I am spectacular at cocking things up. Don't try and be nice to me and tell me that we all do it, because quite a lot of us don't - at least not in such a calamitous way. If putting your foot in it were part of the Commonwealth Games, I would be on that podium blubbling at the National Anthem.
I think it works like this. If something needs to be done, however big or small, we all make a plan in our heads. Even if it's, say, having a biscuit. The plan goes something like this:
- walk to kitchen
- open cupboard
- open biscuit tin
- eat biscuit.
Simple! So I, like you, would make that plan in my head, but what would actually happen would be something like:
- walk to kitchen
- fall down step and scrape knee
- open biscuit cupboard
- notice blood dripping on floor
- attempt to stop blood with one hand whilst opening biscuit cupboard with other
- overbalance and put blood soaked hand out to steady myself, thereby covering white kitchen with bloody handprints
- temporarily forget what I was doing
- remember, then find that the biscuit tin is empty as Tween scoffed the lot yesterday.
The plan that I make in my head is often at fault. In very general terms, I think I'm making a plan, but really, I'm making an origami hat. As useful as a solid sieve.
Take my most recent failure. Tuesday was Tween's last day at school. Some bright spark thought it would be a great idea to take individual photos of the whole class, put together a montage, print it on card and present it to the teacher.
I said - "I'll do it!"
WHAT WAS I THINKING?? I knew my history of cock-ups, and this was important. Had I taken too much mint tea that morning?
Anyway. Photos were taken (thumbs up) and I took time to put the montage together, making sure that all 31 children were on it.
YOU FOOL! YOU IMMENSE PIECE OF IDIOCY! This is where the plan fails because there are actually THIRTY TWO children in the class!
But blindly, I carried on, mentally patting myself on the back for doing such a wonderful piece of work. Oh, how the teacher will swoon! And oh, how clever she will think I am!
And so it was printed and presented and everyone smiled and said 'thank you' a lot...until - until - the whispers started. "Bella's not there". Bella is the most beautiful, sensitive, caring child. And I had missed her off. Because I am a fuckwit.
And so, rounds and rounds of apologies followed; to Bella, of course, who was much more grown up and philosophical than me about the whole thing. To Bella's mum, who was so lovely and reasonable that I immediately wanted to give her everything I owned. And to our lovely teacher, who was obviously so relieved that the teaching year was over, and was happy just to have survived, couldn't really give a flying f*ck.
I keep telling myself that everyone makes mistakes, and it's just how we recover from them that sorts the wheat from the chaff. So I've done another montage, of course, and took an extra, rather lovely, photo of Bella at the leavers' party, which I've sent to her.
And now, I need to be firm with myself and move on. Learn from it, and plan more carefully next time.
Or alternatively, forget all about it within a week or so and continue cocking up merrily until I die.