Today I went bouldering at my favoured climbing centre. It’s the first time I’ve been for a little while, not for want of trying, but life has got in the way. I spent about 90 minutes bouldering, got very hot and sweaty and was generally very pleased with myself. I’ve talked a bit recently about wanting to get in shape, and this week I’ve achieved my goal of doing three different sports (running, cycling and climbing) which can only be a good thing.
So back to the wall. There I was, climbing up, down, trying, failing, trying again, failing a bit better. All good. I finished with the skin missing from the insides of five of my fingers. Signs of effort. Still good. I went back to my car with the intention of tweeting a triumphant picture of my chalky taped-up hands.
The moment I sat in my car I realised something was wrong. There was a bit of a hole in my (actual, proper, designed-for-purpose) trousers. I investigated further. Turns out that ‘a bit of a hole’ is the understatement of the year. I don’t know how I’d failed to notice it happen, but I was essentially wearing crotchless trousers. The hole ran from front to back, and was the size of, ooh I don’t know, a head. Generally I hate the word, but in this particular scenario ‘gaping’ really was the appropriate description.
I spent a moment assessing the situation. I realised that about halfway through my session I had heard an odd noise but must have assumed it was an errant fart or some such. I’d forgotten about it by the time I got to the top of the wall and gave it no further thought. That meant I’d spent the best part of 45 minutes with an enormous bloody hole in my trousers, in public, in the middle of half term, when the centre was full of children and in fact I’d sent a text to JG commenting that I’d never seen it so busy. Bear in mind that by its very nature, bouldering is an activity that takes place at (head) height and often with legs akimbo.
I realised that I had had some funny looks but I’d put that down to the fact that I only ever see criminally skinny, muscular, attractive people at the climbing wall and that I was probably getting a double-take as I don’t have the typical climber’s form. I guess everyone is not as shallow as I gave them credit for; they were actually doing the appropriate stare at someone who appears to have turned up at a family friendly activity wearing assless chaps. I genuinely don’t know if it would have been better or worse if someone had said something.
With my hands spread across my face, and staring through my fingers in horror, I realised that the shame was due to continue. I’d planned to have a shower when I arrived at work. This meant that I had to get from my car into the locker room (a substantial distance) without exposing myself even further. This was going to be particularly difficult seeing as the hole extended through the entire gusset (not often I have a legitimate use for that excellent word) and was pretty indecent from front and back. I tied my work fleece around my waist, held a bag in front of me and shuffled into work with baby steps.
I intend to spend the rest of the week a) hoping that I don’t end up on some sort of special register and b) purchasing a large sombrero and growing a significant ‘tache so that I won’t be recognised when I return.