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Topic: Embarrassed( 07/19/07)
An Illusion of Dignity
By Dianne Janak
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Each new day I remind myself to not take myself too seriously ‘cause no one else does. One day however I forgot my reminder.
On September 15, 1982, I had a good hair day and after losing 10 pounds, I fit into old favorite pair of jeans. Life looked good. Even looking in the mirror I swore I looked like a younger version of Goldie Hawn. Singing “ The Hills are Alive” in the bathtub with total flair and on key, (this was not normal for me) I just knew this was going to be a perfect day.
On my way to a prayer meeting at my church, I remember every detail as if it were yesterday. I was feeling uncharacteristically dignified.
It was rather miraculous that my husband let me drive his work car again, an older Diesel Mercedes. Two weeks before I had accidentally put gas in it instead of Diesel (apparently a bad mistake). He had to take a long walk to cool off saying he would end up behind bars had he stayed home. He takes life way too seriously. Today the fuel tank was empty and I was determined to regain my status as a woman who thinks.
When I pulled up to a gas station I noticed there were about 10 macho men gathered in a group conversing. Men, different from women, do not look at each other while sharing (they don’t really share either) and these men were side by side looking my way.. (well AT ME) as I pulled into get gas. ( er Diesel). It didn’t matter. I had good hair and an attitude of dignity and sophistication. Did I mention new shoes?
I pretended to have confidence as if I gas up that car weekly and its no big deal.. They were staring and I was determined to NOT care. That was my first mistake. I need to care more. I was horrified as I took the gas muzzle off the rack thing to put it into the gas hole and the stupid hole was not on the driver’s side of the car. I started hating this car. Hearing a muffled noise of stuffed guffaws coming from the testosterone crowd, I ignored them. I tried to stretch the hose to the other side of the car with an attitude that I MEANT to park this way and stretching the hose is actually helpful while pumping gas. A fact of life I wanted to teach them.
Horror struck when I realized I was not parked close enough. The stupid hose line was too short. Making a mental note to write this manager, I got back into my car to try again. The male laughter was no longer so politely muffled, and I knew it must be because they were drinking spiked coffee ‘cause I was supposed to be taken seriously today. It was my moment.
Getting back in the car without looking at them, I did a u-turn, pulling up on the other side of the gas pump. Now I want to give y’all a moment of silence to picture that in your mind. Got it?
For those of you who got the picture, I did not. Their laughter was making my hair look bedhead. I hadn’t touched it but looking in the mirror it no longer looked so perfect. Yes, I got out of the car, got the pump in my hand to go fill the dang car with gas,(er Diesel ) and you guessed it. It was still on the wrong side. I was feeling a need to sue the inventors of Mercedes, and my audience is now almost in tears laughing so hard.
What could I do but close my door and drive off? I didn’t get gas( diesel) , and didn’t look back. My pastor came to my rescue as my car died from lack of fuel and I told him nothing, which is why I need to tell you.
The Goldie Hawn look had disappeared. I hated my new shoes. I no longer trust good hair days. Pride does come before a fall and now I realize dignity is not all it’s cracked up to be. I am so proud of my eternal humility.
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