Okay, so this was about the most awkward situation I've been in over the last decade (yes, even more awkward than getting an erection during my dermatology full body skin exam last week - WAY more). It also positioned itself squarely in the middle of my medfet, and I'm not sure how to process it.
As mentioned before, I moved into a new community/new town last year and had to get a fresh start on all sorts of things. I did have one existing friend / co-worker (let's call her "Toni") who lives in the nearby town (I live out in the country, about 15-20 minutes away). Anyway, she invited me to a party at her house last night - some of her co-workers and people from her neighborhood. No real agenda, she and her husband have these types of parties about once a month. It was to be a pretty laid back affair - catered BBQ and a couple of kegs of Belgian beer.
By the time I showed up the party was well underway. They have a big house in a neighborhood of big houses, and there were probably a dozen cars parked out front. I went in and went to the bar that my Toni's husband had built in their basement. I was on my second been when my Toni came running up to me and gave me a big hug. She was obviously already "feeling good" and said that she wanted to introduce me to some folks. After meeting about a half-dozen people, she introduced me to her next door neighbor "Rachel." Rachel is a short, petite, athletically built brunette - about my age. She looked very familiar, but I couldn't place her. Anyway, small talk and my friend whisked me a way to meet some other folks. Despite being introduced to probably 30 people, I kept thinking about Rachel - I felt that I knew her from somewhere. You know how it is, you see a stranger in a crowd or at the airport and you think that they could be someone you knew 20 years ago, but you just can't place them.
After an hour or so, I stepped outside to get some air, and Toni came out a minute or two later to see how I was doing. After some small talk, I mentioned that Rachel looked familiar. I asked about her and tried to find some intersection where our paths might have crossed before, but couldn't come up with anything. So, I let it drop. Toni, however, wanted to make sure that I felt welcome and made some new friends, so evidently, after we went back inside she made her way over and said something to Rachel, because about 15 minutes after coming back inside, Rachel walked over and struck up a conversation.
I said "Forgive me - This may seem weird, but you look so familiar and I just can't place where we might have met before."
She smiled and said "I work at Dr. So & So's office and..." She kept speaking but I wasn't hearing her. My throat went dry, my knees got weak, and my head started to spin. Clear as day - she was the CMA at my dermatology appointment last week! A flock of butterflies took flight in my stomach and I looked for a place to sit down. Rachel took me by my arm and asked if I was okay and I said "Yeah, sorry, just got a bit light headed." I chuckled and indicated the beer mug in my hand and made a comment about Belgian beer being stronger than I expected.
Anyway, we sat down on a nearby sofa and she asked me again if I was okay - and I assured her that I would be - despite the fact that most of the blood in my head had rushed to my pants. She left and got me a cup of water. I drank it down and after a moment or two of silence, I cleared my throat, smiled and chuckled a bit. I said "Seems that you're in the habit of bringing me water when things get a little awkward. Thank you." She smiled and said something along the lines of "My pleasure - and it's not awkward." I replied "well, maybe not for you" which made her laugh. Then she said "seriously, don't beat yourself up - stuff happens." At that point Toni and her husband came over and the conversation shifted, and other folks joined in.
As it was getting late, Rachel said her good-byes to Toni and her husband. She came up to me and told me that she enjoyed meeting me and that she hoped to see me again. After she left, Toni asked me if I ever figured out where I had met Rachel and I confessed only that "I saw her at the doctor's office where she works."
I should mention that Toni and her husband had invited several of us who live outside of the neighborhood to crash out at their place - a good idea with all of the alcohol that was flowing. Anyway, as I lay on the sofa in their basement, before I drifted off to sleep, I kept going over in my mind all the possibilities of having met Rachel outside of the doctor's office. I kept wondering what was going through her mind - how close were she and Toni? Would she give Toni any hint of what had happened during my appointment? I doubt it, but who knows? Will she say something at the office on Monday - perhaps telling the PA or one of her fellow CMAs about running into me over the weekend - not necessarily mention me by name, but just saying "hey, remember that patient I told you about last week that got an erection during his skin exam? Well guess what...?" Probably not, I know... but again, who knows? When did she recognize me at Toni's party? And when she did, did her mind go back to that most awkward moment in the exam room?
Thinking about how small this small town is, I can't help but wonder. I mean, I know that she's a professional, but she's also human. Maybe she's right - maybe in her line of work it's no big deal. Maybe her patients are anonymous outside of the exam room - or maybe they're not. Maybe she met me tonight as one of Toni's co-workers, or maybe she met me as the guy who was standing naked in front of her last week with a massive erection. Regardless, the uncertainty - and the embarrassment - is, well, exquisite.
Until next time - Fred.