22 October 2007

A Church Camp I Won't (Be Able To) Forget

I have spent the weekend on a church camp. It was a great camp with heaps of awesome activities and fantastic company, but a few things happened to severely try my patience and self-control.

After one or two of these incidents, I wanted to run away and hide. By Saturday night I thought it would be best for the poor children if I resigned as their mother. And by Sunday morning I was thinking maybe I should start going to a different church.

Here is a short list of the major hassles and incidents:

  • The country setting was lovely but that meant there were bazillions of flies. They had gathered in plague proportions to lounge around on every available area of our arms, legs and faces.
  • Chubbity Bubbity slept dreadfully. Deep in the darkness hours after much broken sleep I simply held her in my arms and looked into her bright beady eyes as I wept desperately for more sleep.
  • Sonny Ma-Jiminy had his normal number of tantrums but I was completely unable to manage his behaviour like I do at home. This was because on camp I usually had Chubbity Bubbity in one arm while using the other arm to hold a plate, a bib, a spoon and swat away flies.
  • I left the washing liquid out of my laundry box during a moment when all three of my hands were busy. Sonny Ma-Jiminy took a quick swig after his shower and started coughing and burping up what sounded like gallons of gurgly, bubbly air. “It’s a-scusting!" he cried. "Yuck! That drink has a weird taste!” I held him up to the basin while he drank and drank and drank (and gacked up some bubbles and froth). No lasting damage, but I felt terrible for failing to lock the washing liquid back up in my laundry box earlier.
  • My only pair of warm jeans got soaked while I was showering ...
  • ... and I sat on a small puddle of spilt chocolate milk in my only pair of half-warm jeans …
  • … and therefore also ran out of clean knickers.

Oh yes, I forgot one.

  • I flashed my Naked Self to the campsite and the World At Large.

It was this totally mortifying flashing incident on Saturday afternoon that broke the metaphorical camel’s back.

It happened like this. In the middle of our dormitory block, there was a bathroom with disabled access. It was a very large room with a toilet in one corner and a shower in the other with no walls in between.

I’m getting good at showering with Chubbity Bubbity now so I decided that she would shower with me on Saturday afternoon. I lay a beach towel down in the middle of the bathroom floor for her to lie on and undressed her and wrapped her up in a towel. I then showered myself and after that I picked her up and cuddled her close in the shower. You can’t get a slippery baby completely clean in the shower but you can have a nice close cuddle and she always seems to enjoy licking the drips of water while showering with her mummy.

The next step was to put her back on her beach towel and wrap her warmly in her bath towel so she could happily kick around while I dried and dressed myself. I reached for my bath towel and as I did, I slipped a little bit on the wet tiles. I automatically stretched my arm out to steady myself, and found myself pressing on the door that connected with outside.

Its latch was a bit dodgy.

The door clicked open and slowly swung outwards as my Naked Self stood aghast watching the door swing wider and wider. I was dumbly aware that each passing second of inaction revealed more … and more … and horribly more of my dripping wet Naked Self to the campsite, the Outside World and the few huddles of friends and church acquaintances who had gathered about 20 metres away in the rotunda.

My towel was not close enough to grab without having to flash across the open doorway and I desperately needed to halt the steady progress of the swinging door if I ever was to shut the stupid thing without having to emerge too far out from the bathroom. I made a quick decision and plunged into The Outside World as quickly as I could and wrenched the beastly door firmly shut.

I stood there in dumb amazement. What on earth? Did that really just happen? Was this one of those awful naked-in-public dreams? Or was it a horrifyingly real moment that my sub-conscious will draw on for inspiration for future awful naked-in-public dreams? It all seemed a bit unreal as Chubbity Bubbity smiled up at me from her towel on the floor, unaware how absolutely mortifying that moment was for me.

Humiliated, Chubbity and I emerged from our dorm ten minutes later. I spoke confidently to people over dinner hoping that my laughs and smiles hid my concern. Nobody mentioned anything about it at all and I hoped that perhaps - just perhaps - this meant that nobody saw my mortifying moment in the first place.

But I’ll never know for sure whether my Naked Self was seen by young children, half my friends and a handful of elderly church people – or not!

And I don’t ever want to know!


Crazy Sister said...

Wow. Best to move on from that one completely in denial and be content knowing you've set the bench mark for a lot of people like me to put our own disasters in perspective.

The closest I've come to being that embarassed was the Great Disabled Toilet Incident of 94, but even then, I was just the person crawling under the partition, not the one actually on the loo.

But I can list some more of YOUR most embarassing moments - the time I walked into your classroom wearing only a singlet and undies and holding a bag of sultanas, the time you noisily dropped an empty soft drink can on a sloping shopping centre floor and I hissed hysterically, "Look what you've DONE!"

Ok, I guess I shouldn't have reminded you of either of those since they don't portray me very well, but in my defence, I was three in the classroom incident, and there couldn't have been more than twenty people whipping around to stare in the shopping centre.

I'd like to point out that I had NOTHING to do with the Great Anniversary Cake Disaster. I think Mum would have a picture of that. Didn't Fred Flintstone wind up on top of that?

Givinya De Elba said...

I don't remember the shopping centre incident - I think I need some more details.

I think the Embarrassment Cortex in my brain has been disabled from years of systematic overuse, because none of the incidents you mentioned hold any embarrassment for me. Not even the Great Anniversary Cake Disaster - that just proves I'm a dreadful cook. And that's hardly a secret, and I'm hardly by myself in a world full of bad cooks.

I'm sure however that there are plenty more of my embarrassing moments you could recall that I've repressed?

Try me, and I'll see if my Embarrassment Cortex has indeed been fried out. It mustn't be completely gone because showing my Naked Self to the world certainly did it for me. But it's certainly not functioning all that well, because I haven't had any mortifying Naked-In-Public dreams as you'd expect.

Anonymous said...

The whole incident brings a particular emotional/psychological issue to the fore. You see, Chubbity Bubbity would have been entirely untroubled by running outside to close the door (If in fact she was big enough to physically do it!). And she will probably remain that way for some years.

Then you get the puberty "NO-ONE LOOK AT ME" super-modesty kick in. That seems to last for some time. I can now (in my 30's) wear deep vee necklines in public, for example.

I've been grudgingly OK with pap-smear tests since I've been married. (Limited audience I would agree.)

I have friends with kids who don't care anymore because everyone in the hospital seemed to want a look at some very private places during childbirth.

On the other hand, some of those friends are more freaked out by showing skin due to the additional amount of body created as a result of that same pregnancy process.

Perhaps someone needs to work out a computer model for degree of embarassment at exhibiting your naked self. It should consider such factors as age; sex; marital status; number of children; weight; type of swimwear preferred; etc. Then we would be able to score the deficit of your embarrassment cortex compared to some Australian norm.

My uncle is a statistician. Does that help?