This is the story of how I backed up over my dignity and lost face. This is one of my more embarrassing moments, of which I have scores. I seriously doubt the person(s) involved will ever read this, but they were there and already know what happened so all embarrassment has rolled off by this point.
A few years ago I had a hopelessly unrequited and hopelessly ill-informed (but that’s another whole blog all by itself) crush on a man. I had been trying for weeks to get his attention. We were friends but it was a tense and terse relationship from the start, fraught with misunderstanding, fights, and me generally making an ass of myself. I had heard around the water cooler that he had started seeing someone. It was pretty clear they were together but he had told me emphatically that they were not dating. Turns out that wasn’t true, but again that’s a story for another day; or a story put to rest with a shovel, a shotgun and a bottle of Jameson’s.
On this particular night I was going to a friend’s house for a get-together. Several mutual friends had RSVP’d saying they would be there. As my luck would prove, it was to be an excruciatingly awkward evening with only the host, hostess, the Man, and the girlfriend-who-didn’t-exist. The smart part of my brain said ‘Run away! Run away! This can only get worse.’ But nooooo, as I am a glutton for anything that is bumbling, stumbling, lumbering and fumbling, I decided to nut up and power through. Let’s be clear that I have a love affair with awkward situations, as long as I am not the cause or victim. Wait…I guess that means I love social spasticism (yup, new word) only at the expense of others which kind of makes me a jerk. Sorry, digression over. We all sat around the dining room table as the Man loudly praised the non-girlfriend for how awesome she was, “I mean seriously guys! Isn’t she the awesomest EVER?! RAWR!”
Blechh. I went to the backyard to cry quietly over my cigarettes, and not-so-gently scold myself, “Pull it together woman!”
When I came back in we had moved the “party” to the living-room where I would spend the next two hours trying not to see the hand-holding three feet away from me on the couch. Asking the host “Are you sure they’re not together? They look pretty together,” I was told “No, no, no. Definitely not together. He said no, so it’s no.” In all honesty, what they were or weren’t was none of my business but 1) I HATE being lied to, even over something stupid and 2) crushing hard on someone can drive any sanity out of the brain right through the ears.
After the movie was over the Man and not-girlfriend left pretty quickly. I stayed to chat hoping that I had left ample time to avoid needing to interact with them in the drive-way. As I walked out, I saw the Man and the girlfriend-who-never-was kissing in front of my car. Again, I could have saved face and gone back inside but nooooooo. I just cleared my throat and began walking to my Scion. The Man pushed not-girlfriend off of him, which actually makes me laugh now, cause damn…that must have been hard to explain later. As in any emergency (real or perceived – emphasis on perceived), fight or flight kicked in. Fight was insane, duh, so I had no choice but to flee. I’m telling you, it seemed perfectly rational at the time. In my haste, I threw the car into reverse. I heard a crunch. Not a really loud crunch, more like a gentle crunch. I looked in the rear-view and found I had backed over the host’s neighbor’s 30-gallon plastic planter. And of course it was filled with about 20 gallons of dirt and 15 lbs of plant.
“Well I can’t get out now dammit! I have to just keep going!” as I threw the car back into drive to complete the k-turn.
“SCRAAAAAAAPE!” halfway down the street.
“I know! I’ll just go faster in order to lose the mansion-sized planter which is now embedded under my car!”
Chirp-chirp from my cell phone alerted me to a new text, “Um…I think you may have something under your car?” From who else but the Man himself, who happened to be driving behind me.
I’d like to think I responded with grace and aplomb, but that would be so uncharacteristic. It was probably more likely me shouting at the rear-view “Oh you think? You think?! No crap Sherlock!!!!”
I went to bed that night feeling lied-to and stupid, and woke with that always hopeful feeling of that-can’t-have-really-happened. I received a phone call from the host later that morning saying “Our neighbors found their planter busted up at the end of the road and tire marks on the front lawn. Do you know what happened?”
“Um…yeah. I happened.”