Lest my Green Monster-havin’, 4-mile running give you the wrong idea of me, I committed a total Laura Retro Move today. It took me back to 1999, or 1990, or 1985, or…. I’ll stop right there because the point is not to age myself–we all know I am 25, I have been so for some years, and I will be so for a few more.
So what did I do? I returned to my roots–and fell smack on my ass.
Now, I am beyond clumsy. I’d like to say that I’ve gotten better with age, but I’m not so sure. I was such a clumsy little girl that Mamalicious enrolled me in kiddie gymnastics and ballet, just so she could have two guaranteed hours of snort-inducing laughter each week. I’m so clumsy I’ve chipped a tooth to show for it. I’m so clumsy that the Husband gets extremely nervous when I get up on chairs to reach things (hence the rule that, if I can’t knock it down with a spoon, he is to be summoned to reach things).
This has translated into a tendency to trip and fall monumentally at work and school. First grade, third grade, fifth grade, seventh/ninth/tenth grades, freshman/sophomore/senior year, plus twice in grad school and at least once at EVERY workplace I’ve ever graced.
Though I can trip on anything, my absolute best tripping is accomplished over my own two feet–I can elevate that to an art.
The most epic? Falling while running after a morning bus in heels. It takes a special kind of denial (or stupid) to run in heels when you know you’re as gummy-footed as me.
The most common? Tripping on stairs–stumbling while going up or splatting on the way down, preferably with plenty of bystanders, is my most common m.o.
While in Trinidad, I’ve had a few slips here and there, but no epic trips. Until this morning. Well, hello, slippery rain gutter!
Down I went, right in front of the office window, splat onto my left hip. My skirt went up a bit and my hand was scraped (as was my hip) but, shocked as I was, I had to scramble up to avoid being hit by an oncoming car.
After collecting myself, I realized it could have been a lot worse. Somehow, I’ve managed to build a body of experience and knowledge about landing on my ass.
I think (gasp!) I have finally mastered the art of tripping and falling gracefully.
So, for those of you with two left feet/snow on the ground/invisible rocks to stumble on at every turn, I have some advice on how to proceed downwards less mortifyingly and more like a lady–a guide, if you will, on How To Trip and Fall With Dignity and Style:
- If you start to fall, don’t try to catch yourself. You’ll do more harm than good and, most importantly, you’ll look stupid. Just… drop.
- A scrape is temporary. The shame of flashing your Victoria’s Secret (literal and figurative) is forever. Risk bone and skin but for goodnesss sake, hold onto your skirt. Which brings us to….
- Landing: There are infinite ways to land, and most can be adapted to crossed legs. Your assignment: ten different falls from object-caused tripping, five different falls from nothing-but-your-own-stupid-feet-caused tripping. Please practice on a soft surface (grass or sand).
- Develop and practice your charming, insouciant post-fall routine. Trust me, your gut reaction may be to act like nothing happened. Um, IT DID, and everyone is going to be talking about it for the next five minutes (or week, if you landed badly and flashed). So take that into account and have a calculated plan, which means….
- Get up quickly–but gracefully. Unless a car is coming, don’t scramble up. You’ve suffered one indignity already and don’t want to look like a gangly-limbed mess getting up. Do it fast and carefully, and look surprised. Make sure bystanders see you examining the surface around you.
- Smile and shake your head. Practice having a great post-fall quip repertory.
- Do not rub your rear end and do not check for fatal injury in front of others. Get thee to a bathroom and examine the damage in the privacy of your own shame.
- NEVER blame your shoes. Even if you were walking on 6-inch spindles. It’s always the ROAD, not your ladywalkin’ abilities, that are at fault.
- If it happens on the way to a bus–change your bus route. If that’s not possible, avoid the driver who saw you fall flat on your face. Being seen by said driver every day and being thought of as “the girl who went splat” is just one shame too great to bear.
- If it happened at work–change your job. NOW. Before your boss gets a chance to tell your next future employer about your clumsy ways. (This is reason number one for my own job-hopping. Just so you know.)
The shame, indignity and scrape did not stop me from having a great swim, but we’ll see how I feel about running tomorrow. If I can’t run, then at least thinking of the fall will be good cardio as I blush and de-blush about it all.
Oh, and what was I wearing for my little Spill Of Shame?
Oh yes. At least linen stands up to the vicissitudes of ragged asphalt–and my lunch of Cuban black beans and rice with tomato, carrot and cucumber vinaigrette salad consoled me from my scratched hand:
Now let’s see if I can wheedle my way into an episode of Dexter… you know, to make my rear end hurt a bit less….