The sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious, and always fascinating blogger, cmhl, recently wrote a guest post for another blogger. cmhl bravely told a cringe-worthy story of a ski trip she once took, where she was embarrassed and humiliated in front of her then-fiance (now husband) and his oh-so-cool friends. It is a very funny story. Go here if you want to laugh WITH cmhl (scroll down to last Monday's post).You could probably even go there if you want to laugh AT cmhl. She's a pretty good sport, I can just tell (cmhl, am I right?!)
cmhl's tale reminded me of one of my more embarrassing blunders. I think I will share it with you. I will warn you in advance that there is nothing remotely as cool as skiing in this story.
All through high school, I played the violin in the school orchestra. Yes, I am a nerdy violin player. Our school orchestra was quite highly-regarded (as school orchestras go, that is!), and almost every year would win the all-schools title in our state-wide competition. So when, in my final high school year, I was made deputy leader of the orchestra, I was SO proud. I knew that I would be the one to lead the orchestra onstage for each performance (so that the leader could come on after the orchestra had seated, to her own round of applause). I would probably have a short solo here or there. I thought I was the bees knees and the ants pants.
One afternoon, our orchestra was performing in the city hall. I was excited. There would be a large audience. Two of my closest friends were watching. A boy who had just broken up with me would also be there. I had practised the music over & over, and knew it well. Now was my chance to shine.
I strode onto the stage, violin tucked neatly under my arm. I was also carrying an electronic tuner which our slightly tone-challenged conductor used to tune the orchestra. I circled around the back of the violin sections, making my way towards the front of the stage. It was dim light, and a large, plush curtain hung almost touching the chairs at the back of the violin section. Head held high, I stepped behind the last chair......felt my foot descend into nothing but air.... and landed in a small stairwell. CRASH! - my violin came down on its bridge, WHAM! the tuner hit the deck, and batteries rolled across the stage. OOOOOOH! inhaled the audience, in a rush of surprise and concern. I lay, half in the stairwell, half on the stage, for a moment, hearing the rumble of murmuring concert-goers. Why? Why do I always find a way to commit social suicide? I asked myself bleakly. A man climbed onstage and retrieved the batteries, handing them to me. I scrambled up awkwardly, pretending mild amusement. I wanted to run off and hide in a cupboard.
I had whacked my hip very hard in landing, but no way was I going to add to the drama by crying or limping. Making what I hoped was a 'rueful but unfazed' face, I continued to my chair and sat down. I played as usual, I smiled, I bowed with the orchestra at the end as though feeling perfectly fine. When I got home later, my hip was sporting a bruise the size of my hand.
After the orchestra's performance, I slunk into the audeince to watch other orchestras play. My friends greeted me with a muttered, "Are you OK?". There was something odd about the way their mouths were held - as if they were desperately trying to resist some uncontrollable movements. The second I affirmed I was, indeed, still physically intact, my friends bubbled over with muffled mirth...
"Oh my God, that was so funny!!! You should have seen yourself! You looked like you were trying to DIVE across the stage!"
They sputtered into silence as I looked at them in utter despondence. Kirsten tried to pacify me.
"Um, Michael didn't laugh. He seemed worried. We were with him when you - you know - fell. Down those stairs."
Great. He dumped me, and now he's witnessed me dump myself.
I rolled my eyes at my friends, but managed a small smile. I had to admit, I must have looked pretty funny - walking on with such proud, dignified bearing, then splatting onto the stage. Iris and Kirsten grinned back at me. Every so often Kirsten would start with muted laughter. Iris would shush her, and then we would all start to giggle again.
They say pride comes before a fall. I like to take these things literally.