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Thoughts

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Underwear Girl

Caitlin Rance

 

It was the Summer of 2013. My best friend and I got picked up by my mom in Michigan after completing a Summer program, and drove East to New York.  More specifically, Rochester, New York. It was the type of Summer that required fans blowing throughout the day and into the night. I remember how heavy and sticky everything felt. No matter what you did—it was hot. We often found ourselves at cafes and grocery stores. Aimlessly killing time just for the air conditioning alone. We could never get used to the heat. After all, we're Floridians. People who live in a humid scorching climate but almost never truly experience it. We're blessed by never really having to go without air conditioning for more than a few minutes (when you're moving from your car or bus to a building.)

We spent a few days in Rochester before eventually making our way to the city where our Summer would regrettably come to a close. I remember it so clearly. Our flight was a 6am flight. We wanted to get into the city with a full day ahead of us, so waking up around 4am didn't seem like that big of a feat. Of course when the alarm clock went off in that hot room it was both a relief and a curse as we were stilled stuck in that almost getting into a deep sleep just to be pulled out phase of our R.E.M. cycle.

Bags already packed the night before, we simply just had to throw on some clothes. Now, when you're 16 years old and absolutely care about what everyone thinks, you dress—in what your mind you truly believe—to impress. So, as an insecure but semi-fashion conscious 16 year old, I opted for a white t-shirt, a flowy mini skirt with nothing underneath but underwear with random words plastered all over, and a pair of simple black sandals I bought from the Urban Outfitters back in Ann Arbor. I was, in my mind, ready for my Miley Cyrus Party in the USA meets NYC Summer trip. Admittedly, I think I was pretty cute. I had done this exact number a few times over, so I sort of knew what I was doing. Or at least I thought I did. 

Flash-forward to the airport. It was a Monday morning and absolutely teeming with people. So much so, the line for security did one of those wrap-arounds that makes your heart stop when you're cutting it close to a flight. Now mind you, Rochester is a wonderful bustling city—which at one point was the home to Kodak. However, Rochester, a place many a Summer was spent growing up, was not an airport security wrap-around type of place. Or at least, that's what we had always seemed to believe. Because of our rookie mistake, we were now the quintessential group you always see at an airport that starts to have a semi-breakdown about missing a flight. I think we might have gotten some special allowance to bypass a lot of people to get through security, but it was not all roses and daisies. As we fussed with getting everything off and into plastic scuffed up bins used 100 times over, we could hear our names being called out over the speakers. One thing lead to another, and before I knew it, I spotted my friend and started the mad dash to our gate. 

"WE'RE HERE! WE'RE HERE!!" I remember yelling, so out of breathe I literally felt like I was going to die. You know that feeling if you've ever had to rush for basically anything. Ever. 

Annoyed looking airport workers motioned to the door, and we, without missing a beat, scurried down that makeshift hall and onto the small two-seats-a-row plane. While we were met with (in my mind) overly-annoyed looking faces, I couldn't help but feel blessed to know we'd made it. Finding our seats, we sat down...only to realize one thing: we were missing my MOM. I sat for a few moments, hoping and praying she would run onto the plane like a pure movie and we'd be off, laughing over breakfast about how at least one thing had to go a little haywire in an hours time. Then there was the second thought of wondering if I should just stay put on the plane. If the plane were to take off without her, then we'd see her in New York, simple as that.

P.S. I know, who was I?

Finally, I came to the decision to go up to the flight attendant. A mature thing to do in my eye.

"My mom's not on this flight and she's supposed to be on this FLIGHT." I think by the end of my sentence, my maturity started to waver and I became a 16 year old who still couldn't drive without an adult and very much so needed an adult in this situation.

"Well, do you wanna get off?" replied the flight attendant (who frankly couldn't care what happened.)

Going back and forth for a few seconds, I eventually replied with an unconvincing, "Uhhh...yeah, yeah I think so," followed by a nod and a swift turn back to my seat to collect my things and friend. 

I walked back to our row where my exhausted looking friend sat (most likely hoping and praying we got to stay on the flight we just ran an olympic style marathon for in our cities finest.) But nope. I quickly replied, "we're getting off." And we did just that. 

It was an absolutely mortifying experience to walk off a plane we had just mad-dashed to get on. Another part of this lesson you'll soon come to learn. 

As soon as we walked out of the attached hallway and back to our gate, I spotted my mom (of course!), looking pissed as hell and fully exhausted. Something to do with a lost item at security, and our mad dash seemed to put Cathy in a horrible state of mind. However, after confirming a new flight within the hour, all the built up energy seemed to dissipate. We grabbed some overpriced water, probably a donut form the makeshift Dunkin Donuts, and moved to a new gate where some much needed seats were waiting for us. 

As I went to sit down, I felt a bit of coolness from behind.

Hmm. That's weird, I thought.

I reached back, to see what the fuss was all about only to realize one of the worst fears actualized happening behind me.

My skirt had been thoroughly tucked into my colorful wordy-underwear. Like fully tucked. As in, my ass and quirky underwear that was totally purchased when I was in middle school, was out for the world to see. How long had it been? Was my trusted party oblivious to my situation the whole time—security and everything? Or had some awful God from above cursed me with this situation in between the mad-dash and security?

Regardless: People. Saw. EVERYTHING. (P.S.E. for short)

I quickly unstuffed the stuffed situation happening, and revealed my embarrassing situation to my party. Instant laughter filled the airport, and I couldn't help but laugh too. It was HILARIOUS after all. Utterly hilarious.

Looking back, I realized I had gotten some pretty weird stares—both on the plane as I walked up and down that aisle, and as we walked out of that plane and back into the airport.It was busy, like I said, and honestly, for a Monday morning, I'm sure I was the best entertainment anyone was gonna get all day. I was happy to unknowingly oblige I guess. 

I'm almost positive that everyone who saw my ass and embarrassing underwear collectively decided to remember me as: Underwear Girl

I don't know when or how that situation happened, but I always like to look back at that situation with a smile. Yes, besides eating shit, that's definitely up there in some of the more embarrassing things to experience while in a busy place. However, there was never a prolonged feeling of embarrassment, because I learned something very quickly that day: I was never going to see any of those people who saw my ass ever again, so what was the point of replaying the situation or killing myself over it? 

Instead, I have a funny story to tell, and I hope they do too.

If you ever do something insanely embarrassing in public, fuck up a presentation at school, mess up your order at Starbucks... or even if there's something you wanna do—like take some photos, shoot a video, dance, re-enact something, etc. Just do it. You will most likely never see any of those people ever again. Even when it comes to school, you eventually leave. When it comes to your local Starbucks, baristas change.

You will be okay.