Thursday, January 10, 2008

How NOT To Make a Good Impression

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the kind wishes you sent me after my last sick post. I am feeling a bit better today...see? It works both ways!

Fair warning: this post is rather long, contains no pictures, and no knitting. But if you want to feel better about yourself for some reason: feel free to read about my shame, which I am happily (and anonymously) sharing with everyone. I guarantee you a healthy shot of schadenfreude.

This post is about an extremely embarrassing incident that happened on Tuesday night. No knitting has taken place since Monday, and if you will bear with me and read my story, hopefully you will understand and forgive me.

I am about to enter my final semester of graduate school. My department hosted a networking event/cocktail reception on Tuesday evening, and since I am involved in the film industry the place was full of Hollywood movers and shakers. We were in the very posh lobby of a certain theater, which happened to have a very loooong, marble bar along one wall. This will be an important detail in a moment.

I was having a good time, schmoozing and chatting with people, and generally just excited to be out of my house for the first time in days and days. At one point, my program director, Ms. Well-Known Producer, stepped up to the podium to thank everyone for coming and to introduce one of our evening's celebrated guests. Next, Mr. Long-Time Producer went up and said a few words to introduce our super-important guest, Mr. Legendary Producer.

Well, sometime in the middle of Mr. Long-Time Producer's talk, I started to get hot. Really really hot. Then my vision started to blur. I glanced behind me and saw that no one was between myself and the long bar. I could make my way over to the bar and lean against it! Except for one problem: Mr. Legendary Producer was casually leaning against the bar, waiting for Mr. Long-Time Producer to introduce him to the crowd. I didn't really want to be in the spotlight when he was called up to speak, so I thought I would wait until he was called up and then skirt around a pillar to a seating area and flop down.

But as I was formulating this plan in my head, black spots started appearing everywhere, and the blood was rushing through my ears so much I couldn't hear anything anyway. I turned and casually sauntered over to the bar (and by "casually sauntered", of course I mean "stumbled blindly") where I managed to delicately set my wine glass down (read: slammed my glass down so hard I'm sure the bartender thought I was drunk).

That's the last I remember. From what I was told later, there was a colleague of mine standing against the other end of the bar when I got there and she came over to say hello. Since I could neither see nor hear anything at the time, she may have tap danced topless for me for all I know. What I do know is that I woke up several minutes later, slumped awkwardly into a padded chair with someone yelling "Can you hear me? Can you hear me?" in my face as someone else was ushering all the guests into an adjoining hall.

Yes, that's right. I passed out right as Mr. Legendary Producer was being called to the podium, but from what I'm told, my colleague managed to catch me and make it so surreptitious that only a few people noticed. Until, of course, they cut short Mr. Legendary Producer's soliloquy to shoo everyone out of the hall so the paramedics could come ask me all sorts of embarrassing questions in front of my remaining colleagues: "What medications are you on? Any chance you're pregnant? When did you have your last menstrual period?" That sort of thing.

To make matters worse, one of my shoes had slipped off and all I could think was, "Damn! I meant to paint my toenails today!" Plus I was so damned hot that I was sweating profusely all over my brand new shirt, so of course I was annoyed with that. Ms. Well-Known Producer was kind enough to sit on the floor next to me and bathe my face with ice cubes, but then I kept thinking, "My hair and makeup are going to look awful!" Right. As if I was just going to get up off the floor and start chatting people up again.

To cut a long story short, they took me to the hospital and kept me for hours, running all sorts of inconclusive tests on me. The Brain was able to make the drive up and keep me company. The doctor wanted me to stay under observation for 24 hours to see if a pre-existing heart condition caused the episode, but I just wanted to go home. I figured if it happens again I'll stay. But one episode in 29 years? Meh. I'm blaming it on my cold and staying at home.

So there you have it: my absolutely MORTIFYING episode for the week. I would advise against this strategy, however, as a way to make people remember you. Only two things would have made it worse: if I had actually fallen backwards onto Mr. Legendary Producer, or if I had peed my pants when I passed out. This horrible possibility didn't even occur to me until the ER nurse asked me if I had "voided" when it happened. Can you imagine? Suddenly my whole episode didn't seem so bad after all.


Andrea said...

Oh well that's never a good thing, and YES I would be mortified as well. I'm glad you're feeling better, and hope that your fainting spell is nothing serious. Wishing you a very Happy Friday!

Caroline said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you! I suffer from vasovagal syncopes once a year or so and what you described sounds similar to that (I'm not a doctor so I could be wrong though). See :

Sarah said...

You poor thing! I've blacked out once or twice without fainting (dehydration), and it's such a scary experience. Sorry you passed out in front of celebrities, but at least there were people around to take care of you!

Kristen said...

oh dear, that's, um . . . well, as you pointed out at the end, it could've been worse! i hope you're feeling better, too!
as for knitting commentary, i love the yarn you picked for the keyhole top! that's another item in my seemingly neverending ravelry queue, so i can't wait to see how it turns out.

missyecaj said...

Oh noes!
I'm so sorry to hear that, but it sounds like it's really nothing you could have prevented, so at least take heart in that. Hope you're feeling better!

amanda said...

Wow, well at least Mr Legendary will probably remember you!

I've fainted once in my life. My mom was having spinal surgery and I went into the recovery room to visit. I think I was so overwhelmed by the stress of it and seeing her with the big neck brace on, that I started to get hot and needed to sit. I remember not being able to hear anything and getting blurry vision. The nurses suggested I leave (so as not to upset the patients), so my brother and I left. Next thing I know, I walked into the wall and that was it. I woke up on the floor with a nurse smacking my face. They gave me apple juice and crackers and asked if I was pregnant. I had to sign a form saying that I was OK and denied hospitalization. It was definitely stress and hasn't happened since. Amazing how our bodies can take over!

gradschoolknitter said...

Ack! I've had this experience, but never in front of celebrities. No, instead, I used to loose vision and eventually black out during high school. Almost equally embarrassing, really. ('Cause I just luuuuuved high school so much to begin with... *note: sarcasm*)

It always happened for me right before getting my period... so the questions you were getting didn't seem so unlikely to me. It was usually proceeded by some serious stomach or girly-bits cramping.