You know that feeling when you just wish the ground would open up and take you, saving you from any further humiliation? Well, that it how I felt today!
It was the christening or “bautizo” of Rafa’s newest niece in the beautiful Iglesia del Espíritu Santo de Ronda. I was all ready, my favourite suit back from the cleaners, shoes polished, shirt pressed. Rafa had to be in Ronda early in the morning, so I was to meet him and the families at 1pm at the church. These things can be nerve-wracking enough, but I was looking forward to it.
This morning as I drove up the winding mountain to the city, things started to deteriorate. First I was stuck behind a very, very slow moving car. At each bend it slowed further and my frustration worsened. At the few opportunities to overtake, the car in front started to speed up! I managed eventually to pass, but by that moment I had a lot of time to make up if I was to get to the church on time. Then, no sooner had I negotiated a few more bends, I joined a slow moving trail of traffic stuck behind a bus, slowly climbing the mountain. I started to feel a little stressed.
With just a few minutes to spare, I entered Ronda and approached the ancient city walls. Yet the road to the church was closed! A fun fare occupied the area I needed to get too. Suddenly I realised how unfamiliar the narrow streets were. Where should I go to park? As the traffic ground to halt at a gridlocked roundabout I started to feel some panic. Horns blared around me as others shared my impatience.
Eventually I passed the roundabout and looked for somewhere to park. I had to climb a narrow cobbled street at least half a kilometre from the church. Once parked I grab my suit jacket and step out into the sunny street. Today was baking; like a summer’s day! I try to maintain my composure as I walk/run towards the church. I did not want to arrive completely sweating. At this point I was 15 minutes late so everyone from the two extended families would be in the church. Could things get any worse! Well, of course they could!
I crept into the church from the back, pleased to suddenly be in a cool place. As I enter, the Father prepares to baptise the little girl, her faced beaming from the bonnet of an exquisite antique gown. Everyone looks smart and elegant; faces smiling. I try not be noticed as I walk towards the group that stood around the font.
One of the children dropped its dummy, so I bend down to pick it up – I hear a thunderous rip! What?! Suddenly the cool air of the church is moving freely around my arse and thigh!! OHMYGOD! My suit trousers have just ripped.
Now this is not just some small seam tear, but an awesome 30 centimetre rip from waist to practically my knee. I can’t quite decide whether to start to laugh hysterically or just run away. I start to swiftly pray to God to open the earth and just take me! I was nervous enough coming to the event, but now my pants were on show to everyone in the church!
Luckily Rafa’s family are wonderful and immediately saw the hysterical side of an English boy’s pants being exposed! Thank goodness I was wearing Calvin’s!
After the service, Rafa & his Mama whisk me away to the safety and security of the family home. Within minutes my trousers are off and the sewing machine is out. In less than 10 minutes, things are under control and we are walking to the restaurant for the celebratory lunch.
My little incident serves as the perfect ice breaker joke for the meal!
PS. I recall now that on August 5 in my diary I promised my diet would start – well today was clear enough evidence that it didn’t!