"Too Real" Thursday - My Most Embarrassing Thanksgiving

The first Thursday of every month is "Too Real" Thursday here at The Contemps, when YA authors share embarrassing moments from their teen years--moments when life got a little "too real." Today's "Too Real" story comes from debut author Angela Cerrito. Angela's novel, THE END OF THE LINE, about one boy's struggle to survive in a school for troubled youth, comes out this spring. Details are at the bottom of this post, but first, let's enjoy the story of Angela's most embarrassing Thanksgiving.

My university was small, super small, smaller than my high school. At just over 1,000 students (including grad school students) everyone knew everyone.

I spent many weekends my freshman year with my grandfather who lived over an hour away.

We went to his work events. Dressed up, wearing heels, sipping alcohol-free cocktails, I tried to make pleasant conversation. It was fun, even though it felt a bit like acting.

My favorite times with Grandpa were hanging out at his place watching horror movies and pigging out on junk food. (Blood and guts + chocolate-cream pie = fun!)

One Thanksgiving we went to an event – an early champagne brunch at a big fancy place. When we rolled out of there we were so full we didn’t think we’d ever eat again.

At home I changed into comfy clothes—faded sweat pants with a hole in the knee and a baggy shirt. We watched horror movies until early evening and only stopped because we were hungry again. Grandpa’s bachelor pad had no food. There was a two-liter bottle of strawberry 7-Up in the fridge and that was it. No frozen pies. No ice cream. Not even a box of crackers.

So we went out. But this was the olden days, so there wasn’t a 24-hour super market.

“I know a place,” Grandpa said. He parked behind the gas station. I was still dressed in my worn sweat pants and baggy shirt. I’d added torn up sneakers and topped off the outfit by pulling my long frizzy hair into a pony tail. Gorgeous! (Note: I searched long and hard for a photo of me in such a state, really I did!)

Inside the gas station we searched for food. Neither of us was in the mood for sweets (probably the only time ever). Grandpa found a big can of stew. “How about this?”

Perfect. I grabbed a loaf of bread to go with it and we marched to the check-out.

Behind the register was an upperclassman from my school.

We were over an hour away from the university. And I was just an unknown freshman.

But….he recognized me! “You go to Pacific, right?”

I froze thinking of my uncovered zits, frizzy pony-tail, knee sticking out of the tear in my sweats, shoes ready to fall apart. Why did I think it was okay to leave the house like this ---ever? (Oh, how I almost wish I had a photo to share!)

We mumbled a conversation. Grandpa headed outside.

Just as I pulled open the door to leave, the guy said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving!!! It was still Thanksgiving!

I walked to the car with the food, certain he thought that we had just gone shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner.

For those who'd like to see what Angela (and her sister, and her grandfather, Kenneth J. Kelly) looked like during Angela's high school years, here's a pic!

Want to know more about Angela and her book, THE END OF THE LINE? Check out her website: www.SeriousSubjects.com

You can also read her blog, and find her on Facebook. Thanks, Angela!


Lisa Schroeder said...

Ah man, I swear, whenever I run to the store in my worst state, THAT is when I run into someone I know.

Great story, thanks for sharing!

Mindi Scott said...

I'm the same way! Whenever I leave the house in some not-suitable-for-public outfit, I find myself stressing that I'll see someone I know. :-)

kristen tracy said...

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a big can of stew. Mmm. Big can of stew. Also. I think your post serves as an important public service announcement. Convenience stores are a hotbed for awkward social encounters. Seriously, kids, always look respectable when you go to convenience stores. You never know who you'll find near the hotdog turning machine.

Denise Jaden said...

You know, I don't think I'll ever learn. For example, I'm out of the house in public right now in my rattiest jeans and I haven't had a shower since the gym this morning. AND my local paper just ran this story with a huge pic of me, so my whole hometown knows who I am and what I look like. At least I'm in good company with all of you too real people ;)

Kirsten Hubbard said...

awww geez. how embarrassing. that's why I run all my errands in one of those disguises with the glasses and mustache attached. just in case.

Sara said...

One of my favorite things to do the night of Thanksgiving is go to the convenience store for junk food to top me off again. Thanks for sharing, Angela!

April Henry said...

Whenever you look your worst, you can count on someone seeing you. At Costco, I once spotted the VP of HR dressed in shorts and a dirty T-shirt - and then I saw him trying to hide!

Emily Wing Smith said...

Dude, the grocery store. I won't go into it, but yeah--EVERY time I think, "No one else will be out at this absurd hour."

Not pretty. Literally.

Bish Denham said...

Moral of the story...never leave the house in your house rags.

Melissa Walker said...

I JUST went out to get coffee in a hilarious nightshirt-with-sweatpants ensemble, and I thought about this post the whole way! Thanks, Angela!

Michael Northrop said...

Yes: Ugh! I recently bumped into a classmate from my tiny, small-town New England high school on the Upper East Side of NYC. Was I surprised? Was I greasy, unshaven, and bespectacled? A thousand times yes!

I think this post reminds us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving, though: Giving thanks for all the times we go out looking ridunkulous and don't run into someone we know!

courtney summers said...

Great post! I'm the same as Lisa! I swear this is one of those things that people are destined to live through over and over and over. No point in trying to fight it. Except maybe we should all adopt Kirsten's plan. ;)

Angela said...

You guys make me feel so much better about the whole experience...it's nice to know that I'm not alone.

I have adopted a variation of Kirsten's plan....I've stowed the 2 Halloween wigs in my glove box (purple and silver) just in case!

sarahockler.com said...

That's like some kind of Murphy's Law thing right there! If you had gone out in your prom dress, you would've had some random old dude at the cash register instead. Yikes! I think the sweatpants/ponytail/no makeup combo is like a homing beacon for socially awkward moments in public!

Kelli said...

That reminded me of an embarressing story....I was up very late one night working until about 4 am. I had to take my son to school that morning, so got up at 6 and knowing I was just going to come back home and sleep I decided not to change my clothes. I just wore my night shirt (which looked like a big sweat shirt but went almost to my ankles) and my big pink fuzzy slippers to take him to school. I was going to be in the car and just drop him off, no one would notice...WRONG! Car broke down and I had to walk several blocks to the house to change my clothes before the tow truck came...just thought I would make you feel better Angie...By the way, that was absolutley the first time I had ever tried to take my kids to school in my PJ's...never did it before and absolutly will never do it again.

Micol Ostow said...

I live around the corner from my publisher. You'd think this would inspire me to change out of my dirty gym clothes when running errands around the neighborhood - but it SO doesn't!

I have had MANY encounters...

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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