Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rachael Forgets

I'm mortified that I'm not more mortified.

I think it has something to do with my terrible memory, and that in and of itself is embarrassing. It's not like I don't do embarrassing things, because I do. I walk around with spinach in my teeth. I trip off curbs. I knock people over in the grocery store. I say things that are completely, horribly, soul-churningly mortifying.

I know I do mortifying things because I know the FEELING behind the action. I know I've had it, hundreds of times. I can picture my own face in the rear view mirror of my car, as I glance at myself.

I've just done something. I'm horrified. How could I have just done what I did?

It was awful!


I'm so embarrassed, I just want to die!

I can't ever think about it. Not once. Not ever again. I have to put this out of my mind, push it right out. I won't ever think of this again.

And then, apparently, I don't.

Somehow, somewhere, I learned the talent for forgetting how stupid I really am (believe me, I'm aware how valuable this talent is). And I don't think it's a good trait in a writer -- I want to be able to mine that material! What am I missing by burying my emotions this way? Augh! Such a rich, deep field I'm missing out on, because I'm so good at hiding things from myself!

(I blush a little less this way, I suppose, which is a blessing, since I'm usually red as a beet.)

But when I think back to being a kid, I can think of a million of 'em, and even though none of them really matter, only one truly mortifying moment really sticks out.

I was at some kid's day camp, and I was about nine or so. I think we were acting. I have no idea why. We were supposed to follow this adult around the stage. He was a big fellow, and seemed old to me, although he couldn't have been more than thirty. He was wide, broad-shouldered, with a beer-belly and a beard. He said, "Come on," and gestured to me to start things off. For some reason, the way he gestured to me reminded me of the way my dad moved when he was willing to give me a piggy-back ride, so I hopped on board, even though I was years too old to do so. I thought it was part of the acting exercise. Maybe we would all get piggy-back rides! Yippee!

But no. The guy gave a shriek to find a nine-year old girl stuck to his back like a limpet, and screamed, "No TOUCHING!" After shaking me loose, he showed us how to follow what he was doing on stage as if we were conga-ing. I remained in the conga line, but I only knew one thing: I wanted to die. Death would have been better than remaining alive after jumping on the back of a man who shrieked like that in front the kids who then looked at me like I could make THEM holler the same way if I touched them.

Shudder. Such a minor thing. Yet when I think of being mortified, that's the feeling I get. I just don't get it very often.

*However, this was slightly embarrassing, I have to admit. Ahem. Sorry, Clara.


Sophie Littlefield said...

i think that purposely forgetting mortifying moments is a sign of maturity actually - a gift we give ourselves, something to treasure! It's like saying "hey self, that was no big deal" and then learning to mean it. Well done and I'll try to do the same.

Kate White said...

When I was about 6 I was at the neighborhood pool and thought I saw my dad across the pool. The man was balding like my dad and wearing a shirt like my dad's. So I thought, I'll run up and jump on his back.

It wasn't my dad. I know (almost) exactly how you feel. My dad thought it was hilarious, I was mortified.