Sometimes in life the only redemption for things that occur is the hope that it can bring someone else joy in laughter and gratitude that it did not happen to them. The Universe has thrown quite a few my way, I will share a couple to jumpstart a series I call, “Poignantly pathetic moments.” This is my life, and I must embrace it all.
One of my high school’s requirements for graduation was the completion of a personal finance class. In lieu of taking the class, the school offered a test. What the heck, my 14-year-old freshman self thought, I’ve been babysitting for years and managing that money, this will be easy. Fancying myself fairly savvy, I didn’t bother buying the book and studying.
Upon sitting in a silent room of mostly upperclassmen and a handful of freshman, I realized I was grossly unprepared. It turns out that managing a checking account did not mean I understood any of the vernacular or concepts of personal finance. Growing hot in the realization that the only escape plan meant walking to the front of the room with my belongings, turning in the test and leaving. Freshman year of high school is not kind to the self-esteem of young women. Add to that my natural awkwardness and some recently gained adolescent weight. So naturally, while walking through the quiet concentration of the room, I tripped. Not just a stumble and clumsy recovery, but an all-out, flat-on-the-ground big loud thud of a fall. “No one knows who you are,” I consoled myself. “People don’t remember these things,” I thought. Luckily I’m just a nobody faceless freshman.
Then four years later, my acquaintance Jared says to me, “You know what I remember from freshman year …”
What’s so funny?
The winter before I met the guy who would become my husband, my dating modus operandi centered on meeting men on the chairlift at Mt. Hood Meadows. One such dude, and he definitely was a dude, we’ll call Will Michaels. I should have known the tall lanky bro-brah who dressed better than me wouldn’t work out.
After a few months of dating exclusively, things began to get lukewarm. On top of a ski slope I dumped myself for him (I had practiced a speech, “I don’t ask for much from the guys I date, but I do request that if you aren’t interested in me anymore that you tell me.” Visually relieved, Will said, “Well, I do really like you still.” Wild-eyed and louder than I meant to, I replied, “That’s GREAT! Then we can be FRIENDS.”) All I wanted was to go ski the sting of romantic rejection away, but Will insisted on doing a few runs with me.
Finally, we went our ways and I found myself on a chairlift between two men. Uncontrollably my eyes welled up as I wallowed in self-pity, then, dear God please no, a soft little sob. The man to my right misinterpreted my sounds, and asked, “What’s so funny?” Protected by my goggles, helmet and gear, I whimpered, “Nothing.” After a couple more muffled sounds from me, he said, “Okay, you gotta’ tell me, what’s so funny?” To which the guy on my left says, “Dude, I think she might be crying, not laughing.” Then I bleated out, “Nothing.” Silence ensued and we three strangers shared a very awkward lift ride.