I’m surely not the only person who has been asked the question: ‘what has been your most embarassing moment?’ I never have an answer to this question. Not because I’ve not embarassed myself. But because I embarass myself all the time. And, thankfully, forget about it soon afterwards.
Even as I sit here trying to conjure up a memory of an embarassing moment, I am drawing a blank. I will say my habit of mumbling/speaking quietly has saved me from many awkward moments – like calling people by the wrong name, or saying stupid things in response to others’ questions. I’ve found it’s best to have people say ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said’ than to know what you said, sometimes. I do recall being at a publicity event for Sir Elton John where I was standing around eating hors d’oeuvres. As often happens to me, something edible flew off my tiny plate and landed smack on the floor. At which point one of the uber wealthy would-be donors stepped in it with his shoes that probably cost more than my car. And gave such a look of disgust that I briefly contemplated running out of the room.
But I hadn’t yet finished all the snacks on my plate.
Fast forward to this weekend. In order to help out a friend and my own pocketbook simultaneously, I signed up for a few hours of working as catering staff. Also, I thought it might be nice to utter the phrase ‘I’m going to work’ for the first time in 11 months.
Bear in mind I’m 32 weeks pregnant; perhaps not the most conventional look for a member of a catering team. But my friend was desperate and I was willing, so I donned black pants and a black shirt, put on my apron and tried to look five months pregnant instead of eight.
Now I’m not particularly – at all – experienced in the art of serving at catered events, but I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve seen people carry trays of drinks and food; offering them to guests. Fairly straightforward. Though I’ll say from my now limited experience the ACT of carrying around a small black tray laden with drinks or food is rather nerve-wracking. Especially given my history of clumsiness with food at fancy events.
As people began to arrive, I grabbed my first tray of champagne, took a breath and headed out the door, clutching the rubber tray firmly with both hands. Having successfully unloaded four flutes of bubbly, I breathed a sigh of relief and headed back inside to get more.
Grabbed tray. Breathed. Walked outside.
I didn’t want to walk through the crowd – it seemed like there would be a higher likelihood of someone bumping into me and causing disaster – so I decided to take the long way. Which involved walking around the curvature of the patio to where people were gathered. Safely out of harm’s way, I thought. Perhaps I’d gotten distracted by the gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains, because the next thing I knew, I realized the patio was not, as I had assumed, flat. There was a STEP down and I was about to miss it, judging from the way my right foot was stepping onto air instead of solid surface.
I concentrated on landing in an upright position, because either way drinks were going to be spilled and flutes would be broken. My only hope was to save myself. As I nailed my landing like Mary Lou Retton, the tray teetered and champagne glasses tipped. Two fell off the tray, crashing onto the stone patio, as champagne spilled all over me. Fortunately the host was kind enough, and my friend assured me it happened to everyone at least once. I felt like I had a scarlet K (klutz) on my uniform as I ran inside to get a towel and a dustpan, avoiding eye contact with anyone.
I’m hoping my amnesia kicks in soon.
It hasn’t yet.