(It happens: sometimes that filter in our head bursts and we say too much of what we’re thinking and someone gets hurt. Tell us about a time you or someone you know said something that they immediately regretted. )
Just one time? Are you kidding me?
I’m a talker. My work requires me to talk. When I was a history and English teacher, I talked. And I talk on here, only in print. Talk too much, and eventually you’re going to say something you shouldn’t. Probably several somethings. I’m getting better. I don’t let things slide out of my mouth as often as I used to. Ethical and legal confidentiality have been very good for me.
I do remember one incident in which I truly wanted nothing more than for the ground to open and swallow me up. I can’t be specific, because even though I’ve moved away from where this happened, the people are still alive and possibly even reading my blog.
I’d gone into the school office to pick up some paperwork. The part-time secretary was seated at her desk, and as I turned to leave, she stopped me. She was visibly upset, and said she needed to talk but that I couldn’t tell a soul what it was about.
No, of course not, says I. Go right ahead. Trust me. . . .
And she did. Silly woman. I commiserated with her, assured her of my care and support, and went blithely back down to my classroom. Of course, I was thinking about what she had just said.
So when I met another teacher, a very good friend, we stopped to chat. She asked me if I’d seen the secretary, and did I think the secretary looked upset this morning? And I opened my mouth, and it all came spilling out like lava from Vesuvius.
Horrified, I slapped my hand over my mouth. What on earth just happened? WHAT?? I can’t believe I did that! Didn’t mean to, didn’t plan to, would give anything to take it all back. Oh no!
I begged my friend to NOT follow my example, and I hot-footed it back to the office. I’ve never felt so small, so stupid, so incredibly inept in all my life. I had to confess what I’d done. There was no excuse, no explanation. I was actually in tears. I said how sorry I was and asked her to please forgive me. She didn’t say a word. “Angry” doesn’t even come close. Her face went white, then red. She left the office, and I just wanted to disappear.
I have no idea if she ever forgave me for what I had done. She left the job shortly after this incident, never having spoken to me again.
I would like to say that my blurting had cured me forever. It certainly has had a strong influence! The minute I read this prompt idea, that’s where my memory took me. Felt it all again, just the same as the day it happened.