This one happened not while in school but definitely during the preteen stage. Guys, this is embarrassing. A story I think of over and over again and feel heartbreakingly sorry for poor past Robin who had to experience this. So. You want to know?
Here it is.
I was on vacation in Dana Point, an adorable marina in Orange County, with my family. Walking around the water, counting the crabs on the rocks, eating hotdogs under umbrellas. Summertime fun in the sun for sure. And there was a boat show going on. Small boats, huge boats, all for our viewing pleasure. We’d hop onto the steps of the boats and wander around inside. I loved seeing the small rooms, how the beds were hidden away, and imaging myself living on the water.
On and off, back and forth, from land to sea we went. Until. I went to step back on the dock. And my foot slipped.
Into the water I went. Now, the marina was shallow enough, so there was no danger there. No physical danger, at least. The humiliating danger type, though? Oh, SO HUGE.
Hands went down and pulled me up. Parents fussed. Boat owners fussed. Strangers on the street fussed. My clothes, hair, body were all sopping wet. And I’m pretty sure I had an out of body experience, watching my poor drenched self shiver and pray to melt right into the sidewalk. (My brain might have short-circuited in the water too because I can’t remember speaking for minutes.)
The entire rest of the day, I was a walking advertisement of, “I fell into the water.” Everywhere we went, people asked what happened. Now, I’ve always been a person who hates embarrassment. Hates. It. Can’t seem to function when it happens for hours after. So, the fact that I was a preteen and obviously looking different than the others on the street made this a billion times worse.
But there was nothing I could do except wait for the sun to dry me off. The thing is, it eventually did.
And the thing is, it always eventually does. I didn’t die of humiliation, though I’m sure I thought I would. I managed to live through embarrassment, as awful as it was. Sooner or later, the humiliation dries. And you’re left with a glowing, warmth of a memory you can finally smile about.