1. Spilling my coffee.
Ah, coffee. The thing that wakes me up and drags me through the day. For most of us graduate students, caffeine is our best friend and worst enemy. Fueling us onward to run one more test subject, write one more page, read one more article, coffee can be found in the hands of many bleary-eyed graduate students as we desperately choke down one of America’s favorite imports that exploits almost as many people as the fuel industry. But I digress. I can also be seen carrying around this beverage, but I have become more notorious for spilling it. Everywhere. Every day. Even all over other people’s things. I now just get on with my life. I’m convinced my grave will give off a faint scent of donut shop flavor… or at least, everything I’ve spilled it on will.
2. Storing leftovers in unconventional places
All you people who don’t tell others when they have food on their face, there is a special place in hell for you. Seriously. My daily life involves interacting with students, faculty and just a lot of people in general, and the number of times I’ve walked out of a meeting only to find food on my lip or cheek is embarrassing. Especially pasta sauce or greens between your teeth. Although, I have to admit there is one thing worse than realizing you have food on your face….
…it’s when you find it on your clothes. I planned out and wrote this blog in October (yes, I’ve been busy) and just yesterday I was talking with a professor and looked down and realized I had dried chili all over my sweater. Even worse is when I’m teaching and I notice some students looking at me funny, and I look down and I see a huge chunk of breakfast bedazzling my navy blue dress. I’m ashamed at how often this has happened to me, but I seem to make the best of it by pretending it’s not there, which is why I never get (openly) embarrassed about it. (But seriously guys, tell me this stuff happens).
3. Falling asleep in public
Earlier this school year I went to the doctor saying that my sleeping habits were abnormal. I just have to say that it was a big waste of money because I paid $20 to hear a doctor tell me that I’m “chronically sleep deprived,” because for real I could have had anyone take one look at ANYONE in my graduate program and have them describe what’s going on. But again, I digress. This embarrassing thing has simply become a fact of my life in grad school and until further notice, so I’ve actually made it into a game. Okay, it’s not really a game. I just get to fall asleep and take a nap and wake up and do more work and think less about how the deep purple circles under my eyes do not accurately reflect my love and enthusiasm for learning. But for entertainment’s sake, my lack of embarrassment has reached a peak as can be demonstrated in me falling asleep in the library…
…and even while working on public computers on campus. It’s hard to tell when I stop caring about my public image and more about sleeping, but usually when it does happen I look like this. If anyone ever sees me sleeping in public, let me be. I want that $20 to be justified while I sleep away my “chronic sleep deprivation.”
4.Forgetting someone’s name
Okay, so… this is still slightly embarrassing. I always forget people’s names. The worst part is when I sometimes work up enough courage to ask again about their name, I IMMEDIATELY forget it three seconds later. While some might despair at a gold-fish memory storage like the one I seem to have, I have a ton of avoidance strategies. I’m usually pretty confident while using them, which is why I am only slightly less embarrassed at this point in my life. I predict that when I’m older I’ll just make up names and everyone will think I have dementia. At that point, I’ll just use up federal health care money sitting in an assisted living home while people serve me food on nice trays and clean the food that I’ve spilled all over my clothes and face (because nurses know that’s embarrassing).
5. Dropping things.
Frequently, and often within a few seconds of each other. I’m a very enthusiastic person (see visual for reference), and often am carrying things while being enthusiastic.
Which leads me to this particular story where I went to meet a professor for the first time and was so excited and out of breath, that I dropped my keys.
Of course, this was embarrassing, but I noticed it immediately. I knew exactly what I had to do.
…which was to pick the stupid keys up again because it’s not that embarrassing, Monica.
It’s of course, not that embarrassing…
…if before you say another 4 words you don’t drop something .
…but if you pretend like it never happened then it’s slightly less embarrassing.
I suspect when I’m old, this will be more problematic than it is at this point in time. Falling in public is a very strange feeling; your life starts to lag like that YouTube video you tried streaming over Denny’s really bad wi-fi (yes, some Denny’s have wi-fi), and you can either embrace that moment or abhor it. For many falls, I have abhorred the frozen inching of time as my face comes slower and slower to the pavement. Now, I simply imagine myself sky diving from a very low altitude, my hair rustling in the wind, and watch the ground become blurrier with every second because my glasses have fallen off and will probably fall somewhere four feet from where I land so that I have to crawl on my hands and knees to find it. It can be an almost zen-like experience, and the tranquility is often rudely interrupted by some obnoxious passer-by who wants to know “if I’m okay.”
7. Laughing at inappropriate moments.
A lot of people have told me that I’m really easy to talk to. That’s really great– I work hard at being a good listener. But seriously, if you’re going to complain about your life, please Google “First World Problems” first and make sure what you’re going to say isn’t on the internet under that title. The second part to this point is not really related to the first in that, sometimes (maybe because I’m sleep deprived) I end up getting the giggles. There’s nothing wrong with getting the giggles, but it always happens when there’s something tragic being told like “My cat lit his tail on fire and now keeps meowing” or “The bus left without me this morning and I had to chase it down the street while wearing heels” or “I spit all over my professor during a meeting when I was asking a question.” When I feel the giggles starting deep in my chest, I hold my breath. Seriously. I stop breathing and think “Monica, you can’t laugh. This is serious. Your friend is very upset, and needs your help.” But as the giggles can’t be contained forever, the pressure in my chest builds as I refuse to let it out until the giggles promise to not escape. That usually has only one consequence…
… and that is my face looking like this. Can you imagine talking to a friend about a problem and suddenly they have this face? I’ll admit, I’ve offended a lot of people, but mainly I just apologize a lot. I literally have no control over this in any way, so I’ve accepted it as a part of who I am.
8. Being able to consume twice the amount of food most other females within a twenty foot radius.
I love food. I have always loved food. I grew up with three brothers and let me tell you something about eating dinner with three growing boys– if you don’t spit on it or eat it right away, someone else will. I quickly learned that if you want a satisfied stomach after a meal, you have to keep eating for as long as you can immediately see food. Your left-overs aren’t even safe from sibling stomachs. If you want it ever in your entire life, you eat it now. That being said, I can sit down and house a meal in not only record time, but in record quantity. I can even out-eat a lot of my male friends. Honestly, I’m okay with that. People (but in my experience mostly girls) worry too much about how they look when they eat and whether or not they are being judged. Honestly, I think of all those people judging other people and think… HAVE YOU EVER EATEN FOOD?? IT IS DELICIOUS. And then keep eating because I’m not even slightly embarrassed. I’m usually pretty stuffed at that point, though.