I did a few things whilst I was in New Zealand that I'm ashamed to admit to.
I drank too much and danced exuberantly, surrounded by teenagers*, on Christmas Eve.
I refused to hug a good friend goodbye because he had swine flu and I didn't want to risk catching it**.
I - once again - had a minor freak out over some sheep***.
I attended a dance class with my parents****.
I don't know what sort of reaction you're having right now, but if it's anything like mine, you're staring at the screen in horror, trying desperately to work out why and how such an event may have transpired, and probably regretting reading it (or writing it, if you're me). I know I don't need to be telling you this, but - well. I have the dual problems of being freakishly, chronically honest, and being the sort of person who enjoys laughing. Unfortunately, in my life, the easiest thing to laugh at tends to be me.
So all I will say is this. Know me before you judge me.
And now I will explain, as best I can, so that you will partake in more of the 'knowing' and hopefully, in less of the 'judging'. I will write as many words as it may take to make you forget that you were ever intending to judge, in fact*****.
So, from the beginning. Before Christmas, I spent a very short time with my parents in New Zealand, just the three of us. Which was fun and all, but possibly a bit stressful for them, in the way that all visitors are when you've got your routine and your life being interrupted. Even when it's by family. Perhaps even more when it's family, actually, because you feel unfairly responsible for their well-being, which results in things like inviting them along to join you in a dance class.
I would have been fine with my book, but my parents insisted, probably from a sense of guilt that they had a better social life than their 20-something year old daughter. They convinced me I wouldn't be cramping their style, and I acquiesced, safe in the knowledge that there would be other young people there, and my Dad is shy and my Mum is challenged by basic coordination so I wouldn't be embarrassing anyone with my less-than mad dancing skills, and there would be snacks.
Imagine my horror when this was definitively not the case.
I guess all the other young people didn't get the memo, or had other plans, or something, because there weren't a lot of my peers there. But that's fine, I get along with most people pretty well, I'm not one to let little details like age hamper me.
Little details like having to reconsider your entire perception of your parents, built up and maintained over 27 years of knowing them, is another matter. Because apparently, when it comes to dancing, my Dad is not shy. And my Mum can dance, which is not a trait that people who have sustained several serious injuries due to stumbling****** can often brag of.
Essentially, I quickly came to the conclusion that I was going to embarrass not only myself, but also my graceful, vivacious, popular parents if I danced, so I did the right thing and sat at the side, watching the dancers and peering hopefully at the snacks table. For all of about five minutes, until a strange man asked me to dance and the lessons I learnt at primary school kicked in (if someone asks you to dance, they're being very brave, so you must always say yes. It was a ploy obviously designed to prevent small children being laughed at and ridiculed by their peers, and confused us all no end when only a couple of years later we were being told every which way we turned to just say no - but I digress.)
Point is, I was the small kid about to be laughed at and ridiculed.
Or worse, offered advice. Turns out my parents are so awesome they don't go to beginner's classes, they enjoy the lofty heights of the intermediate ranks - so everybody else there thought I must at least have a solid grounding of the basics. But I didn't! I don't! People kept telling me to do things they clearly thought were no-brainers, like 'walk' or 'turn' while I gave them my best 'deer in headlights' look. It got so every time we changed partners (often) I'd blurt out 'I've never done this dance before' as my opening line, no matter what had just been said to me.
"Do you come here often?"
"I hear you live in New York."
"Oh, I think they're putting out the snacks."
"I'veneverdonethisd...wait, what? Really?"
Much, much, much later it was over, and the promised snacks were set out, and I soothed myself with sausage rolls and fruit punch and bits of chocolate slice. A few people kept dancing, but I just glared at them and their wicked ways as I gorged on saturated fat, smiling apologetically and gesturing to my emergency sausage roll any time it looked like they were going to come anywhere near me, invitation on their lips.
And that was it. And once again, I bare my klutzy, embarrassment-attracting soul to the online universe, for nothing more than a few cheap laughs. Sigh.
Any confessions from any of you*******?
*I wasn't with the teenagers - the establishment we were frequenting just seemed to attract them.
*It's cool, he promised he understood.
***It's cool, they looked like they understood.
*****Just googled how many words that may be...nothing too helpful came up. The first hit is entitled 'Who is Eligible for Welfare in the United States' which I'm finding alternately hilarious and terrifying, considering the tenuous relationship I've had with real jobs over the last year.
******Please note this may seem cruel, but is not, based on the 'takes one to know one' logic. Also, no more asterisks. It's started to look less like I'm trying to send you to the bottom of the page for a witty, pithy note, and more like I'm trying to swear, but failing abysmally.
*******Okay, just one more - that sentence is to be read with a begging tone and pleading eyes, mmmkay?