Backstory: My children talk to me all day long. They just keep talking, all the time. So they're often talking to me when I'm focused on something else, so I find myself saying, "What, Sweetie?" a zillion times a day.
Story: So I was in class on Monday, passing back quizzes or distributing a handout, slightly preoccupied with my task, when off from my right side I hear someone say something or ask question, but I don't really process what was said. So, I say . . . (wait for it)
Now, maybe this wouldn't be embarrassing or weird if I were about 65 and/or if my students were about seven, but since I'm 40 (ish), and since the student was a 20ish young man, I was mortified and felt as if I had just broken some kind of harrassment law.
He shrugged it off, rather unfazed, but I'm sure I turned a special shade of fuchsia. I apologized--over all of the giggling and guffawing--and explained my daily habit with the kids.
Amazingly, I was able to gather my wits and move on, with some degree of my dignity intact. But only barely, since I felt like everyone was looking at me, thinking I was some kind of frumpy Mrs. Robinson wannabe*.
*Well, at least that's what they would be thinking if they knew who Mrs. Robinson is.