Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Classical Gas

I have a statement to make and a question to ask. My statement, I love getting gas! And by that I mean filling up the car with such fuel, not tummy gas which is horrid and no fun for anyone. To me getting gas spells freedom. Getting gas means I can drive. I’ve only had my license for 3 years and perhaps this is why driving for me is still an exercise in excitement. I can go anywhere, anytime without having to depend on anyone. It is a beautiful feeling of independence matched only by thrill of paying my bills on time.

My question, why is spilling stuff on yourself so embarrassing? I can only assume that in most cases the spilling was not intentional, yet doing so usually brings on red faced stammering at a rapid pace.

Yesterday while spelling freedom at the pumps, I spilled freedom all over myself. I’m not even sure exactly how it happened. One second I heard the “click” noise from the pump announcing that it was all done and the next second I heard a “blorp” noise from the tank as it burped up about a cup of noxious fuel on my shirt and shorts. (I was wearing one of my favoured black T-shirts and of course, my favourite pair of shorts. Sigh…)

I managed to stifle the swearing to a dull roar (my daughter was in the car) and instead of heading out to the mall as soon as I’d filled up, we made a trip back home so I could relieve myself of the smelly garments that showcased to the world that I LOOKED as though I’d relieved myself.

Now, the independent gas slopping experience was not exactly embarrassing per say. It didn’t happen in crowd, it didn’t happen in front a boy I really liked and it didn’t happen without the ability to change quickly into new cloths. It did however, bring back memories of a time when as embarrassing as the situation already was, I wish I really had spilled stuff all over my pants instead of what really happened.

Years ago, when I was but a youngin’ at David Cameron Elementary school, I had a very intense crush on a boy in my class who shall remain, as to not drag him down with me, JP. That year in school, he sat behind me. We chatted a lot, he let me borrow his cool pen that had an eraser that looked like tooth brush bristles and a couple times, JP even let me borrow his jacket. (These were clues that I wrote down in my diary as to why I truly believed he “liked” me.) Above all else, he made me laugh a lot.

At my elementary school, we ate in our classrooms as we didn’t have a cafeteria. One lunch time near the end of the year, after most of the kids had quickly eaten and left to go play as it was a nice day and they wanted to get outside as soon humanly possible, myself, JP and a girl we’ll call AB were the only 3 left in the classroom along with the teacher on lunch duty whom for some reason, was relaxing in our teacher’s chair. (Perhaps we were the only 3 kids left upstairs. Up until this moment I’ve never thought to really wonder why she was sitting there. Usually the teacher on duty popped in, made sure you weren’t dueling with various forms of food or school supplies and left.) I was sitting in my desk, JP was sitting behind me in his desk and AB was standing beside me drinking a Pepsi. I didn’t have a lot of cola back in the day and asked AB if I could have a sip of her Pepsi, an ill fated request on my behalf.(…cue doom music…) At the moment I took a large gulp from the can, JP chose to say something uproarious (who knows what…he said it so even if it was only a tiny bit funny, all things said by a boy you have a crush on are 100 times funnier then when someone you don’t like says them.) and I spit ALL of the Pepsi out of my mouth onto his desk. He jumped back before it ran down his desk and onto his lap, before it dropped a wet spot on his front that would mark him as someone who’d soiled themselves, as I broke into a fit of hysterical laughter brought on by JP’s wit and by what I’d just done. Unfortunately, my loud guffaws were not the only thing that signaled how funny I thought the whole situation was. While AB, JP and even the teacher on duty continued to laugh, my giggles quickly died out as I tried desperately to stop…well…you can guess what I had done can’t you? Yes, I had peed my pants. PEED my pants in front of JP! I was needless to say, horrified. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what to do. It gets foggy here, but I think the teacher ran and got some paper towel and as the desk was mopped up I came up with my brilliant plan. I was wearing dark jeans and I guess assumed the stain wouldn’t be too obvious unless someone looked closely, but I knew I could not get way with wearing the pants for the rest of the day. I’d so far avoided being “the stinky kid” in class and wanted to keep it that way. I stood up and boldly announced to JP and AB that I’d not only spit Pepsi on JP’s desk, but also down the back of my chair and had also got it all over the back of my pants. Therefore, the only thing I could do was change into my gym shorts. They thankfully bought this lame tale and when they left to go outside, I went to the bathroom to clean us as best I could and change out of my soiled pants.

Once outside of course, I caused quite a stir. No one wore their gym shorts unless it was gym! I explained the situation, with downcast eyes and a red face, and hoped that no one would guess the truth. Lunch time ended and thinking that the worst part of my day was over I headed back to our classroom. I had a bit of spring in my step because I’d gotten away with a ridiculous lie and when it came time for gym that afternoon, I’d be half way ready for class. However, the day got worse.

That afternoon, yes I got to go to the gym and hang out in my gym shorts, but not for gym class. Instead we had an assembly in the gym to give out badges for the “Canada Fitness Awards”. What I’ve neglected to mention until now is that I hated my gym shorts. Those of you who were in elementary school in the early 80’s may remember the fad of fuzzy shorts. Fuzzy shorts were elastic waisted, white trimmed shorts that were made of a towel like material that were very snug and everything you sat on, or walked near or thought about stuck to them. I had 2 pairs and “glory be” that day because I got to dawn, not my red ones, but my bright yellow pair in front of the entire school. I sat on the cold, squeaky floor and felt sick. I prayed that I wasn’t stinky, desperately wished I’d had time to pick all the burrs and grass off my shorts and waited for the dreaded moment when my name would be called.

Even if I hadn’t pissed myself and been forced to wear horrid gym shorts in public on purpose, this assembly would have been awful. I’ve never been good at the “Flex Arm Hang” or the “Shuttle Run”. In general, the Canada Fitness Tests always proved to me and the world that anything in my life that turned out to be remotely athletic would be an undertaking in humiliation for myself and my parents. When the moment I’d been loathing happened, my already embarrassed being flooded with red hot shame as I rose to go to the front of the gym to collect my Participation Award. That’s right; I performed so badly at the tasks set out by the powers that be that came up with the “Canada Fitness Test” that I didn’t even merit or deserve a Bronze badge. To get a Bronze badge instead of Silver, Gold or the higher than Gold badge, the “Award of Excellence” was humiliating enough. But to be called up for basically a token award because they felt like they should give you something for “trying your best at sucking”, was indescribably embarrassing. As I stood in front of the entire school body and staff, in my knee high socks and short sleeve white blouse decorated with wee hearts on it tucked into my fuzzy yellow finery decorated in bits of garden parts, I wanted to cry. The day had gone from bad to worse, to bone crushing embarrassment. I refused to make eye contact with my snickering teacher, I wouldn’t look at the crowd of puzzled faces and I couldn’t gaze with pride at my lame award. Even at the time I knew that this moment, this day would be the measuring stick against which I would measure all my future embarrassing occurrences.

So as I stood at the pump, cursing the gas on my non fuzzy shorts, I remembered my classic tale of spillage and thought “Well, that is something for the awesome blog!”

When a tale goes from being “embarrassing” to being “awesome” it’s a good thing.
Much like getting gas, it spells freedom.

Here's to awesome spills,