Things are going great. My book is with my agent. I’ve got to a stage where I think, heck, maybe I’m not so bad at this writing lark after all. Blimey, even my hair’s looking pretty okay these days, despite the extensive chlorine damage inflicted from a 4-day-a-week swim training commitment. (I’ve signed up for a triathlon – that’s what happens when you drink too much Cointreau on a Saturday night. Be warned…)
But, thing is, while it’s all very exciting, while my fingers are crossed solid for a very successful 2014 writing wise, here’s the thing: some things never change. I am still me. I still mess up royally. I still fall on my backside after tripping over on NOTHING. I fall off ski lifts BEFORE I get on them. I have kids who puke on me. I have knees that (literally) creak when I go up stairs. And that – those things – they are the funnies that keep everything real. Because life is bloody funny. And messy. And wholly nuts. And we should ALWAYS laugh at ourselves, because, otherwise, we end up taking ourselves far too seriously.
So, to that end, here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago about something hilarious I did. By mistake. Something nuts and daft and very, very funny. Like I said, we should always laugh at ourselves. Though, it seems I make this task easier than most…
So, to the story. One day, let us say three years ago, we were returning from a brief family trip away. At the time our girls were aged 7 and 5 and at an age when we needed to stop at the delightful motorway services for a nature break or three. My bladder never quite being the same after two babies (sorry, men folk), I also needed to stop. The girls having now falling asleep, we agreed that I would nip out to use the facilities and run back.
Now, it is important to point out here that I was , even then, in the iron-grip of writing and had a deadline to meet for a Guardian travel writing competition. Needless to say, I was keen to get out and get in with maximum speed and with my skirt not in my knickers.
All goes well. I run in, do what I need to do, and then, my mind on the Guardian job, I sprint out of the automatic doors and into the car park. Scanning the cars, my impatient autopilot kicks in, and, spotting our red Freelander, I peg it over and, hauling the door open, throw my self on to the passenger seat panting, ‘Come on! Let’s get a move on!’ Now, I don’t know about you, but do you know that dream when you are walking somewhere and then you look down and you are completely naked, in the nuddy, and you feel a wave of mortification wash over you? Can you recall that feeling? Well, this feeling is what came over me when, glancing from the corner of my eye I notice that the car seats in the back are different to my girls’ seats. Strange. And then my eyes fall to the seat covers – leather. What the? Ours are fabric. And then it hits me. I am in the wrong car. The wrong car.
I look up to see a man, mid-forties, balding, frowning, staring at me, mouth agape, finger, probably, hovering over 999. ‘OhmigodI’msorry!’ I blurt, and, faster than you can say, ‘naked dream’, I am out of that car and breathing like a phantom caller in a film sketch scanning the parking lot like a crazy woman.
When I eventually locate our family car, my husband and girls are in fits of laughter, the whole sorry episode not having missed their unforgiving eyes, and it has made their day. ‘Mum got into a strange man’s car!’ they yelp. ‘Just drive,’ I mutter. But it is a good five minutes before we can leave because my husband is laughing too much for his eyes to focus.
Any “funnies” of your own that keep things real for you? Do anything daft on a regular basis? Come on, fess up
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**