Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Mink Stole

Some people have one or two embarrassing moments that they can recall. I, on the other hand, have more than I can count. Things just seem to happen to me. My life has been filled with embarrassing moments. So, I have learned to laugh at myself over the years. I also love to laugh at other people's embarrassing stories. Here is one of mine and a couple of ones from a friend.

The Mink Stole

During my junior and senior years at Cal I often studied at Café Milano on Bancroft near Telegraph Avenue. “Studying” for me as a double English and Psychology majors often meant reading a novel in a café. A friend of mine named Mike used to study there as well. Mike was a very funny person and we used to spend as much time laughing and telling stories as we did studying.

One day he told me about his parents’ recent 30th wedding anniversary celebration. His parents live in ritzy La Jolla, Ca. His dad decided to take his mom to a fancy restaurant that she had been dying to go to, a real see-and –be-seen sort of place.
So they both dressed up fancy, he in a suit and she in a nice black dress with a lovely black mink stole. She wanted to take some pictures before they left so she had Mike snap a few. She took off her stole and laid it on her bed for the photo shoot. Afterwards, she grabbed it, swung it over her shoulders and they got into their car. At the restaurant they parked and went in and were promptly led to their table. Heads turned to stare at them as they passed, his mother thinking that it was because they looked so nice. After sitting down they noticed that people were still looking their direction and now they were giggling. A waiter finally came over and asked her to look over her shoulder at her mink stole. Hanging off her lovely mink was an old white cotton bra that had gotten hooked on it when she tossed the mink onto the bed. That was the reason for all of the heads turning and watching them. Mortified and red in the face she yanked off the embarrassing old bra, stuffed it in her purse, stood up and left.

So she never got her dinner at that fancy restaurant, but she did get to “see and be seen” by the upper crust of La Jolla.

Later that year we were at a Bible study together at his house along with about 10 other friends including my brother Thomas. Mike lead off in prayer in a very serious tone. He had some heavy things to pray about, so he was very intense. He started his prayer fairly normally, “Oh Lord, my heart if full”. At least that was what he meant to say. What really came out was “Oh Lord, my FART is full.” Then he paused as if he was thinking “What did I just say?” The silence continued until Alexa, who had been frantically trying not to laugh, let out a huge snort. Everyone else then burst into uncontrollable laughter for about 15 minutes. Just as we thought everyone was under control someone else would lose it and snort, causing another round of hilarity.

Finally Mike started to pray again, and he kept using the word “heart”, I guess to prove that he could say it right. But every time that he did Thomas and I would start to shake and laugh silently. I don’t know what exactly is so funny about farting, but even the word can send me into the stratosphere laughing. Maybe because it is so inappropriate almost all of the time and yet it just happens, to most of us anyhow.

I wish that I could say that I have never had an embarrassing public flatulence moment, but that would just not be true. The most humiliating event occurred during my French final exam at Cal. It was in a small class of about 20 students. I had several good friends in the class and there was also one person who a few years later became a really close friend. We were in the middle of the final and we were sitting in some uncomfortable molded plastic chair-desk combinations. I knew that a little gas was going to slip out, but I thought that it would be silent. Instead it was like a BB gun ricocheting off the back of the chair in a very loud popping sound. All heads turned to stare at me while I vainly tried to look innocent and blame it on my friend Sean sitting next to me. My bright red face belied guilt and I knew that I hadn’t fooled anyone.

After a little snickering, everyone went back to their exams. When I was done with the exam I quickly left, talking to no one. My friends in the class never mentioned it to me, but I lived in dread of someone bringing it up.

Seventeen years went by and I was sitting at the kitchen table at my friend Melissa’s house. Somehow farting got brought up (she has two boys, so that happens occasionally) and I decided to tell her about my embarrassing, never told in public before, humiliation during my French final. It then occurred to me that Melissa was in that class with me even though we didn’t really know each other back then. I asked her if she remembered me tooting during the final and she just looked at me and then started to giggle. “Oh, I remember” she said. She then decided to confess to me that she had told her boyfriend (now husband and good friend of mine as well) about it. They went to the same church as I did and whenever they saw me they would say “There goes the flatulator!” to each other. My secret nickname became “The Flatcher”.

A couple of years later we became good friends and they dropped the nickname and they never told me about it. It wasn’t until 17 years after the 1 second incident that I finally found out the effect that it had. I am still friends with them as they are wonderful people and funny as can be, even if they made up mean nick names about me. I have learned that nothing truly embarrassing ever goes unforgotten. Lucky me.


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