth examination, my stomach decided that it hadn’t been fed in a century and started making noises rather similar to a building collapsing during an earthquake. And I couldn’t even apologise for it because my mouth was full of dental tools and other people’s hands…
Hahahaha I forgot about the stomach rumble!! Mine used to do that ALL the time in university seminars. It used to answer questions on Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. Astonishing, really.
Thanks for reading 🙂
hey, great post, but I couldn’t really identify because I’ve yet to find myself in any of those situations 😉 ha ha ha. You are funny with how you spin your stories and make your points. Honestly, though, I don’t find myself embarrassed much as either I 1) am ignorant of whatever I’ve done or 2) really don’t care. Here’s a for instance (you said we were all friends here, right?): A few years ago when my youngest was a babe, I was in my swim suit, in a lake, holding her. A man not too far off gave me a big smile and I thought, “wow, I’ve still got it.” (which is funny in itself as even when I might have “had it,” I never really had it) Soon after that, I realized that the left side of my swimsuit top had shifted and I was flashing everyone within viewing distance. Arrrgh. I was moderately embarrassed and adjusted my suit (and felt suitably chagrined for having been so vain), but felt nowhere near the mortification the situation called for. Would like to see you put stick in that situation 😉 (he would play me, btw, not the smiling man)
looks like I’ve gone on long enough, so will not even bother to put food into my comment. Though there’s lots you could do with that, the spinach in your teeth only the beginning.
You do indeed rock, Miss Becky 🙂
Hahaha, how could I forget wardrobe malfunctions! Damn.
Just thank your lucky stars you don’t have an embarrassment switch. I spend far too much time being embarrassed and life is just too short.
Spinach in the teeth? Nightmare. Egg yolk on your shirt? Even worse. Chocolate on your cheek? Yep. I’ve had them all.
Thanks as always Liz 🙂
Hahaha! This kind of stuff happens to me ALL THE TIME. I’m so glad its not just me! And, if it makes you feel any better, while I didn’t call a stranger cockface, I did flip off and scream obscenities at a mentally ill homeless person because I mistook him for me friend. During rush hour. In front of a lot of commuters, including some of my co-workers. It was mortifying.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH I am REALLY enjoying reading all these comments about embarrassing anecdotes. You screamed obscenities at a mentally ill homeless person. That is brilliant. You must have felt like the worst person IN. THE. WORLD. right then. That is brilliant. 🙂
THE WORST. I ended up literally running away from the scene because I didn’t know what else to do. The full, completely mortifying story is here — http://stuntedadults.com/2013/03/13/never-acknowledge-your-co-workers-in-public/
The funniest thing I have read all week! THANK YOU. “…fart like a foghorn…” Make it stop, make it stop!
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
…. just wondering when we’ll get to hear these dictated by Becky herself in the “Becky Says Things – OUT LOUD!” audiobook.
Oooooooooooo now there’s a thought…. sadly Stickman can’t talk out loud so I’m not sure it would work….
This was just priceless. I have waved when waves weren’t meant for me; it is really one of the most embarrassing things ever. The tooting part is hilarious. Thankfully never happened to me. Though I have been stopped on the street by people who claimed to know me but absolutely do not ring any bells in my head. Utter humiliation for all parties involved.
Yeah I’ve had this. Loads of times. You have a five minute conversation with them along the lines of ‘So how’s it going?’ ‘Yeah, mustn’t grumble.’ ‘Still working at the er….’ ‘Yep, still there. You?’ ‘Yeah, still working.’ And all the time your brain is screaming I HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE.
This amused me very much. I laughed so hard that a bubble of snot leaked out of my nose and now I’m trying to surreptitiously wipe it off with my phone. Hopefully everyone will just think I’m making an important call.
Oh my goodness me, that’s embarrassing. If I saw you wiping your nose with your phone, I’d think you were making an important call using a very high-tech phone that picks up nasal waves and translates them into speech. Anything’s possible nowadays. You can get away with murder.
I needed a good giggle and i’m sat in a public place on my own laughing at my little phone screen. I’m that idiot.
Hilarious. I think I’ve done most of these at some point.
Glad I’m making you giggle in public, and even more glad that you’ve been in most of these scenarios! 🙂
OMG, these are so accurate it’s scary! I totally do the tripping one! And to think I felt so smug, “ha, no one noticed, slick…” I’d tell myself, although deep down I get an embarrassing cold streak….!
You are too freaking funny, I especially LOVE the stick man ( or men)… I totally LOLed at the stick men who changed the subject to the man with the 3 foot penis….. LOLOLOL!!
I think everyone does the tripping one! We are not alone, thank God!
So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for saying lovely things about Stickman, I’ll pass them on to him 🙂
I can’t image how daunting it must be to get out of bed every morning, and face the day being you.
You have no idea.
Seriously one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time! My reaction to the car horn thing is usually straight terror. To me, car horn from stranger = I must have violated some traffic rule and now the driver hates me and everything i stand for.
Hah, I know exactly what you mean! You get that sinking feeling KNOWING that you are about to embarrass yourself… or have already done so… either way, the car horn is never a good thing.
Thanks for reading 🙂
I am totally guilty of wearing clothes to work that have a stain on them and lying to my co-workers if they point it out by saying, “Oh my, when did that stain get there? Must be from my morning tea.” But one time a co-worker so kindly reminded me, “You said that to me the last time I pointed it out.” Zing! Quit pointing each other’s stains out peeps!
Hahaa, pointing out stains is the worst! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE – yes I KNOW I am unable to eat or drink anything without dropping part of it down myself but there is NO NEED for you to keep POINTING IT OUT!!! Swines. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Brilliant, I’ve been victim to some of these too. I also love how you react to these by either whipping out your phone or breaking into a jog.
I dropped some dirty underwear once on the way to the laundry. The girl from the coffee place chased me into the laundry to let me know. There was nothing I could do except own it.
Haha, I’ve done that! I dropped a rather fetching pair of Mickey Mouse knickers (yep, I’m 28) in a launderette and didn’t notice, and an elderly gentleman politely said to me ‘Are those yours dear?’
Needless to say I was rather embarrassed. They could at least have been pink and frilly.
Thank you for reading! 🙂
*nudge*, i gave you an award!
Did you?! Have I been incredibly rude and not responded to it? Please forgive me, despite doing this WordPress thing for over a year now, I still haven’t completely got the hang of it!
Thank you very much anyway! 🙂
:))) so funny
Thank you 🙂
“Cockface” is definitely the nickname I’m going to my friend’s unborn child as soon as he shoots out of her.
Hahahahaha that is definitely what you should do.
Kind of like, fell in love with your blog!! Thank you for the chuckle! I think most of us can relate to this, and that my fellow writer (I’ve only recently found my love for writing, so cant call myself a writer yet can I?) is why this is an outstanding piece of work!! Love it!
Bless you, thank you so much. Glad you’ve found a love for writing!