I was asked recently what my most embarrassing moment was.
Where to begin?
Let’s start with Stoppin' Tom. His last name is now lost in the merciful grind of Time, but I remember every other detail in Blu-Ray High Definition.
I was 14 years old and going to my girlfriend Marianne’s house for a sleepover. I was walking on the road as there wasn’t a sidewalk on that particular block, and just before I got to Marianne’s, a car slowed down and stopped beside me.
I saw that it was Tom, a boy from school that graduated Gr. 9 the year before and was now at the Senior High School. He must have just got his license and was cruising the town. I always thought he was a nice enough guy from what I knew of him, but he wasn’t anyone I had really thought about.
But what the hell...he was 16, obviously interested and he had a car! A major bonus. And I was extremely flattered. I didn’t need the ride, but by accepting it, I was letting him know he might have a chance at dating me if he worked at it.
I was already on the passenger side of the car, so I popped in and sat down with a smile.
Denise: Hey Tom! I don’t really need a ride ‘cause I'm just going to the end of the next block, but it was nice of you to stop!
Denise: (sensing his shyness and obvious discomfort) I’d love to hang around, but I’m going to my friend’s house and she’s expecting me.
Denise: (5. 8 seconds later) Well, here we are. Thanks Tom! See ya!
Tom: (small wave)
How I would gloat to Marianne! I was all a-flutter, feeling quite good about myself and my newly discovered powers of attraction when it hit me like a brick...
Tom hadn’t pulled up to ask me if I wanted a ride. He had stopped for the STOP SIGN at the end of the block! I just happened to be at that point when he had to brake. That was why he was so quiet and tongue-tied. Not from being overwhelmed by the mere presence of such beauty, but because I had hijacked his car!
36 years have passed and it still makes me cringe.