Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Supercilious in Seattle

When I was 21, I went to a vocational school for a year- a student in the secretarial program.  I had dropped out of college, and it seemed that the best route to employment and independence was to learn some basic office skills.  I was also pretty immature at the time.  College had turned out to be little more than one big party for me, and I hadn’t grown up much in the short time between leaving college and starting my course at my new school.  I cringe now at the memory of myself back then.  I put on tons of makeup, and wore heels so high that I’m surprised I could even walk.  Yes-- I thought I was pretty hot.

Every day  my friends and I would have to walk past the auto shop classrooms on our way to lunch.  And every day the guys in the auto shop program would just happen to be hanging around in the hall when we walked by.  Even though we protested the cat calls and comments, we loved it.  There was one guy-I’ll call him Mike-and Mike would corner me every day and say “When are you going to go out with me?”  And every day I’d say no.  Now I could tell that Mike was really nice.  He acted wolfish like his friends when they were in a group-but alone he seemed to be really sweet.  The thing about Mike  though—his face was horribly disfigured.  I’d heard rumors about exploding firecrackers, or birth defects—but the fact remained that he looked as he looked, and in the shallowness of my youth I was embarrassed to be seen with him.  In spite of this-I found myself agreeing to a date.  I guess I figured he was never going to stop asking, and I felt sorry for him.

On the appointed Saturday night he picked me up and we headed first to a movie.  I mentally took stock of the situation.  The walk to his car from my front door: safe.  No one was likely to be around.  The car ride: safe.  Not much chance of any one really seeing him as we sped towards the theater.  If we were lucky-we could make it quickly into the theater without too much notice, and once the movie stated: safe. We would be concealed by the darkness.  It was the dinner part of the evening I dreaded.  There would be plenty of people around…and plenty of stares, and pointing, and whispering…

If Mike was trying to impress me-he did a good job.  We were to dine that night at the top of the Space Needle!  I  should have been really excited.  I tried to enjoy my dinner as best I could, but all the while I was self conscious because of  the spectacle I assumed we were making, and I just wanted to go home.  I excused myself to make a trip to the restroom before the hour drive ahead of us.  And I forgot one small detail of the Space Needle’s restaurant—that the tables—arranged in a circular configuration  are elevated one step up from the rest of the floor where the aisles are located. Instead of stepping down-I stepped into the air and came down hard on my wobbly high heels.  Losing my balance I lurched for our table to keep myself upright, and came perilously close to pulling it over.  Luckily, Mike had quick reflexes and prevented total disaster from happening.

I didn’t appreciate the irony at the time.  I was so thoroughly humiliated that the rest of the evening was pretty much a blur of downcast eyes  (mine) and forced conversation.  But now I can see that  no one probably noticed us much at all that night-- until that fateful moment-and that I drew more attention to us  than  Mike and his precious face did.  To his credit-I think he had a good time.  He’d planned a nice evening, and was a perfect gentleman.

And thank goodness he never saw where the real ugliness was—the worst possible kind of ugliness-- in my heart.

This was written based on the Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompt to describe a time when I fell.
Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Man... I think you fell in more ways then one. What courage it took to write that though. As kids we can be so cruel... and hopefully... just hopefully... we grow out of it. And Thankfully... you did. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I think I got what I deserved! I'm glad for the lessons I've learned in my youth so that hopefully I'm a better person now.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  3. Great story! Did you go out with him again?

  4. Thanks Sheri! I never did go out with him again, but I hope he eventually met someone nice and lived happily ever after!