Today I embarrassed myself at work. To the point where it's been over half an hour since the incident and I still haven't gotten over it. When I hear people walking by my office door, I look away so as not to catch their eye. Because the bottom line is: this would only happen to me. Some of you may find this amusing, and hopefully some of you who know me well may take pity on me. I'm hoping more of you are in the second camp, because when I called my husband for reassurance after the incident, I could hear him laughing on the other end.
In order to set the stage for my story, you'll need a little background info: As you may or may not know, I'm allergic to dogs. My family has never had a dog. I will never have a dog. It's not that I don't like them...it's that I'm allergic to them.
Okay, okay, that's a lie.
I am allergic, but the real reason I will never have a dog is that I'm scared of them. Feel free to laugh - I know it's a ridiculous fear. No, I've never had a bad experience with a dog that I can remember. I just haven't grown up around them. And I seriously can't stop my heart from racing every time one runs toward me, barks, jumps on me, or God forbid...licks me...
To put more perspective into this story, when I interviewed for this job, they were sure to say, "Hey, you don't have a problem with dogs, right? This is a really dog-friendly campus. And often there are dogs around during the day in the building."
And of course I said, "That's great. I like dogs. I'm allergic, but as long as they're not in my office, they're great!" And all the while I thought to myself, "yep, that's a lie. I'm actually scared of them."
And now on to the story...let me set the scene: I was minding my own business, helping someone with a project in my office when another colleague walks inside. I know her dog well. He is far and away the kindest, gentlest, most well-trained dog I've ever met in my life. I always say hi to him because I'm not afraid he'll run after me or jump up on me. Well, I saw him walk by my door in the hallway and continued my conversation.
Realize that there are now three people crowded into my little office. And countless others in the hallway. And then the incident occurs. And I scream. Loudly.
The incident: You see, when I was engrossed in the project and conversation, I didn't notice the calm animal sneaking his way in. I didn't notice him weave around one of the people in my office, and then another, and then a desk to find himself almost in my lap. And I didn't even notice him extend his head over my lap.
And then it happened. He licked my hand. And I screamed like a little girl.
The aftermath: I could immediately feel my face flush. I was incredibly embarrassed. What an irrational thing to have gotten scared about. I tried to continue exactly what I was doing right before I screamed, but I was totally flustered and both people in my office were staring at me. And the worst part was, I'm pretty sure my colleague felt guilty! I apologized about seven times, but I knew my face was bright red and I knew my heart was still racing from what had happened.
So here I sit, writing about it to calm myself down...and partially to justify to myself that maybe it wasn't totally fear that made me react that way. It was probably just that I was taken off guard... :) But the fact remains that I'm smarter than my nemesis, yet today, I was bested by him.