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1. Ungraceful; ungainly.
2. Clumsily or unskillfully performed.
3. Marked by or causing embarrassment or discomfort.
It’s no lie that the word awkward basically sums me up. I would drop things, fall over and hurt myself so many times at my jobs in Vancouver that one of my co-workers came up with the hashtag #halesfails for me. I then started posting my mishaps on Twitter and Facebook to make others (hopefully) feel better about their days. Here is a look at my most awkward moments over the past two years since I left Australia: to make you laugh, and probably cringe. It’s lucky that life is not meant to be perfect because mine certainly isn’t – it’s just very memorable.
My most awkward moments
The Tokyo Metro incident
This is a story I have told a few times during my travels because every time I think about it my cheeks still start to flush because it continues to embarrass me over 18 months later. When I visited Tokyo, one morning I had to get the metro along with a million other residents. So I was one of the 300 extra people that cram into the carriages every day. Even though I peeked over people’s heads and could see I was the only Westerner in the vicinity, no one paid me any extra attention. So there I am squashed in this car and unable to find something to grip. Then the doors closed and we were off. As we moved so did my body, and my instinct was to grab the closest thing to me for balance. Unfortunately, that happened to be a young guy’s hand next to me. I was mortified and approximately two seconds after I did it I retracted and said sorry, trying to turn away from him but unable to move my head in the crowd. I still remember the size of his eyes – pure shock.
Coffee Grinds = Poop
Who knew making coffee could be so awkward? No one, until I came along. During my time at Starbucks, I was lucky enough to be dragging a rubbish bin behind me to the disposal outside one day when the bag of coffee grinds leaked onto the back of my pants. Now, let’s picture this. Cream pants. Brown coffee. Butt. Yep, go team. I luckily only had about an hour left in my shift but I struggled not turning around so the customers weren’t subjectified to my behind.
To continue on with the above story, I was wearing the same pair of pants during another shift (coffee grinds do wash away) when 30 minutes before we closed the doors I bent over and heard the sound no one ever wants to hear: Riiiip! I was mortified and my co-workers could not stop laughing. Luckily the incident occurred underneath so it wasn’t visible to the public, but I did not bend again and had to ask my friend to drive me home as I couldn’t sit on the bus with that on display.
Let’s go to my other Vancouver job at Aussie Pie Guy. There we are, one busy shift at a market when one of the staff members takes a massive square box of frozen pies out of the freezer as we were selling them so quickly. I went for a walk to grab lunch and on my return attempted to step onto the truck and over this box. But my foot didn’t quite make the leap and I ended up in the box of pies. And to make it all the better the door was still open so every market goer in close vicinity saw this fail. Just in case you were wondering too – frozen pies are not comfortable to fall into. I was walking awkwardly and shamefully for a little while afterwards.
I do not want to subject you to the photo I sent my mother after this occurred to me after my bus trip from Boston to Washington DC. But let’s just all look at our feet and imagine them twice the size and visualise your ankles disappearing. This was my reality. They did eventually go down during the night and this, fortunately, did not occur again UNTIL my Amtrak train journey from San Francisco to Portland. So when it came time to fly 14 hours from Vancouver to Auckland, I invested in some sexy compression stockings. I was slightly smart though and wore them under some leggings, so no one would notice. And they worked, in case you were wondering. So if this does happen to you, all jokes aside, do buy the socks and help your body pump that blood.
The Lost Bag
It was always going to happen, right? I have spoken about this incident here and here, so I won’t go into it again. But I did not appreciate wearing the same dress for three days in Floridian heat and I wish I could have remembered St Augustine for something other than this disaster. But learn from my fails, please. Check your bag on Greyhound!
This is another fall that did not do me any favours. When we decided to go tubing, I admit that I thought this was a #halesfails waiting to happen. Hello, uncoordination central. But nevertheless, I did it and pretty well. I did not fall off during the rides, which helped increase confidence. Sadly, this boost in self-esteem lasted about five minutes as I got up following one ride and lost my balance walking to the pulley that took us back to the beginning. I fell onto pure ice and it hurt. Worse than pies.
The Awkward Moments 2.0?
There are probably even more awkward moments that I have pushed to the back of my mind out of mortification. Nonetheless, I shall start collating this future segment as I continue on with life. Just know that if you suffer from your own bout of #halesfails, you’re not alone. And remember to always laugh afterwards and not let it get you down. It’s just life and sometimes life throws you lemons and you make lemonade. Or you get lemon in your eye and it hurts like a bitch.