A moment of madness


It happened again. (Number five). But I don’t know why I’m surprised.


Someone recently asked me “what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?” What I recalled then – and what I still recall now – are things that have been done to me. By me. Let me explain…

The first time I was on a date. Actually, it had just finished. But I guess you could say I was still on it as I hadn’t left him yet. My phone let me know an angry taxi driver was waiting for me downstairs. And I lay on his hallway floor until this nagging reminder finally faded to nothing. When I stopped seeing stars I got up and, needless to say, that was the last and only time his hallway and I exchanged pleasantries.

Number five makes this weakness official. The season of goodwill, I decided to “save a life” and give blood. Ten minutes in and a senior nurse was gently stroking my arm, J clothing my forehead and repeating “this isn’t for you”. She was right. But it didn’t change the fact I’d lost half a pint of blood for nothing.

The second time Kate Winslett was to blame. Possibly Leo too, if you take the performance as a whole into consideration. Which I guess you really should, given its award-worthy reception. (Golden Globe in case you were wondering…). Thanks to the last bloody bloody scene in Revolutionary Road I just about made it down the tiny cinema stairs before I – rather embarrassingly – collapsed into a popcorn covered carpet. To make things worse, I soon had my own audience as a packed cinema emptied out. Including, my less-than understanding friend.

It had happened to him also, before. But I guess it’s hard to remember when you’re not in the moment. That almost comedic, physical failing of (have you guessed it yet?) yup: fainting.

Number four seems the most explainable. Not in how it happened, but why. Unable to open a bottle of soy sauce, what seemed the best solution was to take the sharpest knife I had. And. begin. sawing. The rest is, a rather bloody, history. Living in Paris at the time, it was then I realised I had no idea what 999 for France was. I still don’t.

(It seems 999 in France is 112*) *This book has absolutely nothing to do with the topic. It's just cute. And slightly (stereotypically) French.

(It seems 999 in France is 112*)
*This book has absolutely nothing to do with emergencies. Or probably France. It’s just cute. If a little/lot offensive.

And, not forgotten but the most obscure of the five, the third happened sitting down. Which seemed odd and reminiscent of old black and white films. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Alison was the culprit. A prescribed read that now seems funny given the health implications it – eight or nine chapters in – had on me.

39 days and roughly 8 hours since the last time, it’s hard to know when it will happen again.

But I know it will. And until then all I can hope is that I am able to consciously embarrass myself more so than I am subconsciously capable of doing.

And I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, do you?


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