Monday, October 11, 2010

Accidents Happen

I don't get out much anymore, which is okay by me, since I'm quasi-agoraphobic (if you've forgotten your ancient Greek, agoraphobia is literally "a fear of the marketplace," and its sufferers are reluctant to leave the house.  Given my distaste for any trip to the A&P or Stop and Shop, I think this is a particularly apt characterization). 

Foreseeing the potential for a gradual meltdown into a mess of sweatpants, tee-shirts stained with ketchup from a 1995 Wendy's run and a forgotten ability  how to act in polite society, I try to dress to maintain myself in a manner consistent with someone who gets out every day.  Which means that, lately, I have been adorning myself with (faux) pearls and wearing short boots (with low heels) while I go about the house doing whatever it is I do during the day (I am defining "do" very loosely here.  But work with me, please).

Wearing pearls (however "faux") and boots with heels is, for me, akin to dressing up for a date with the Devil.  This is because I am not steady on my feet under any circumstances and the cats like to get in on the daring act, weaving in and out of my legs all day, admiring my sexy ankles and daring me to take a step without tripping. They also swipe at my necklace.

Walking without tripping is not my thing.  In the past two or three years, I have taken four or five serious falls while walking around the neighborhood, ripping my jeans, scrapping my knees, twisting my ankle. I often trip over uneven seams in the pavement.  Once the seam was hidden by leaves, another time, I swear!, a sinkhole opened in front of my foot just as I took a step in that direction.  I usually fall into the street, but thus far have been lucky not to get hit by a car. 

The last time I fell was in Philadelphia, when I took Thing 1 to take his university placement exams. I was on my way to a museum  Mutter Museum - where hypocondriacal dreams come true  and turned right rather than left.  Before I knew it, I was cartwheeling into the street, having stepped literally into thin air.   I finally came to a halt, lying on my side in the gutter, where a very nice lady helped me up, whipped out a bandage and Neosporine from her purse, cleaned me up and sent me on my sorry way.

At this point, having tripped so many times, I began to fear the beginnings of a serious and progressive neurological disease, one that would ultimately render me unable to use my limbs in the manner to which I had become accustomed (i.e., walking to the refrigerator).  But, using my powers of analysis, I discovered that if I paid attention to where I walk, that is to say, walked with my head down and proactively spied the uneven payment, stones, and errant tree roots before they could inflict their damage, I would be okay.

And I haven't tripped since.  So my mind is at ease, the only problem being that because I'm always looking down when I walk, I walk into stuff (poles, buildings, street signs, people) rather than trip over stuff.  But it's a tradeoff, isn't it?

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