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Embarrasing moments

July 1, 2012

We all have them. Those times when you realise you have just done something incredibly stupid. Usually accidentally. Even at my age  I still blush like crazy when I make a fool of myself. Not if I am doing it deliberately of course, for the laughs, but when I realise I have said something seriously  inappropriate or fallen over (as I am prone to do – see posts passim). That rising tide of humiliation sweeps over me.

And I relate for you here my most embarrasing moment of all time. It wasn’t when I was kneeling in front of a standing  patient to feel the hernia in his groin and I had to hold his erection out of the way. It wasn’t the time I discovered the guy I had spent the whole evening with and brought back to my room only had one arm and I hadn’t realised. Nor was it the time I told a really good friend that his girlfriend was completely wrong for him and he replied he’d married her the previous week.

No, it was summer in the 70s. I was wearing my floaty Laura Ashley dress, bare legs and long hair. I was walking around the southern edge of Russell Square from our flat near Great Ormond Street to the hospital on Gower Street and had just reached a small road that I would need to cross. An MG sports car turned off the square and in to the road in front of me . He stopped to let me cross. I gaily stepped out in the sunshine, smiling straight at him and lifting my hand in thanks.

Whereupon I fell down the open manhole directly in front of his car. Scraped all the skin of the front of one of my shins and saved myself from completely disappearing down in to the sewers by virtue of my waving arms being caught on the edges of the hole. The driver rushed out of his car.  I pulled myself  up at lightning speed and he asked me if I was alright. ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’ I chirped, absolutely mortified at what had happened. I rushed back on to the pavement. ‘Shall I take you to the hospital?’ he asked. ‘No, no, honestly I’m fine’. Red as a beetroot, I ran round the corner simply  on adrenaline. I looked down. My dress was soaked with blood. My shin was screaming and raw –  the peeled skin sitting in a concertina-ed lump on my knee. My underarms and ribs ached where they had caught the edge of the manhole. The blood poured from my leg. The pain was intense. A waiter from Pizza Hut came out and gave me a load of serviettes which I stuck on to my shin as if it were a shaving nick. The blood just kept on coming and the tissues couldn’t cope.

It did eventually stop of course and I wasn’t physically scarred, but that moment is etched on my memory forever. And it only occurred to me a couple of years ago that of course he wasn’t actually stopping for me to cross the road. He had stopped because there was a fucking great hole in the road. Which, in my usual non-observant way, I hadn’t even seen.

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6 Responses to “Embarrasing moments”

  1. Janet Says:

    Absolutely hilarious!! Reminded me of the time I fell over painfully smack on my face in front of three winos sitting on a bench; one rushed over to help me up and the other two almost pissed themselves laughing..the one helping me said ‘people are always tripping up on that hole, that’s why we sit here’…[ And I would love to hear the one armed story again ]

  2. PAUL Says:

    Sarah, I’m itching to know how the ‘one armed’ romantic encounter finished up. Priceless!

  3. Lorna Kyle Says:

    I am laughing so much I think a little bit of wee has come out and that was only after paragraph 2.


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