Have you ever had an opportunity to just sit back and think about some of the more embarrassing moments of your life? I don’t often do that, as most of those instances are immediately blocked from my memory. Recently however, I did dwell on something that happened four years ago, and it was only through a topical conversation with a friend, the memory made it to the frontal lobes of my mind.
Four years ago, while travelling through Namibia, one of my favourite countries, I stopped in the aptly named, desert town of Solitaire. I was surprised how, after hours of driving through nothing but desert, this oasis had emerged with many modern amenities.
An up-to-date gas station, clean toilets and a massive restaurant filled with paraphernalia and decor pertaining to cars, travellers, knickknacks and any anecdotal ‘stuff’ the owners seemed to enjoy. I sat down and ordered a meal and afterward, decided to head to the men’s room to wash up. My guide Altus, warned me not to follow my natural instincts while I was there. Having absolutely no idea what he was talking about, I continued on.
Once inside, I was surrounded by hundreds of decals from all over the world, plastered on every conceivable space available. On one wall however, were two floor to ceiling artist renditions of Adam and Eve. It was a strange addition, and a bit out of character. After I washed my hands, I noticed two appropriately placed fig leaves, each with a small sign on them. It read, ‘Do not lift’, which naturally tweaked my curiosity.
Being all alone I decided to risk fate, and upon lifting the fig leaf, I stared at a small sign that simply said ‘Gotcha’. Not very funny, I thought and returned to my table. As I walked through the large restaurant, several other patrons (about 35 altogether), were staring at me and laughing. Subconsciously I checked my face, to see if there was something on it, but found nothing out of the ordinary, so I sat, ready to enjoy my meal.
A minute or two later, extremely loud bells began echoing though the establishment, followed by sirens and other noisemakers. I looked around puzzled, thinking there was a fire, or major catastrophe. I looked at Altus, and asked him what was going on. Laughingly he said, “I guess someone else was curious about the fig leaf.” I realized what had happened, as I was not able to hear any of those noises from within the bathroom.
I left in a hurry, hid my head under my hat and slouched down in the car until we were well away from the desert town of Solitaire. Another one of those moments, I am trying to forget.