My student looked at me after lunch one day and said, “I ate half a unicorn.” I gave her a funny look and realized she was either being silly or really had eaten half of Scotland’s national animal.
“You know what? My old lady ears just heard you say you ate half a Unicorn.”
“Yeah Mrs. Quirky,” she said sardonically, “I ate half a Unicorn.”
It didn’t occur to me until recently that with undue stress the last two months of teaching school, working my second job (then in the last two weeks of school as a shift lead) and teaching an art class two hours on a Monday night had made some of my sensory issues go haywire. Mostly my hearing.
One of the nights I was scheduled to work at my shift lead job, I was helping at the cash registers in the back of pharmacy. One of my bosses was asking someone, anyone, to show this young couple to plumbing. I looked right at her with gusto and said, “I can do that!” Essentially I was all over it, I have worked the front end for almost two years now and know where our household sections reside.
I promptly exited through the pharmacy door, confident, with myself puffed up and greeted the young couple. As we were walking down the back aisle I said to them, “We have two different sections for plumbing, we have this aisle which is our basic plumbing where the plungers are.” The woman looked at me with a half smile on her face. Her boyfriend was kind of looking around and definitely not at me. What was probably a few seconds seemed like forever. I couldn’t figure out what I had done or said that was this awkwardly funny or uncomfortable for them.
“This is a joke, right?” she said.
I furrowed my eyebrows, looked at her and gave her an expression fit for a detective trying to solve a mystery. At this point I didn’t know what to say. What felt like an eternity to arrange my thoughts was a matter of nano seconds before she finally said with a smile, “We’re looking for Plan B.” (Birth Control)
I raised my eyebrows.
Immediately I deflated in confidence, un-puffed myself, hung my head in embarrassment and said, “Right this way!”
We made our way three aisles down. The e-n-t-i-r-e way I was explaining how my hearing loss had played a roll in this nonsense. Obviously I wouldn’t be this insensitive with this situation. Luckily they were the kind of couple that could take a joke (even though it was unintended) and they were able to laugh it off. Myself on the other hand, have never been more embarrassed and will now forever double check what my ears hear.
What is something embarrassing you thought you have heard? How did you handle the situation?