1. When you made a complete 180 in the street like a maniac.
So you were tired. It hadn’t even hit 9am yet and you were tired. So you found yourself one block past the subway station you’ve only been using every day for eight years now. So what? You poked your head out from under your hood, noticed the blunder you made, and after murmuring a faint “oh shit,” you stopped dead in your tracks — facilitating a collision between you and the person behind you — and you did the unthinkable: you turned around, disturbing the steady flow of human traffic, and you started marching against the current. No one noticed, right? Wrong. Aside for that guy you physically collided with, there were actually a whole host of people who noticed this — some you didn’t even notice yourself. It’s what happens when you singlehandedly disrupt the ebb and flow of a morning commute. Plus, human U-turns are not built for subtlety.
2. When your fly was down all day.
One of the few things that can make you blush in the privacy of your own home, a day-long fly mishap is one of those conspicuous oversights that spare no one. Not you, nor any of your coworkers who spent the majority of their day trying to figure out a polite and non-suicidal-inducing way to tell you that the zipper guarding your crotch area is undone. Of course they wanted to tell you; who wouldn’t want to put themselves out of unceasing misery? It’s just that they thought about it for awhile — what did you think that “staff meeting minus you” was about anyway? — and came to the conclusion that it would be easiest to let you discover this on your own.
3. When you were out shopping and pretended not to notice that you let that garment fall to the ground.
It’s not simply that the sales people or the store manager or even the girl working at the cashier happened to see this, but rather that it is their job to see this. Their occupation — métier, line of work, what have you — requires that they tactfully and discreetly watch your every move. When you turned around to check if anyone saw and the two sales girls were lunging in unison, you should not have felt relieved. The lunges were a cover. You were right to be paranoid.
4. Your snot bubble.
It always starts the same way. It’s morning and you’re rushing. About 2/3 of your coffee has spilt onto your hand and wrist and, with nary a napkin in sight, is now bleeding into your pores while also forming a nice, sticky film on your skin. Even though it’s freezing out, you’re most likely overheated and, well…what does that mean? It means an overabundance of bodily fluids we spend GOOD money to stifle. It means that, despite the cold, there is a burgeoning puddle of sweat settling in nicely on your upper lip. And, finally, it means your nose is beyond the point of being tamed. So next time you sprint down the subway steps, just make it onto the train, start wheezing a bit, and, as you begin to catch your breath, lock eyes with an enormous snot bubble that your nostril is currently giving birth to, just remember: everyone saw. It might be early, but that has absolutely no bearing on a snot bubble’s visibility. And in case you didn’t catch it, yours was voluminous.
5. When you waved at someone who did not wave back.
“Is that who I think it is…” you thought to yourself, giggles beginning to bubble up, as you noticed that girl you pretty much spent your entire Saturday night with — and whose name you can’t remember for the life of you — approaching from up ahead. “Hey! Hey girl!” you said, waving and pulling your hood off of your head as her and her friend got closer. “How funny!” you were about to say, “You, on your way from the L train; me, on my way to it!” until you began to notice a strange look on her face — strained, actually, was more like it, as she took pains to figure out why you look so familiar and evidently came to the conclusion that she must not know you at all. But you kept at it; in fact, you maintained that overzealous grin as she walked right by you and gradually faded into the distance. “Well that was painful,” you muttered; yet so too was this painful for everyone else around you. Painful to watch you get unnoticed in what felt like slow motion, and painful to observe your bright and cheery expression dissolve into a sad and lonely one.
6. When you ordered the same large pizza for the fourth night in a row.
You’d be lying if you said you hadn’t hesitated before clicking the “reorder” button on Seamless. But “who am I kidding?” you told yourself. “As if I’m that special. I bet they get over 100 orders a day — there’s no way they’ll actually remember.” And while the effort on your part to justify this practically pathological behavior was certainly valiant, it was also very much in vain. Because, if you would’ve just given me one second to answer your “who am I kidding?” question, I would have told you, “Yourself.” That is, you’re kidding yourself. 100 orders a day? This isn’t Moda Operandi; it’s Frank’s Pizza Joint and it has two stars on Yelp.
Oh they remember you alright. And they wanted me to tell you to please stop putting smiley faces into the “Special Instructions” box. It’s not cute.
7. When that embarrassing thing that fell out of your bag.
Maybe it was your Vagisil. Or perhaps a clip-on hair piece. Perhaps it was that laminated wallet-sized picture of Harry Styles you never leave home without or a pair of dirty underwear. Whatever it was that fell, they saw. And — not to worry; by “they” I just mean everyone.