whenever i’ve played that game, “what’s your most embarrassing moment?” i’m always at a loss. it’s not that i haven’t been embarrassed, i have. it’s just that i don’t tend to dwell, and so when put on the spot i just have nothing to say. but, laying here for two days has given me a lot of time to dwell. out of the blue i had a memory of possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life.
a few years ago, in Costco, i kept seeing this poor guy, maybe 19/20 years old, disheveled, dirty, muttering, going around countless times to the sample tables. my heart was filled with sympathy for him, i wanted to help. clearly, this guys was homeless. clearly, he was hungry. my mind was racing for a way to help. could i buy him some groceries? (come on Britain, he’s clearly homeless.) should i give him money? (no cash on me) i know, hot dogs!
i approached the homeless guy, and invited him to sit down with me for a hot dog after i checked out. it took a little explaining, “i’m going to eat lunch here after i check out, would you like to have a hot dog, my treat?” blank stare. “i’ve been watching you eat samples, would you like a hot dog?” blank stare. “i’d love to buy you lunch.” homeless guy, “you want to have lunch with me?” me, “yes, yes, i would love to have lunch with you. “oh, i would like that, but my mom and sister should be here really soon to pick me up.” pulls out cell phone. “yeah, they should be here any minute. but, i’d love to get lunch another time. can i get your number?”
so, this guys is not homeless. and i just basically asked him out on a date. i’m a little flabbergasted. i don’t know what to do. so, my old college impulses kick in and i give him a fake name and fake number. he dials it into his phone and heads off to meet his mom and sister.
i’m humiliated. i guess it may not be embarrassing in a typical way, because i was pretty much the only one who knew what was going on, but i was dying! i checked out, got into the privacy of my own car, and proceeded to call Jason and tell him about how i just stalked and hit on a young man at Costco. through his laughter, he asked if it ever occurred to me that not many homeless people have Costco memberships. no, no it didn’t.
so, i’ve seen this kid around since then. he is not an independent guy. my observation is that his mom and sister care for him, and give him little independent outings all over town, like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. every time i see him in a store, i feel the need to ditch behind the aisle and wait for him to pass just like i might have done in college when i gave out a fake number. i’m not even sure he would remember.
i think if i could go back in a time machine and do it all over, i would not give the fake name and number, but would maturely say something…..i don’t even know.
how do you handle a situation like this one?
this embarrassing moment reminds me of Lindsay Funke’s run in with a guy who “had the lean look, effortless hair and dressed down manner of a movie star”, but was really homeless. But really, he was a movie star. (Arrested Development, The One Where They Build a House.)