Monday, July 16, 2007

Embarrassing moments, of yesteryear and today

Lil'rumpus has tagged me for a meme of her own devising - most embarrassing classroom moments...

While I know I have many embarrassing classroom moments, not many of them are really good stories. They are run-on embarrassments, more like. Like in my first year of full-time teaching, two years ago, when I was teaching a large lecture class for the first time -- and also deciding to incorporate technology into my teaching for the first time. Too many firsts, obviously. For every week, in the large lecture, I would lose my mind as I tried to figure out how to make the projector work. I would get semi-hysterical, and I can still hear the clicking of my shoes as I ran out of the class every week to find the IT guy with the short red hair, calling out frantically to my class, "If you see that guy walk by, flag him down..." This would last for a good fifteen, agonizing minutes every week. I lost a lot of sleep over this. After about 4 weeks or so, I'd sort of figured it out. But boy, it sure did not do wonders for my confidence as a brand new professor.

So I don't know if I have a good, single embarrassing classroom moment that can compare to lil'rumpus'. But I have a non-classroom embarrassing moment -- and it is from mere hours ago!

So I still had this rental car I'd taken away for the weekend. This is the first time I've been the sole driver for a weekend away, being such a new driver. Everything had gone swimmingly, including my navigation of rush-hour 400-series highways on Thursday afternoon. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. But things are getting a little frantic, as I'm leaving for Scary City on Wednesday, first thing in the morning. And there are lots of things to fit into these two days, including a haircut, a couple of visits with people, a low-key goodbye party at A's tonight, etc., etc.

I went out with the car early this morning to pick up snacks and drinks for this party tonight, to drop off at A's. Then A and I had a plan to go for a walk with our dogs - I wanted a one-on-one visit with her apart from the party tonight. So I suggested we drive down to this particular special park, and I drove us. On our way there, I was telling A how happy I was to now have this skill, this ability to drive, and how amazed I was about the fact that I have developed both comfort and competence lately.* We reminisced about how exactly one year ago, when A was catching a ride with us to the same destination I was visiting this weekend, I drove for about an hour, and nearly died of stress. Not so anymore, ha ha ha. Look at me, such a driver!

So we arrive at the park, I park, the dogs and A and I pour out of the car. And I lock the car. With the keys still in it. And the car running.


I called the rental company and roadside assistance was hastily dispatched - in fact, the guy arrived within fifteen minutes. He grinned at me as he handed over my key. A had regaled me with tales of different people, having borrowed her car, locking the keys inside with it running - three times in one year. She said to the roadside assistance guy, "Tell her how often this happens." He said he gets 6 or 7 of these calls in a day, some days. Once, there'd been a baby locked in the car.

But still. Ouch. I am now eating humble pie.

* As nice as it is to have this skill on a weekend away, or a day like today when I have to buy lots of things from the store, am I ever glad that I don't have to do it all the time. It would make me into an unhappy person. Driving in a city sucks!!

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