Petersen: My embarrassing moment
May 4, 2018
Have you ever been deeply embarrassed because of something dumb that happened to you? I certainly have.
The latest mortification occurred just last week. Some things one cannot make up. One can only profess, confess and admit to what happened. This is an absolutely true unabridged story.
The weather was half rain, half snow. Wind made it seem colder than cold. My pickup needed fuel — badly. I'd been out of town and for the last several miles, I'd been driving on fumes. With a grateful sigh, I pulled into a gas station on the edge of town and parked at one of the pumps. I poked the buttons to select the gasoline, inserted the hose nozzle and stood there waiting as the pickup drank thirstily. The wind picked up increasing my discomfort. I was standing with my back to the driver's door, of course.
Did I mention that I was wearing my generously sized Carhartt chore coat? I replaced the nozzle to its slot and tried to turn. I couldn't. Woops. Apparently, I'd caught the tail of the chore coat in the pickup door when I'd slammed it behind me. I tugged. I pulled hard. I jerked. The door would not give up. It kept the coat material firmly in its craw.
Solution? Reach behind oneself to the door handle. Did I mention that my pickup is too big for me? The handle is high off the ground at about my shoulder level. I attempted to slither my hand behind my back and upward. I needed another two feet of arm length.
There I remained. The phrase "hung up to dry" crossed my mind, except I wasn't dry. The rain continued. I glanced around. Though there were six gas-pump bays at the station, I was the only customer at that time. Time passed. More time passed.
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By now you've figured out Plan B, i.e. wait for someone to show up and beg or bribe the person to take pity on me. Finally, a car pulled up to one of the pumps. The driver got out. I waved. She waved back and proceeded to the task of fueling her vehicle. Once done, she apparently paid via credit card because after some decisive moments, she got into her car and drove away. I watched her go, a certain amount of disappointment and longing in my gaze.
Wondering if I was fated to be written up in the news. Deceased woman found hanging from a pickup. Foul play under investigation.
Then to my cautious delight, another car appeared in the bay right across from me. A woman emerged from her vehicle and began fueling up. She glanced in my direction. I yelled, "Hi, could you give me a hand here?"
She said, "What?"
I replied, "Could you come over here?" She looked puzzled but approached.
"I'm hung up," I said and leaned forward till I was doing a Charlie Chan tilt. "My coat's caught," I moaned.
The woman — call her Sally — started smiling. The smile turned into a chuckle. But she did the Good Samaritan thing by releasing the door handle and freed me.
By now Sally's chuckle had shifted into a downright guffaw.
"Thanks a bunch," I said.
"Not a problem," said Sally, still chuckling as she walked away.
I repeat the question: Have you ever been deeply embarrassed because of something dumb that happened to you? I'm thinking of writing a memoir listing the numerous embarrassments I've experienced.
Mine alone could fill the book, but if you have any tales of shame and humiliation you'd care to own up to, I'd be happy to add an appendix.