Watch Your Step!

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“Watch where you’re walking,” my husband tells me repeatedly when we’re out for a stroll. For good reason. I’ve paid a steep price for not watching my step.  I like to think I’d learned to do so, after a few bad spills over the years that resulted in a badly sprained ankle, a slightly fractured elbow, a badly split lip,  scraped hands and knees and outright public humiliation.  The spills were all a result of my tendency while in motion to look around at my surroundings rather than to pay attention to what might be directly in front of me.

I’ve paid a steep price for not watching my step.  I like to think I’d learned to do so, after a few bad spills over the years that resulted in a badly sprained ankle, a slightly fractured elbow, a badly split lip,  scraped hands and knees and outright public humiliation.  The spills were all a result of my tendency while in motion to look around at my surroundings rather than to pay attention to what might be directly in front of me.

Several years ago my husband even presented me with a fine cartoon from our cartoonist friend Peter Steiner, highlighting the different approaches he and I have when we’re walking.

On Saturday night, we attended a jazz concert in a nearby town.  It was held in an old theatre that had been converted into a small performance venue.  I left my seat to go into the small lobby to purchase a glass of wine. On my way back into the theatre, I did “it” again. Distracted by the details of the space, I neglected to see one step directly in front of me.  I neglected to see the watch your step sign directly to the side of the step.  I neglected to see the yellow tape that lined the edge of the step to ensure that patrons would see the it.  I neglected to see the ramp at the side of the step, poised as an alternative route.  If the walls had been lined with photographs of the other unwitting patrons whose actions had prompted those warnings, I might have paid more attention.

In other words, looking anywhere but where I was walking, I tripped over the single step.  The wine and its contents went flying a little faster than my body did.  I remember hearing a collective oh!!!! from the people who were in the lobby as I fell. I instinctively held out my arm to brake my fall.  I felt my shoe jam into my foot.

Now that I’m an expert at tripping, I’m here to report, all you feel immediately when your body goes out of control is stunned.  A body inventory quickly follows.

Each time I’ve fallen, well-meaning people gather to help me well before I’m ready to accept help.  There’s a need after such an indignity to just sit for a few minutes to personally assess the situation.  Kind people immediately begin to bombard me with questions that I’m not ready to consider.  Shall we call a doctor?  Can I help you get up?  No, thank you.  I just need to gather my wits again.

Long story short, I was a bit banged up, with a painful arm and wrist, but I was basically ok.  I requested some ice for my arm and returned to the theatre to watch the concert for an hour or so.

The next morning my daughter kindly said to me, “Mom, I don’t want you to think this happened because you’re older.  You’ve been doing this for decades!”

My husband added, “And you know the first thing she said to me after she hobbled out of the theatre?  Look at the moon!!”

Old habits die-hard.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Judi Wallner says:

    Dianne, so happy that you weren’t seriously hurt….those spilling wine and staring people are punishments in themselves. Every fall that I’ve taken has been just as you described…much more interesting scenery/people than stone steps. I’ve looked at my calendar and feel that I’ll know more after I see the special cardiologist on Friday. Hope that all is meeting your expectations with the dancers…Miss you and can’t wait to see you. Many hugs, J >

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  2. novaloverro says:

    That’s what I love about you – you are always looking beyond the obvious to see and bring beauty into the lives of others. Sometimes there is a price to pay for our desire to do that – glad it wasn’t too high a price! And I hope Danny went and got you another glass of wine! Love you

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