The Girl Who Flies Off at a Tangent

{Day 10: Most Embarrassing Moment.}

I was used to my Physics teacher calling my attention all the time in class. Busy daydreaming, I'd vaguely hear my name. Each time I failed to answer his question with a proper and correct one, my teacher replied," You're flying off at a tangent again." With that, a nickname was born. "The girl who flies off at a tangent." 

I embraced this nickname and accepted that yes, I do have a short attention span and could easily drift in the dream world in a nano-second. I'm not a girl who easily gets embarrassed. A girl with no shame, some of my friends called me. I didn't mind joining the group's laughter when something unexpectedly embarrassing happened to me.

The girl who flies off at a tangent

I've had a lot of embarrassing experiences but one in particular stood out  because it was the only humiliating experience that ever made me cry. 

I was a high school Senior. I spent my last year participating in a compulsory military education in order to finish high school. It's part of the school curriculum to enforce discipline and learn survival skills.  We called it CAT (Citizen's Army Training). Kids in school took this seriously (at least during my generation). It's a subject and usually taken after school for two hours, twice a week. The class is organized like a military unit, with battalions performing military drills and exercises.

The students have two choices, whether to be a cadet or an officer.  To become an officer, one must give up one summer and several months prior to that in order  to complete a rigid military training, a training no different given to actual soldiers.

I wanted to challenge myself. I was thin and fragile looking and definitely not military material. I joined. To my surprise, a group of fashionable girls joined the training too, the least likely you'd expect in such a group.  We trained for the Medics team.

We wore camouflage and I watched us, girls and guys give up vanity, sweating under the sun as we were screamed at and asked to quit while doing push ups. Those girls are amazing and surpassed everyone's expectations.  We all survived the summer and became officers

We enjoyed the power we had during those CAT classes. As our classmates stop to give us salute whenever we pass, they greeted us, "Ma'am, good morning, Ma'am." We'll reply with another salute and continue walking. No one attempted to mock the system because they knew they'll be punished during the outdoor exercises. They were not allowed to pass before us. They always had to stop to let us through. (It's weird, right?) My mates, then fellow officers shared a table together during these days. We were granted the responsibility to punish them if they don't follow rules, asking them to do more drills, if necessary.  It was surreal. 

Until the day of our CAT graduation. It's different and held separately from the academic graduation. We were all dressed up in military uniforms with a formal ceremony that we practiced for weeks. (I told you, we all took this seriously).  Alumni CAT officers attended this event and so did the entire high school in a big gymnasium. One of them sitting at the special table was a guy from an older batch (former officer) that I had a huge crush on.

The program starts with the entrance march of the country and school flag. They call this the Entrance of Colors.  

There were five of us. Two flag bearers and two color guards with fake rifles. I was one of these color guards. We were trained to handle this fake wooden rifle. We all practiced how to make it turn and the works.  We had an officer behind called a Color Sergeant to give commands. 

The gym was silent. All attention directed to us as we paused at the central end of the gym. The commanding officer's voice bounced off the walls as everyone patiently waited for the flags to enter the hall. 

The girl who flies off at a tangent heard a different command.

I heard "forward, " when in fact the actual command was something about halting and being present.

Guess what?

I marched forward. Alone. Unaware of the others frozen in place with an alarmed look on their faces. Halfway through the center of the gym, I was wondering what happened to the rest. When I glanced back  with my peripheral vision, I saw that I was alone and realized, I have made a huge mistake. The crowd stared and I saw the guy I had a crush on with that shocked look on his face that says, "What the h*ll are you doing?"

It was too late. 
The gym was silent. 
Everyone was staring at me. Alone, at the center of the gym.
Time stopped and each second felt like eternity. 
I had to think quickly. 

I grabbed my rifle and did some movements. I turned it, twisted it. I honestly couldn't remember. 
I just had to do something and pretended like it was part of the program.
After that impromptu stint, I marched back to the colors while trying to hold back the tears.
The color sergeant sensing my teary eyes uttered, "Hold it together."

We got through the national anthem. The guy I had a crush on was looking back at me throughout the song. I couldn't tell whether his expression was of disappointment or disbelief.  The other kids in the hall didn't notice. I held my poker face and kept it together.

As soon as we left the hall, I ran straight to the toilet and unleashed the tears. A release from that pressure, from the experience. That's the price I had to pay for not listening. 

Check out other embarrassing experiences here .

What's yours?
Happy Friday everyone!

{P.S. Sorry, please bear with me for sharing too much about my life this month. Travel posts on your way soon.}

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  1. Oh, those embarrassing moments! It stinks when someone you have a crush on witnesses one!

  2. I was holding my breath the entire time I was reading. First off, military training in HS? Where did you grow up? 2nd...I feel so bad for the HS you! I would have never been able to hold it together. I would have just made the whole thing more awkward and embarrassing.

    Good job on that, at least!

  3. I also fly out the tangent Arni, I'm the one who always fells in front of everyone, queen of embarracing momments, so I completely understand your feeling, but those momments will make you stronger even if you had a horrible time that day.
    I bet you some day you will even make fun of that situation.
    I could barely breathe while reading my dear.
    Kisses and have an amazing weekend.

  4. So familiar with those cringe moments but I'm really impressed that you held it together and improvised so well...

  5. Good job improvising. I totally would have cried as well. Actually I am crying a little bit for you now. I am glad you are a go with the flow person. I don't embarrass easily either.

  6. Awww, we all have those moments and it seems like high school was rife with them