dying of embarrassment, and living to tell about it

Posted: December 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s been a fun but crazy week, schedule-wise, what with taking care of all manner of holiday events.  Those of you who have read me for awhile are no doubt aware that I’m not exactly at the top of my game, first thing in the morning.  It’s getting worse with age; a few years ago, early morning just presented me with dilemmas like discovering I had unknowingly put my underwear on inside-out and backward, but these days it’s really all I can do to count 1 to 60, over and over as I do my morning run.  This brain takes some serious time in the morning to get up and running, so I stick to doing only very basic familiar things.


The combination of the earliness of the morning and the craziness of the week added up to one seriously tired Karen this morning.  I started the pot of coffee (stout enough to grow hair on your chest) before I even got into the shower, and proceeded to drink my huge Chicago cup (I think it hold either 2 or 3 cups of liquid) full with my morning prayers.  Then I followed my usual morning routines, and was only a couple of minutes late heading to work (not bad on a week full of late work nights.)


The building where I live and work is actually several buildings, all attached by walkways so that one never has to go outside.  I wandered across what I jokingly think of as our “skybridge,” still feeling fuzzy-brained despite all that coffee, despite breakfast, despite having read my morning devotionals and having written my morning grat list.  I could practically feel my brain doing the slow chug-chug-chug, trying to get up to working speed before I reached my office.


Along the way, I met one of the maintenance guys – maybe the nicest one of the whole lot.  We said hi and each asked how the other was as we passed each other.  When I said I was fine, he said, “Glad to hear it,” which isn’t a strange thing to say.  But there was…like…this strange feeling to the conversation.


Like something was wrong, but I had no idea what would be wrong.


So I kept walking.  About 20 steps later, I looked down.  That’s when I started dying a thousand deaths.


As is true almost every day in this chilly weather, I was wearing 3 layers of shirts.  (Don’t let me lose you here as I’m describing the layers – YOU WANT to get to the end of this story, trust me!)


The inner layer was a piece of “shapewear” called a Suddenly Skinny Tank…basically a modern-day corset.  I don’t wear one most days, but certain clothes make me look uhhhh lumpier or jiggly-er than I want to look, and on those days I whip this little sucker out.  It takes every bit of my strength to pull it on, but once it’s on, NOTHING MOVES.  It is made of 2 layers; the inside one is the same color as my skin, and the outside looks like black lace (don’t worry, that’s as dicey as this story gets…hang in there.)


The next layer was a sleeveless red v-neck sequined sweater (I was trying to look Christmas-y for an event I was working tonight.)  The final, outer layer was a sheer black blouse, which I wore unbuttoned.  (Now here’s the part where you find out why the heck you needed all that description….)


I had used the bathroom just before I left home.


Apparently I had flipped the sequined shirt up, completely off the belly area and over my chest.


Apparently I didn’t pull it back down afterward.


Apparently I didn’t notice any of these details as I sauntered all la de da down the skywalk.


So, while there was no actual nakedness showing, I had to look DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE – like…hey, is she having a mental breakdown? bizarre – when that very nice maintenance man ran into me.  An important detail here is that my pants were also red, like the sweater, so the black lace belly would have…uhhh…really stood out.  REALLY.


Noticing all of this in a moment of horror (happily, a moment of horror ALONE IN THE HALLWAY), I tugged the sweater down and proceeded to blush a million shades of red and erupt with totally horrified laughter for about the next hour on and off in my office.  I slid into the ladies’ room at one point and flipped the sweater up again, to see in the mirror what I had looked like when he met me, and again I died a thousand deaths.  EVEN WORSE THAN I IMAGINED.  You understand, that flesh-toned underlayer created uhhhhh AN IMPRESSION of a lot more revealed than actually was.


Even tonight, writing about it, I have that awful combination of sick-to-my-stomach and horrified laughter.  I’m pretty sure I’m blushing again, here in the safety of my bedroom.  OH.  MY.  GOSH!!!


So I share the story, to give you a giggle, and to rob the horror from this turn of events.  Keeping it a secret that only I and the very nice maintenance man (to whom I WILL NEVER speak of this event) know makes it feel icky.  Sharing my “I’m such an ass” moment with you, faithful readers, turns it into just another very human story, and we’ve ALL got at least one of those, right?


There’s your holiday giggle.


You’re welcome.


much love



  1. sometimes you make me laugh so hard that whatever I am drinking comes spurting out my nose!!! I so get what that embarrassment feels like and yet your capacity to “dress it” in wordsandfeelings made me remember how many times others have done such things to which I’ve been witness. in that moment I have wondered, oh what will he or she think when the realisation hits?! and Now I have this to remind me that we all are abundantly silly and spacey cases.

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