My daughter and I were sitting around last night talking about embarrassing moments. Of course not HER embarrassing moments, but mine.

When it comes to hilarious situations, it takes a lot to embarrass me. I’m a self-deprecating goofball by nature, so certain situations are easy for me to shrug off and say “Well, That’s just me…..Let me tell you a worse story about myself…..”

However, I have one story that really had everyone this past Thanksgiving in stitches. It’s something I am never, ever going to hear the end of. My husband doubles over laughing every time he hears it (or tells it!)

I can’t believe I am even sharing this.

I live in a border city and had a dental appointment across the border in the States. This was a new dentist and a new experience for me as I have never sought care outside of Canada before.

I was nervous that morning for a few reasons. I had never driven myself or anyone else across the border before, someone else has always been at the wheel and even with my trusty navigation system, I was terrified of getting lost. Also add to the fact, I suffer from severe anxiety when I am in any kind of situation where there are too many cars and transports. There are reasons I prefer not to drive in any major cities.

To add even more to this feeling of overwhelming stress was the fact that I didn’t have a support system or person to help me or take over the driving if I panicked. Traffic anxiety is not a friend and according to other people, I am not alone in feeling this way. To those who have never experienced it, it’s like being trapped inside a crowded mall at Christmas, feeling uncomfortable and claustrophobic, not knowing where to go, how to get there and your mind starts racing as your heart starts pounding. <—- Like that but with moving vehicles.

Well, I had no choice. I needed to get to this appointment, cavities don’t find themselves.

I went on my way, managed the crossing and the roads without vomiting all over myself. (Yay me!) Had a great appointment with my new dentist (No cavities!) I was feeling pretty good about it all. My mountain had been conquered. Hooray!

On my way home with the sun shining, and the bridge in site, I was mentally giving myself a high five and talking out loud:

“That wasn’t so bad!” ‘You can do this!” “You ARE every woman!” “A Strong, Independent Woman! “Where’s my Destiny’s Child music right now?!”

I was elated.

That’s when it happened.

I went to pay the bridge toll and somehow, as if by magic…. The hazard lights on my Mustang turned on!

Wait? WHAT? How did my hazard lights turn on?

(Hello Lord, Is that you? I’m not in the mood for a practical joke right now….Mmmmm Kay?)

I automatically reached for the spot to my left where I thought the button was, but no. It wasn’t there.

Weird.

I look at the buttons on the steering wheel.

Nope. Not them.

I glance over at my center console.

Nope.

I start blindly smacking around the dash while I drive, accidentally turning my wipers on, I flashed my high beams a few times.

Crap!

I am now DRIVING across the bridge, next to all these transport trucks, smooshed into my tiny lane, hazard lights still flashing for no apparent reason and there is nowhere for me to park and look for the button.

Surrounded by vehicles, on this decrepit bridge, that claustrophobic feeling was starting to press on me again, now its paired with confusion as to how to shut my lights off! No, it wasn’t going to beat me.

‘AHA!’ I thought to myself, trying to calm myself down.

‘The border is always jammed.  I am going to have to wait for at least ten minutes. I will find the button while I wait in line! Problem solved!’

It’s a rational plan.

However, I have no such luck.

The ONE day I’m okay with having to wait….

All lanes are open and most agents free, not a single line to wait in!

Great!

I am now DRIVING up to the border agent with my hazard lights flashing.

I’ve watched Border Security. Now she’s going to think I’m suspicious and I am going to end up in secondary, they are going to find nothing in my car and I’ll end up having an unnecessary cavity search all because I am a dumb blonde who doesn’t know how to work her freakin’ car. With my luck the camera crews for that show would also be there to catch my humiliation.

These thoughts are taking over what little brain I have left, as I casually pull up to the booth. My face beet red, as I smile and toss my hair. Ever so bright and cheerful I greet the agent with a “HI”

She looks at me and as she takes my passport, I can see her looking at my blinking lights, then back to me. She starts by asking me where I live. I tell her, as I blindly touch the dash (I can’t help myself) looking for the damn button. We make it through the usual questions, all while I am fidgeting.

Now, in my head, I know that fidgeting while talking to her is a bad idea, but have you ever been in one of those situations where you know you’re being an idiot and it just doesn’t stop? I am out of control at this point. I just want the damn button OFF! I felt like I was looking down at my body as some entity had taken it over for the sole purpose of making me look stupid. I’m now blaming this entire situation on my earlier pep talk. My brain is telling my body to knock it off and my body is like ‘Nope, can’t hear you!’ It was not the time for an out of body experience.

She gives me the oddest look. I just smile, bat my eyelashes and say:

“Sorry, my hazard lights came on and I don’t know how to shut them off!”

She gives me this long hard look. Seconds. Minutes. Hours tick by…..

(Oh my God, I’ve never done drugs in my life, I follow the rules, I’m an upstanding citizen and now she’s going to think I’m up to something…Damn it Mustang! We’re supposed to be friends!)

She then leans forward to look INTO my car and says “Have you not tried the dash?”

(Oh bless her, she’s going to help!)

“Yup tried that, don’t see it”

“I take it this is a new car?”

I do the math. Five months.

“New enough”

She keeps looking at my center console.

“How about looking right there?”

I glance over to where she’s pointing.

“I looked, I can’t see it”

“Are you SURE you have looked close enough?”

I look again.

“Yup! Not there! I’m just going to pull over and call my husband for help”

She sighs, gives me this look as if to say “Dumb Blonde….First World Problems….I’m not paid enough for this….”

Rolling her eyes at me she passes me my passport and waves me through.

At this point, I was red from head to toe and felt like crying. I was back in my body and boy was I embarrassed!

I drive off with my hazards flashing and make my way to pull into the McDonald’s parking lot.

I park.

I feel like everyone is watching me and wondering why my hazards are on.

I go to grab my cellphone, which had been sitting against the center console….Where I had kept my toll booth money….Which is when the lights turned on…… Wait a minute…..!!!!

I see one of the ‘decorative buttons’ is not ‘in line’ with the rest of the other ‘decorative’ buttons.

I look closer.

There was a symbol on it.

I look closer.

It was a faded triangle.

SON OF A…..

I flick it down.

Lights go off.

Yup.

The cool silver ‘tab-like’ buttons that for whatever reason I thought were ‘decorations’ in my fancy car? Nope. They are actually functioning features.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!!

At this point you have to be thinking one of three things:

This is funny!

You’re a moron!

Crap! Where is the hazard light button on my vehicle?

Well, there are a few lessons you can learn from me:

  • Always know where the hazard lights on your vehicle are. Joking aside, they are important in case of emergency and this should be a no-brainer.

 

  • When you step outside your comfort zone (like driving in a different country or in a big unfamiliar city) know that the feeling of accomplishment is so much better than the fear. The rush is worth it in the end! Whether it’s a large task or something small that causes you to be apprehensive and anxious; Push through that feeling. You can do it!

 

….And most important of all….

There is no such thing as a ‘decorative’ button on a vehicle.

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