Falling Down, Chapter 2

It’s taken about 3 years for me to gather up the courage to write this post because this is by far the most embarrassing and traumatizing moments of my life so far.  Worse than this.

It was the summer of 2007 and I had my first job out of college.  I was the campaign manager for a prominent state senator in Harrisonburg, Virginia where I had attended school (go dukes!).  In rural, southern Virginia parades are a big deal and if you are an elected official and especially if you are running for office it is very important that you have an entry in every parade.  So a huge part of my job was determining when all the parades in his district were that election season and making sure he was entered in the parade and he had a vehicle to decorate with his signs.

Once particular parade we used the senator’s SUV and attached a trailer to the back of it with a 4×8 campaign sign loaded on the trailer.  This was a big parade so there were a lot of fellow Republican legislators walking with us in the parade.  Several delegates and state senators from neighboring districts, the current congressman, attorney general and lieutenant governor will all there if I remember correctly.

We were milling around chatting waiting for the parade to start when my friend jokingly yells something like “go go go!” because the parade was starting and I was the one driving the car.  Joking back with him I hauled it to the car to get it started even though we were in no real hurry as it would take a few minutes for the parade to get going.  So as I was running really fast for no reason at all to get in the driver’s seat, I cut between the car and the trailer.  Attaching the trailer to the car was a metal bar, and as I jumped over the bar my foot caught on it, and then time just stopped.

I knew by how fast I was running and how hard my foot caught the bar that it was going to be bad.  For those few seconds it was as if time was suspended; I went forward in the air and then I was horizontal to the pavement for a moment.  As I was heaving forward I saw in slow motion all the parade-goers and elected officials mouths just open and all just stare at me.  And oh yeah, my coworker who I was in the early stages of a flirty/ not-quite-dating-cause-we’re-coworkers thing.  And then I just hit the pavement full-force and blacked out.  Next thing I knew I was being peeled off the pavement by my not boyfriend.  He got me on my feet and by then I really did need to get in the driver’s seat because it was just about time to go.

So suffice it to say I was mortified.  I am so glad I got to be alone for a few minutes in the car while everyone else walked in the parade.  While I was driving I covertly dialed my parent’s home phone; I didn’t want anyone to suspect I was remotely hurt physically or emotionally while in fact I was majorly bleeding and about to sob.  Both my dad and step-mom picked up the phone which I put on speaker and set on the seat of the car.  I’m not sure why but I didn’t want to tell them what just happened because I guess I thought people would see me talking and suspect I was upset.  So after they say hi all I could say over and over again in a loud whisper was “SOMETHING VERY BAD HAS JUST HAPPENED.   I CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT (holding back tears).  SOMETHING VERY BAD HAS JUST HAPPENED.   I CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT. ”  They were freaked out of course, thinking I had just been raped for was kidnapped or something.  The parade came to and end and I quickly got the blood cleaned up before getting out of the car.  One of the elected officials came up to me and said “Honey, are you sure you are ok?  You really hit the ground hard.  I told everyone ‘just don’t look, if you don’t look at her she’ll be fine.'”  I wanted so badly to just start crying but I casually responded “Oh yeah I’m great!”

And that is all.  For now.



Most Improved

I don’t know about you but I consider “Most Improved” awards to be a back-handed diss…. “You really sucked before but you’re not half bad now.”  In middle school I played soccer.  Not by choice, of course.  Also like how rowing crew in high school, the swim team and piano practice at 6:00 am were not by choice.  At that age if I had my choice I would have been content sewing new outfits for my American Girl dolls or a new Amish outfit for myself (Amish story is forthcoming in a blog post).

So anyways, I played soccer throughout middle school.  I’m pretty sure my goal while on the field was to stay as far away from the ball as possible.  It worked really well and by the end of 8th grade I thought I had made it through the worst.  At the end of that school year we had the annual sports awards.  My parents were in attendance but I was sitting with my “boyfriend” rocking a very awkward haircut (another forthcoming blog post) and at least 4 pounds of metal in my mouth (including a contraption that had to be implanted through oral surgery which attached a chain to a tooth which was compacted up near my brain and through a pulley type system was pulled through the gums).  I was pretty much rockin’ it that night.

They handed out all the normal awards, sportsmanship award, most valuable player (which was always my sister), etc.  Then the time came for Most Improved.  The coach began talking and his speech went something like this.  “At the beginning of the season, well, quite frankly, I didn’t quite no what to do with this person, but she turned out to not be half bad.”  I remember thinking how embarrassing it was going to be for who ever got that award.  “And the most improved award goes to…. JULIE DANIEL.”

At that point things kind of went blurry and in slow motion.  I remember just wanting to disappear into a black hole.  I hate being the center of attention more than anything in the world and to be singled out with the loser of the season award, in front of my hot middle school boyfriend no less.  Then came the walk of shame to the podium and the pitied looks of people in the audience.  I remember my step-mom telling me that she was thinking how horrified I was at that moment when I was walking up.  She was right.