I took the boys down to Wimbledon Common recently and as we wandered around the lake this soaking wet Golden Retriever came bouncing up to me with a tennis ball in its mouth. Wagging its tail, it dropped the tennis ball at my feet and then did the classic – look at me – look at the ball and back to me- motion and barked, you could practically see it smiling. It obviously wanted me to throw the ball so I obliged, threw it a short distance into the lake and off it jumped with a big splash and went doggie paddling after it. The owner came along, a little old lady, we started chatting and she called Snowy back to her – Snowy? Snowy’s the name you give to a rabbit, Snowy’s the name you give to your white fluffy cat but definitely NOT to a golden retriever, (maybe she was colour blind) but anyway ‘Snowy’ retrieved the tennis ball and swam back, climbed out of the water, shook practically the entire contents of Wimbledon Common lake over me and plonked the ball at my feet again.
So whilst chatting to the lady I picked the tennis ball up, called Snowy and threw the ball into the lake again but this time a little bit further…and Snowy looks at me..and looks at my hand…and looks at me…and my hand…with tail wagging away and tongue hanging out… and I said (apparently to the world’s most stupidest dog – with the world’s most stupidest name) LOOK! the balls over there and I pointed to it clearly floating in the water, he stared at my finger and then back to me and back at my pointing finger…bugger…
So I have an idea, I pretend to throw the ball back into the lake and same thing, he glanced at the lake and then continued to watch my hand and I muttered something under my breath about stupid dog and the owner says to me “what about the ball, how was ‘I’ going to get it back?” I looked at her and said “well, it looks like you’ll be getting another ball, Snowy just doesn’t want to play ball (!)” and thought to myself whilst you’re at it you might want to get a dog that actually knows how to play ball and she says “but it was his favourite ball…”. At this moment lots of thoughts occur to me simultaneously; well, what do you want me to do, strip off and swim out to get the stupid ball? And whilst you’re at it, calling a dog Snowy was bad enough but it is even worse that Snowy isn’t a bitch, Snowy was a male – that dog is going to have issues when he grows up… in fact, it probably already has, it probably wanders around Wimbledon Common avoiding all the other dogs because they will only snigger at him.. they probably make catty remarks, oops I mean doggie remarks at him all the time driving him crazy, I can see the headlines in the local papers one day.. ‘local’ dog savages owner…fully justified claims RSPCA. And all these thoughts happened in an instant followed by bugger! Where is the rewind button? Why isn’t there a rewind button somewhere in my life, a ginormous flashing red button with huge big letters saying REWIND and always within easy reach so I can just turn around and press it and rewind the last five minutes…or even the last five years…
This is not the first time I’ve thought this, I’m constantly making foe-paws, sorry, still thinking about Snowy – FAUX PAS… putting my foot in it and generally being very clumsy, the expression we have at home is kack-handed, if it’s breakable then take it away from me..
I’ve really lost count of the number of times I’ve looked for that REWIND button in earnest, (who’s Earnest you’re asking, aren’t you?), a few weeks ago I bought a new pair of jeans from the local shop and wore them out that evening all over London, only to be asked by a woman on the tube at midnight that did I know the sales labels were still attached to the back and hanging out….ouch… I cringed and tried telling her I was trying to start a new fashion but neither of us looked convinced… Since I couldn’t find the big rewind button (yet again!) I got off at the next stop..
A long long time ago I was debriefed in front of the entire teenage population of my home town, I’ve blogged about it here The Sunday Observance Committee (and my manhood) and as my fishing tackle swung in the breeze I wished and wished and wished for a rewind button…
That wasn’t the last time Joe Public has had the pleasure of admiring my naked flesh. I went to Portland, OR, last year and I had to fly to Vancouver and then catch a small commuter flight from there to Portland. An easy two hour hop, however, I drank a lot of water on the previous flight and the flight was running late so I just managed to get on the connecting flight but wasn’t able to visit the loo beforehand. Not a problem, even small turbo prop planes have loo’s, so about twenty minutes into the flight I nipped to the loo. It was at the front of the plane near the pilots but a loo’s a loo when you’re desperate. There was some minor turbulence (and not just from my jippy tummy) so I sat down and as I’m using the loo we hit a massive air pocket, the whole plane judders and I’m holding on for dear life – as the cubicle door suddenly and violently swings open and the twenty other by now quite startled passengers get a clear view of me sitting on the toilet holding on for dear life. I shit myself (almost literally) and desperately try to make a grab for the door which was by now fully open and swinging in the breeze – which by co-incidence was exactly what my private parts were doing. Even worse, I had to stand up to grab the door and well, it was not a pretty sight. I quickly finished up and went back to my seat but there was a Mexican wave of sniggering as I walked shamefully down the cabin. I have to tell you, those remaining 60 minutes of that flight was the longest longest longest 60 minutes of my life, I couldn’t wait to get off that flight, I’m telling you, if there had been parachutes on-board I would have grabbed one and jumped, I was mortified and once again, no big rewind button in sight!
However, I am comforted in the fact that I have not cornered the market in making embarrassing mistakes, a friend of mine thought he would take his mum to see Jane Eyre the other day so he rang up the flicks and as he was in a rush he just asked for two of the most expensive seats available. So he pitched up there with his mum, got his tickets from the machine on the wall and went to find his seats only to discover that the two seats he bought for his mum and himself were ‘courting seats’. It was the row at the back of the cinema, the seats are in pairs and have no armrests between them… and the cinema was full so he had to sit there amongst all the other courting couples with his mum and try to enjoy the movie.
He says he felt ‘very’ uncomfortable and as he looked around he got some strange looks from the other patrons and he wondered just what were they thinking.. After the advertisements and previews finished but before the movie started the concession lady came around with the usual assortment of icecream/crisps/sweets and he said in a rather loud voice “would you like some sweets MUM?” hoping everyone else would understand that the rather mature lady beside him was his mum and not that he was into dating woman literally old enough to be his mum – but unfortunately this had the opposite effect and made things worse as the concession lady gave him a shocked look that said ‘YOU’RE SHAGGING YOUR MUM???’ Press the rewind button please!
So, life’s rewind button, where is it and the big question I ponder is, if there was one would I actually use it? The thing is, I quite like who I am and I think all the mistakes and faux-pas I’ve made in my life only go to make me a better person. Oscar Wilde once said “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes” and Igor StravinskyI said “I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge” and despite the more embarrassing mistakes of my life I still think I agree. If I/we all had our own personal life rewind button then would we be pressing it all the time – and maybe I have, maybe there is some future alternative me that pressed the rewind button back for about ten years and I’m getting to live everything all over again, and probably make the same mistakes again. And I’m sure that future me quite liked who he is/was ..and I think we learn just as much – if not more from our mistakes as well as our successes, so if we all lived ‘perfect fault free lives’ then perhaps this would diminish us, not make our personalities as rounded as they are.. all very complicated, now my brain hurts, where’s the rewind button?