Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tale of the Awkward

I have some obvious character traits and habits that set me apart from others. Some are intentional, others are not, but they are what they are … and they make me, me.

These character traits and habits are mostly wonderful things, but there are a few that make situations down. right. awkward.

I would like to preface my first “Tale of the Awkward” with the fact that I am a nurse educator for a very, very large hospital unit. My primary job has me interacting with staff, new hires, people outside the unit for various reasons on a daily basis.

Today’s character habit disclosure: I have a talent of wearing my food.

This habit started when I was little as my parents will quickly agree. I will argue that most children wear their food… it is perfectly normal. I would have food on my shirt, pants, face, hands, everywhere…

And then most children outgrow this habit as their dexterity sharpens, their mouths widen, and their fear of social consequences ride on every eating experience.

I would lead you to believe that I also gained these skills, staying developmentally appropriate with my peers, but that would be a lie. Instead, I developed a few coping mechanisms for some very obvious absence of brain cells that took a vacation and never came back. 

My ammo to conquer my innate ability to wear my food:
  • Napkin present around my mouth at all times
  • Take very small bites, which causes me to take a very long time to eat
  • Don’t eat around large groups of people

My arsenal of coping mechanisms work fairly well with the exception of when chocolate is present.  I don’t know what it is about chocolate; research says that some people release serotonin when they ingest this lovely morsel. Me on the other hand? I never make it to the point of ingesting it. My hands forget that chocolate is not a topical agent and that my face is not a wonderful area of maximum absorbency.
Okay, and now my awkward tale.

A few weeks ago, we hired some very awesome and talented new nurses. I am the “point person” for these individuals thus becoming the person they see most during their orientation. Well, the hospital threw a celebration and offered bottled water and cupcakes to everyone that attended.

1. I knew clear and well that I was going to speak to our new hires.
2. I also knew that I wanted a chocolate cupcake. 

What would make this instance any different from two days earlier where I ended up with the chocolate from a crunch bar on the right side of my jaw in the quiet of my office? New day, new *hopefully* acquired chocolate eating skills!

I Was wrong. I did manage to wait to take a bite of the little piece of heaven until my big speech was done. Unfortunately I asked our new staff to fill out some paperwork so they would still be in the vicinity of my Cookie Monster scene that was just waiting to ensue.

One bite. Only one bite. Immediately feeling of happiness flooded my veins. I set the cupcake down and get a nudge on my shoulder. It was my coworker. 

“Jenny, you have frosting on the side of your nose.”

I smile and grab my napkin that I had been using to hold the cupcake. I take one swipe of my nose and thought I was good to go.

Wrong again.

By this time, our new staff was finishing up and already had a few questions. One had wondered up to the front and was standing just a few feet away from me.

“I have a question about schedules…” She looked obviously nervous…. Almost painstakingly nervous.

She continued… “I think you have something on your face.” As she motions to my cheek.

The multiplying chocolate frosting! 

I grab my napkin again and wipe my face and ask her what I could help her with.

She motions to her forehead as the color in her cheeks are growing.

Instinctively, as looking at myself in the mirror, I raise my hand to my forehead. 


Oh God. Now I am starting to get a little sweaty myself. I wipe my face again and then my coworker intervenes. 

“Excuse us one second” she interjects as she has given the horribly mortified new hire a few minutes of  reprieve. 

“Jenny, look at your hands… Look at your napkin!”

I glance down to the once white napkin that now had probably more chocolate on it then my cupcake at this point. When initially holding my cupcake with the napkin, the napkin had taken on a little frosting  further promoting the cascade of events allowing me to wear a good portion of the dessert.

Retrieving my napkin and handed a clean new one, I was advised to no longer pursue my chocolate eating adventure.

I apologized to the entire group, while wiping my face, and garnered a few chuckles from the quiet crowd.

Lesson learned? 

No chocolate in public. EVER.

1 comment:

Hailee said...

Jenny, we seem the share similar embarrassing stories!