The week's flown by and it's Finish the Sentence Friday again where the sentence to finish this week is "This nicest thing someone ever did for me was ..."
The nicest thing someone ever did for me was to tell me to pull myself together and get my life back in order, but that's a bit deep and I don't really feel like going into that right now. What I do feel like talking about is the story behind an old photograph that I stumbled upon during the week.
As I've mentioned before, I spent the year I turned 18 living in Sweden as an exchange student. During the summer that year, all the students from around the world who were staying in Sweden as part of the Rotary International Program went on a three week bus trip around Europe. It was full of trips to places that those of us who are now parents are itching to tell our children about, and escapades that I'm sure most of us hope they never find out about. Today's story, to the relief of some and the possible disappointment of others, does not fit into that category, however. It does contain a man in a pink skirt though.
One night on our Eurotour, we visited a large fair in Vienna where a bungee jumping platform had been set up. Ever since I was nine years old and saw a video of my much older cousin bungee jumping on an adventure holiday in New Zealand, I had been dreaming about doing it myself. Granted, the bungee at the fair wasn't quite as high and the one she did over some gigantic waterfall, but it was good enough for me. The only problem was, I hadn't come prepared. Not having any idea that this opportunity would arise that night, I had not dressed appropriately. I was wearing a skirt which I'm sure that without having to stretch the imagination very far, you can picture what a spectacle it would have made.
So I stood with a group of friends and watched those others in our group who had come wearing underwear-covering clothing take the plunge. I was resigning myself to the fact that my bungee jumping dream would have to be prolonged for the foreseeable future, when a mate of mine called Andrew piped up and said:
"Why don't we swap clothes?"
"Pardon?" I said, a bit taken aback (this being the first - and I'm pretty sure only - time that a male has proposed this to me).
"Why don't you pop on my shorts so you can do the jump and I'll wear your skirt in the meantime?"
"Really?!" I squealed. "Are you sure? You do know my skirt is pink, don't you?" Andrew was the kind of guy who was sweet and sensitive, but also very much into football and dressing very much like a man.
"Yeah", he said laughing, "It's okay".
"You can't hide in the toilets the whole time I'm lining up waiting for the jump and then having my turn though". There was quite a queue for the bungee. He was going to wearing that skirt for a while.
"Nah, don't worry", he smiled, "We can go to the bathrooms together, swap clothes, then you go off and do the jump and I'll go back and get a pancake at the stall we saw before and sit and wait for you there."
So we did just that. Well, almost.
We did the going to the bathroom together bit and the swapping clothes bit (and I just had to have a photo of him in my skirt!) Then I did the going off and bungee jumping in Andrew's shorts bit and Andrew did the going and buying a pancake and eating it while waiting for me bit. But this is where things stopped going to plan.
You see, I've never had a very good sense of direction and, as I mentioned, this was a very large fair. So after the adrenalin rush of plumetting through the air attached to an elastic cord, I kind of lost my sense of direction a little bit. Okay, I lost it completely.
I couldn't for the life of me remember where that pancake stall was. With another friend in tow, we scoured the stalls up and down for Andrew. This was, of course, in the days before mobile phones. If it hadn't been, this story would not be nearly as memorable. The tricky thing was that there seemed to be quite a few pancake stalls and I couldn't remember which one he must have meant. Eventually, we found a stall which we deduced must have been the one he had meant, but no Andrew was to be found.
What happened is that Andrew, after waiting more than patiently for what must have felt like a very long time, decided I must have forgotten about him and went off to find me.
Unfortunately, even with both parties trying our best to find each other, we ended up chasing each other around in circles.
The long and the short of it is that poor Andrew spent over an hour walking around a fair all by himself wearing a pink skirt.
So the next time you offer to swap clothes with someone, be warned - you may inadvertently bite off more than you feel like chewing. But to his eternal credit, he was a really good sport about it all.
Andrew and I have lost touch over the years, but I thought I would keep his face out of the photo because I do know that he has quite a high-profile job these days and would probably be more than unimpressed if some of his colleagues or clients got their eyes on photos of him thus attired.
Every time someone mentions bungee jumping, I think of how lovely it was for him to do that for me ... but sometimes I do wonder what must go through his mind any time someone mentions those words!