This evening while I was on the bus home, this lady tripped up the stairs, nearly taking out her front teeth (no blood, thankfully), eliciting a laugh from one not-so-subtle rider. I'll admit it, I felt a little conflicted about whether to laugh or cringe. I mean, she did look really ridiculous, bags splayed out up the steps, feet sticking out the door. But then I remembered the myriad embarassments I've suffered in public. I mean, who hasn't been splayed out on the bus steps (or other steps, or a sidewalk, or subway grate, or cobblestoned street) at least once in their life?
One of my worst happened last summer. I was wearing one of my favorite suits, a cute black and white polka dot skirt with a short swingy jacket. Eight in the morning is not my magic hour . . . in fact I'm not a morning person at all . . . so I wasn't really all there. I had been standing on the bus stop for at least ten minutes, engrossed in my Blackberry, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up confused. Anyone who knows bus stop etiquette knows you don't talk to (let alone touch) another rider. A young blond woman was looking at me a little embarassed. I raised my eyebrows, and she said, in accented English, "Uh, excuse me . . . uh, I think your . . . butt is out," and then pointed toward my rear.
I put my hand on my butt, and guess what, it was out. I had fastened and buttoned the skirt, but neglected to zip the zipper. To make matters worse, the jacket of my suit didn't cover anything. I was standing on the bus stop with easily 20 people lined up behind me bare-assed to the world. I mean, I did have on underwear, so I wasn't exactly bare-assed, but it really wasn't how I envisioned starting my day; mooning my fellow bus passengers.
My Russian friend stood behind me, feeling sheepish (I think). She whispered to me, "I just thought you would want to know." I did want to know. I also wanted to crawl into a hole and die. And I could hear the snickers coming from the line of rush hour travelers behind me.
I guess the next time I see someone take a tumble, leave their fly open, bump their head, or some other embarassing gaffe, I reserve the right to laugh. Don't worry, I won't be offended if, the next time I moon all of Adams Morgan, you laugh at me.