Sunday, July 20, 2008

Captain Clumsy strikes again

Ok, as promised, something more lighthearted than another boring old "what does it all mean" post.

People who know me in real life know that I'm not the most graceful person in the world, despite many years of ballet classes.

In fact, I'm extremely clumsy and have a tendency to either fall down, run into things, or hurt myself in some really stupid way.

I've been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was probably about five, I ran my bike into the back of a parked van. Around the same time, I ran my bike into a pile of sand in our driveway (my dad was doing some landscaping; the pile was huge and impossible to miss) and wiped out on my bike, giving myself a huge gash in my forehead in the process. (I still have the scar.)

While I was in high school, I went camping with my friends the Strongs. We went water skiing one morning, and finally it became my turn to get in the water and ski. I remember the water was really cold so I tried to partially climb down the boat ladder so I wouldn't feel the cold all at once. Somehow in the process of climbing and then eventually jumping, I managed to get the shorts I was wearing caught on the ladder, leaving my butt sticking straight up in the air and my hands and feet in the water. Everyone was laughing so hard that no one helped me right away; I'm pretty sure it wasn't until my shorts ripped that I finally got loose.

Yeah. Embarrassing. I wound up with a huge bruise on my leg where my shorts had cut into me while I was hanging there. It didn't go away for the rest of the summer.

In college, I was running through campus early one Saturday morning because I was trying to catch a bus. I was jumping down some stairs (there was my first mistake), landed wrong, sprained my ankle, and passed out. That was just plain stupid; I should know better than to try to run, let alone to run down stairs.

Right around the time we got married, I had two epic falls. The first was coming out of my building at lunchtime, onto Madison Street. My heel caught on the concrete stair and I fell face first down about four stairs, winding up on the sidewalk with two skinned knees, skinned palms, torn pants, and a very, very bruised ego, since at least five people saw me fall.

The second was coming out of our apartment building when we lived downtown. It was raining, and I was wearing flip-flops. I was running because of the rain, and when my flip-flop-clad foot hit the top of the marble staircase (marble stairs = old, worn, slippery), my feet went out from under me and I went down seven steps or so on my butt, just one right after another -- boom boom boom boom.

Brett was laughing so hard that he had a tough time being very sympathetic. He said it looked like something out of a cartoon. I didn't think it was so funny; my tailbone hurt for weeks.

After those two falls, I was very afraid I'd fall on our wedding day, but thankfully and miraculously, I managed to avoid it, although to this day I'm not sure how I got away with that.

My current co-workers are all very aware of my, um, problem with walking. We were walking down Third Avenue one day to get some lunch and my heel (pesky heels again, maybe that should be a clue that I should always wear flats) got stuck in a grate on the sidewalk. I kept walking, which meant I did a face plant when my foot didn't move.

So seeing as my co-workers know of my clumsiness, they were more amused than surprised on Thursday morning when I came into the office walking with a limp, clutching an empty coffee cup, and covered in coffee from my knee to my ankle.

I was looking for a little sympathy, so I walked down to my boss's office and poked my head in. She looked up and said, "Good morning!"

I wailed, "I fell down and twisted my ankle and now I have mocha all over my leg!!!"

She said, "Oh my God, are you ok?" and then looked at me for a second, covered her mouth with her hand, and started cracking up.

Of course, that made me crack up too, which was a good thing, since I was really peeved at the moment.

I was being really stupid and looking at my cell phone as I walked, so somehow I missed the last stair on the staircase coming into my building and just...fell.

It was like slow-motion; I saw the cup with my yet-untasted mocha go down, the lid pop off, and the coffee start to pool at the bottom of the stairs. I saw my bag heading right for the puddle, then I saw it land there. And then I saw my leg go right for the puddle, too, and then it happened -- SPLAT -- I had mocha all over my leg.

Of course about five people were right behind me and they all did the "OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK!?!" thing, which only makes a situation like that even more embarrassing.

All of the sticky mess and bruised ego aside, I actually did twist my ankle pretty badly and wound up icing it for the rest of the day.

Thankfully, my ankle is mostly ok now, and thanks to my mom's incredible laundry genius, the coffee and chocolate came out of my pants. (I called her not so much to whine about falling but more to get her laundry advice; the woman is a laundry genius. Her method of heavily spraying the pants with stain remover, then soaking overnight in cold water with Borax and detergent, then washing with warm water -- it was brilliant, and my pants are as good as new. Thanks, Mom! You rock.)

Basically, the bottom line is that I'm a huge, huge klutz, and I fear I always will be. I really hope this is one trait of mine Elanor does not inherit.

So, tell me -- am I the only totally clumsy one who tends to make a fool out of herself in front of lots of people? I want to hear your embarrassing stories of clumsiness, too. Make me feel better...tell me I'm not alone!


Kandace Knapp said...

I have two tales of glory. First let me say I have also taken dance for years and years, and I am still horribly clumsy. I chalk it up to big feet and gangly arms, but I don't think it really works. Anyway, weekend before last I decided to go running at night for a mere 10 minutes to finish my workout. While running, I was intently watching someone almost back into another car when, WHAM! I landed on my hands and knees on the sidewalk. I left several inches of skin there and nearly fainted when I cleaned up the gashes. How old am I, 6? I hadn't scraped my knee in ages!

A few days later I was settling into my new job, starting to work on a writing project. While reading, I reached for my cup of tea and knocked it over. There was at least a half cup of tea pooled in my skirt and I just stared at it thinking, Um, what do I do now? Eventually I stood up and it dumped onto the floor, and it looked an awful lot like pee. None of my new co-workers said a word, which made it even worse. I spent the rest of the day with damp undies from all that tea.

I hope that cheers you up--you're not the only one! And heels are the devil. I can't even walk in them and people laugh at me. :)

And I am glad you're feeling a little better. Hang in there!


Molly C said...

oh my goodness!!! you and i must be soul mates!!!! i am the biggest klutz alive!!!
my parents have lived in their house for ohhh, 14 years..... still on a very regular occasion, i fall down their stairs!!! and i have fallen down them every which way imaginable!!! i have fallen face first, on the bum, i have done the splits down them and somehow, not really sure, ended up on my back..... i cannot even tell you the countless bruises and sprains that i have accrued from those stairs, they are pure evil, i am convinced.
ohh, but it is not just those stairs... have you been to the oregon convention center?? anyway, i work there, and they have numerous grand staircases that open into huge lobbies, i have fallen down them many times, my greatest was when we had the squaredancers in house, i fell from the top of the stairs to nearly the bottom, on my bum and there was, for some reason, no way to stop my self, so when i finally came to a halt, there were these fanciful white haired ladies in huge petticoats coming to my aide, priceless.
there are countless, countless!!! other times, that i could write a book about i swear!
my dear, you are not the only one!!
i'm glad this is one more thing that we can share!!
miss & love you,

Shawna said...

today alone, i walked right into a cement pillar at work while talking to a customer who was off to the left of me. i split my lip and banged up my nose. this sort of stuff happens almost daily for me.