Wednesday, February 08, 2012

sympathetic at war with the parasympathetic

So there I was, walking along a downtown sidewalk, minding my own business. I was a little late for an appointment so I was striding along fairly quickly. Well, as quickly as one can while still favouring a bum knee, although lengthening my stride is something I have been conscientiously working on.

And then I hit a crack in the pavement. Oh sure, I have stumbled before, many times. But I am fairly confident that this was the most spectacular and protracted semi-aerial display of forward motion that the other pedestrians had ever witnessed. Arms flailing, body bent double, I lurched on for a good eight or nine steps, trying desperately to right myself, thinking all the while oh fuck, this is going to hurt so bad.

Amazingly, I did not fall. Knees, elbows, and chin saved from a crash landing with the pavement, I did what we all do in that situation. I glanced at the bottom of my shoe, glared over my shoulder at the crack in the sidewalk, then checked the bottom of my shoe again. Just so everybody knew it wasn't my fault.

Hours later I could still feel the post-adrenaline throbbing around my eye sockets, and my entire body ached liked someone had taken a baseball bat to me. But at least it was only my pride that got skinned.

What's the most embarrassing public tumble or near-miss that you have had?


Allison said...

I could dedicate a whole blog to answer that question. ;)

I loved your description of the stumble. Describes how I felt at my last exercise class when I missed a step. I don't think anyone bought that it was the floor to blame. Even with the double check on the shoe.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That double shoe check seems to be a universal reaction, doesn't it, Al? I've seen cats do similar things when they trip - big shoulder wash just to show that they are still in control.
I think you should start an entirely new blog dedicated to your adventures in stumbling.

Sean Wraight said...

Alright ladies, I am with you on this enterprise. We start a Tumblr and of course its going to be called s/tumbler okay?

Sorry to hear about the public humiliation dear Barbara. There must be something universal about blaming our shoes though? Mine are at the point of having a complex with the tapestries of profanity I regularly hurl towards them. I've found myself struggling with ice patches a lot this year. My last episode resulted in pain akin to someone yanking my elbows through my nostrils.

You're not alone by a long shot Barbara. And don't get me going on traversing stairs. Oy... When did I turn 88?

s/tumblr #3.

Anonymous said...

I think I have told my story before here so I will save it for my next blog post. I'll just say I did a similar thing but went down on my face. I was aping a character from a movie. Amazingly I did not get hurt.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

S/tumbler needs to happen, Sean. Our tales of public humiliation deserve to be told! Perhaps with video.
Sorry to hear that your shoes have been colluding with ice patches behind your back. Obviously you are not cursing at them hard enough.
You do realize though, that I will be imagining a nasal elbowectomy for the rest of the day?

Perhaps the luckiest face plant in the history of face plants, Vicomtesse! You likely should have bought a lottery ticket immediately after that.

LesleyG said...

Usually it is that moment looking back to see what tripped me that makes me trip again. I am glad you came out of it mostly okay, and isn't it interesting to witness all the things the body does to get ready for impact without it being clouded by actual impact?

mister anchovy said...

First of all, you need a new pair of shoes. Stop what you're doing and go shopping immediately. Next, you have to do something about that nasty crack in the sidewalk. Fortunately, Calgary has an excellent Mayor. Write him a little note and I'm sure he'll get the cavalry out there repairing cracks right away.

Why is it all those people walking down the street in a daze, texting and checking their emails, never seem to stumble? It ain't right.

Anonymous said...

it seems most of my stumbles and fumbles and tumbles involve times when I am running on the trails in the woods where there are lots of exposed roots and rocks. Not so embarrassing although if I ever break or sprain a limb I will be super embarrassed when I need to have a rescue.

I think the most embarrassing ever was when I was in grade school, walking through the halls at a point where the doors are always propped open! One day they weren't, I failed to notice and yep, face first into it and then explaining to mom and dad why my glasses were broken. Him saying "and you're telling me you just walked into a door?" and rolling his eyes.

Anonymous said...

i suppose there was that time i tried to jump from picnic table to picnic table and ended up landing wrong and rolling off the end of the second picnic table.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The dreaded secondary stumble! Is there anything more cruel, Lesley? Time does slow down during those 9 stumble steps, enough to allow you to evaluate all the possibilities, without actually being able to do anything to change the outcome. Of course, you are right, though. All of those inner ponderings are erased when shin actually hits pavement.

By god you are absolutely right, Mr Anchovy! The texters never seem to stumble on uneven pavement, although around here they do walk into trains.
I would buy new shoes (those infidels) but I have at least another 3 years left in this pair. I need to talk to the mayor about this.

Door, picnic tables, tree roots? Have you ever considered just sitting on the chesterfield instead, Kelly? I'm with your dad here - rolling my eyes.

umbrellalady said...

My last tumble was on my way into work. Amazing how many new muscles I have since discovered! The physiotherapist also found a few extras as well just to round things off a bit.
You have my sympathy - public humiliation hurts twice - once in public and later when everything else tries to bounce back.

bloody awful poetry said...

This is quite simply the most epic account of a stumble I have ever read. Glad you're okay, though I totally feel you when it comes to the bruised ego.

As for me, there was that one time in secondary school when we were all sitting down on the floor for assembly. By the time we were allowed to get up, both my legs had gone to sleep, and I proceeded to fall very spectacularly on my face and bruise my knee. Nothing hurt more than the injured pride, though.

Also there was that one time I walked smack into a wall while texting, but thankfully that happened within the confines of my own castle.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That was wise of you to get the physiotherapist involved right away, Kathy. I often think about seeing one after an injury, but I never do. Hope all those muscles settle back into their proper places quickly!

Oh lawd, BAP! I can't imagine the level of humiliation involved in that assembly face plant. Nothing like having an audience of teenagers!
I'm glad you weighed in on the texting incident, as we were wondering why these things did not happen more often. Evidently they happen in private.

Anonymous said...

I fell on a near-sighted grade 3 kid when I was subbing last year. He crept up behind me to see what I was writing on the white step back and oops...I was on top of him! Apparently he always wears his glasses now.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You taught that little near-sighted kid a valuable lesson, Berni. Teachers don't come equipped with back-up alarms.