Monday, November 1, 2010

Embarrassment Is Relative

Okay, for those of you that don’t know me, I want to let it be known that I am legally blind. This is a catch all phrase developed at some point in time before I gave a darn that encompasses all states of blindness between “What is that over there?” to “HOLY COW, I really can’t see shit!”. The only reason I am writing out this incredibly informational and scientific explanation is to set the mood, dress the stage so to speak, for this entry.

I do a lot of things that would be terribly embarrassing to a well sighted person. For instance, if I had a dollar for every time I walked into the wrong genders bathroom I could buy at least two really, really good steak dinners. It has happened so often that now I just pretend that urinals belong in the ladies restroom. I have fallen both up and down numerous flights of stairs either assuming they were a ramp (blind folks hate monochromatic color schemes) or, by the same token, assuming a ramp was instead a flight of stairs. You can liken it to picking up something you thought was heavy and finding out it weighed next to nothing; we have all done that, only I tend to do it with a huge audience who gets to see my panties in the process. I have looked under my desk at work for something I dropped and realized I was wearing two different colored shoes. I have walked into glass walls, windows and doorways and dropped back soundly on my hind end while the noise of large sheets of safety glass rattling reverberates through the room calling attention to my flustered state.

I have dashed out through the rain and hopped in a car I was sure was mine, turned to grab my seat belt while leaning in to kiss my hubby and realized a totally terrified stranger is looking at me wondering what kind of nut I am and how can they defend themselves against me.  I have mistaken total strangers for people I know and love with all my heart. One time, trying to get my brood motivated about helping me get ready for a party, cajoling, coaxing, begging, bribing, even threatening, I had come to my wits end. Coming around the corner I saw my son, stretched out in the chair in front of the TV while everyone stepped over or around him. Being the totally awesome parent that I am I yelled “Get your ass out of that chair and help dammit!” Jumping as if he had been shot out of a cannon, the little boy who lived next door leapt up and said “yes Ma’am” while my kids absolutely fell out on the floor laughing so hard they cried. Whooping and hollering at the poor befuddled kid, mocking me with great glee while I tried to explain the situation to him. To top it all off, Greg is black, and my son is not. They still tell that story at family get togethers…..

The good thing about being embarrassed regularly and spectacularly is that nothing phases me.  I react with hoots of laughter to situations that would leave the normal person a mere puddle of shame on the spot. When my daughter was 5 she had a best friend called Maurice. He was an adorable little boy, sweet round cheeks and bone straight bowl cut. He was very very shy. Quiet as a church mouse and afraid of his own shadow.

We had been working for months on bringing him out of his shell. My daughter had just started kindergarten, uit was all half days then, and was due on the bus any minute. The few short weeks she had been enrolled had shown me just how much Maurice loved her. Every day he would be knocking on the front door at the same time she was coming in the back. I choose to blame what followed on post natal fatigue. My son was six weeks old and colic was his middle name. I am normally a sane person and would never ever do this to anyone but it seemed like a fine, funny idea at the time. When I heard the kindergarten bus pull into the neighborhood, I dropped to my knees and crawled stealthily across the floor to the front door. Bracing myself, I screwed my face into a horrible grimace, stifling laughter the whole time. Right on cue I heard the back door open and a gentle knock on the front. I leaned back, yanked the door open and yelled—BWAHAHAHAH- AS LOUD AS I COULD. Instead of a startled and adorable Maurice I realized I was howling at an insurance salesman’s crotch. I should have been mortified, I should have jumped up and begged his forgiveness, tried to explain, thrown myself on his mercy while choking on humility.

Alas and alack, nothing embarrasses me anymore. Instead of doing any of the things any sane person would have done, I burst out laughing, and pointing. The man, God bless him, turned twelve shades of red and walked away. He never came to my door again.