It had been a good day, one of those busy but satisfying ones. I was volunteering last week at a student convention in Somerset, hundreds of teenagers and their heroic teachers come together for competition, friendship, sugar overloads and no sleep; what more could they ask for?
For most of my time there I was floor manager for the theatre where the students were performing one act plays, monologues, famous speeches and more. My job was to get the performers in the right place at the right time, control the audience and chivvy the judges. Towards the end of a very busy day the judges told me how much they enjoyed having me overseeing the event; I was complimented on how smoothly things ran, how effectively I managed the audience and how much easier their job was with me there.
After the last performance I had an hour to spare, so I headed back to my room for a shower. I have to say, I was feeling pretty good, grateful for the day and pleased about how my skills transferred into a very different environment from my regular work. What I didn't tell you was that the entire event was hosted a very prestigious private school with amazing facilities and I was housed, with my wife, in the student accommodation. Our room was two single beds, a sink, two desks and two wardrobes, but no en-suite. The shower was down the hall, past gentle people and children whose innocence is more or less still in tact.
I set off with a spring in my step and was pleased that my strategy of an early shower paid off; I had the room to myself, no queue or awkward teenagers to deal with. Try not over visualise the next bit as it isn't too pretty. I am under the shower, soaped up and washing my hair; it was at this point the comedy began. I needed to dab my eyes as I was still wearing my contacts, I reached out for the towel... The towel, oh, the towel, the towel on the radiator in my room. I was so far past the point of no return that I finished showering, I couldn't get any wetter.
The key in a crisis is to weigh your options rather than freak out about what might happen. I could make a run for it, but that wasn't going to go so well. Get dressed whilst soaking wet in the same way my sons used to when they were about eight; not so good when you are in a suit; that left me with one final option - the underwear.
Yes I towelled myself down with...Oh you get the picture, enough said. I made it back to the room, redressed and only my wife was privy to my adventure. Why am I sharing this with you, is it an exercise in humiliation or resourcefulness in a crisis? Nothing so sophisticated; the point is, we are all just one step from stupid.
Smart people do stupid things sometimes, the key is to come to terms with that reality and not define ourselves according to our moments of madness or some unrealistic dream of unstoppable competence. It is healthy to recognise our frailties and to laugh at ourselves sometimes, what's more we should extend the courtesy of not judging others according to their momentary lapses in sanity.
When did you last pay an unexpected visit to Stupidville? Don't be afraid of your momentary madness, learn from it, remember we are neither as good as our successes or as bad as our failures. We are all on this journey called life and every day is a brand new opportunity to make the best of what we have, even if some of what we have is what we got wrong.
Go well my friend.
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