This event is likely to send me to an early grave. I was trapped into joining the organising committee and I am just not cut out for this kind of thing. It’s like a continuation of work by other means. At the lengthy meetings we usually fail to reach conclusions and all of the real work seems to be done elsewhere [how much have I enjoyed dropping in requests for funding, cakes and spot prizes to struggling local businesses?]. The parish priest keeps coming in and being anxious about insurance. We can’t have a stage, lest someone should fall. We will have to know the provenance of all cakes for insurance reasons. I can’t for the life of me see why. He says we can take names and phone numbers of the little old ladies who make cakes and if anyone gets ill we can show we made reasonable efforts. The parish priest and I had words on this point. I was tempted to say that this will make us “data controllers” but wiser counsels prevailed. He also insisted that no unaccompanied children under 18 should be allowed to attend. How we are supposed to police this is beyond me.
Worst of all though, I had to make an announcement at mass about the forthcoming excitement. This did not seem particularly challenging. Doesn’t my 10 year old daughter go on to the altar every Sunday and read a prayer of the faithful? Am I not used to making presentations at work? All I had to do was read out the printed text in front of me. I am good at reading. I bounded up on to the altar and surveyed the church. Do you know what, those Victoian gothic churches are built on massive lines. It was the largest space I had ever addressed. And although congregations are falling I thought, as I surveyed the large numbers looking up at me, they could do with falling a bit further. I started to read. I was quavery and short of breath. It was terrifying. I returned to my pew, absolutely mortified. Herself hissed at me, “You were terrible!” Worse, the little old lady beside me said, “You did fine.” After mass, I said to Mr. Waffle, “Tell me honestly, how bad was it?” “Well,” he said, “remember everyone has forgotten about it now except you.” Pause. “It was just the way you sounded like you were going to cry and that the announcement was really sad when you were talking about a party; that was a bit unfortunate.” Oh the mortification. And, of course, I have to go back and see the same people every Sunday forever. Oh horrors. I think I will cry now.