sometimes it’s good to be humbled

When embarrassing or ridiculous things happen to you, can you handle it?

Most writers and bloggers probably relish these moments because, like me, they most likely think – “this will make for good content.”

Recently I asked my friend to take photos of me so I could have a professional-looking photo for if/when I ever submit a story to a competition or publication, and also for my blog and About Me page. She is a professional photographer and though I don’t feel like I need this photo imminently, she is over on a visit from South Africa (where she currently lives). So I took the opportunity and booked our shoot.

It’s a funny thing, getting someone to take pictures of you and only you. I thought about it from a marketing point of view and what I might wear to ensure longevity of the photo. For example, dorky-thick-framed glasses that are all the rage now, might not be in five years time so best avoid those, I decided. I washed a plain, light-grey top last night and slung it on the line this morning. It just about dried in time.

I made the error of letting my fringe dry in its own way and ended up with it parting down the middle like the Red Sea. I was out with my Mum and told her about my photoshoot and she said, with a wry smile on her face, “you might want to redo your fringe, it’s sticking out.”

So, I spruce up. I don’t want to look hugely made up and like I’m trying to be some catwalk model. Just smart and tidy and like myself, still fairly casual.

I drive down to the seafront where we are meeting so I don’t end up getting sweaty or crazy, windswept hair. All the while feeling slightly unsettled by how grossly vain it all seems. But I don’t want to pay for professional photos and look like something that’s been dragged through a hedge backwards, right?

I park and am strolling down through the town to meet her, when what must have been a large flock of birds, decided to synchronise emptying their bowels, on top of my head.

That’s right.

Have you ever been paint balling? If you have, you’ll know that you get these guns that fire out the paint pellets at a fast rate. If you get cornered by the opposing team whilst playing Capture The Flag, you’ll experience an onslaught of paint pellets splatting all over the floor and your head and body.

Visualise it. Hear the splats.

Then substitute paint pellets, for bird poop pellets.

I could feel it hit my head, and body, and shower my feet as it splashed around me. A lady nearby exclaimed “OOHH!” she was so taken aback, and IT DIDN’T EVEN HIT HER.

“Did it get you?” She says.

“Er… YEAH!” That’s what I actually said. Not one to wear my heart on my sleeve to strangers normally, but I couldn’t help myself.

I run into the nearest restaurant and asked to use their toilet to clean up (it’s ok because I took my friend for lunch there later on – good times had there all round). There is a brown splat on my chest, low enough for my hair not to cover it.

It’s not salvageable. This is yet another moment when I don’t have my children with me and wish I still just carried wipes with me everywhere. I make a mad dash for Topshop to buy a new top and the next embarrassing moment occurs.

I am running and due to wearing a backpack I am doing that run where you hold your arms out straight at a 45 degree angle from your body in order to discourage the straps from slipping down. A somewhat droopy version of a child running and doing an impression of a plane.

So, I am running (niiiiiiiiaaaaaooooooowwwwwww). And I graze the bottom of an old man waiting to cross the road. I literally stroke an entire buttock with considerable pressure. He must have thought it was intentional.

At least I’m running and dash away quickly. Though I sense eyes are on me.

I buy a new top and run to meet my friend. Phew. She laughs as soon as she sees me. I would too.

I go to the toilet to change my top. The person in the cubicle next door must have had a bad burrito or something because their toilet experience was rather audible. I’m literally grimacing at the odour floating through the cubicle wall as I change our of my poo-splat top, and I can’t imagine how this day could get any more ridiculous.

Then I had to smile at a camera, whilst standing on the beach on the sunniest day of the year. I gave many a stink eye to the lens as I battled with my eyes that simply wanted to close in response to the glare of the sun shining off every surface around me.

Half of the town were walking by and there were many elderly populating the benches making for a sizeable audience. But, my friend has got the skills and I think we got the money-shot.

So, here you go…

Poo selfie.jpg
Jeni Whitchurch: Professional Freelance Writer and Blogger

Disclaimer: Photo was taken by myself, NOT by my very professional and capable friend.

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