Falling Down Gently and Conveniently
If you're going to fall down and get stuck in a weird spot, it's best to do it while there are firemen around. I know this from personal experience now. Yesterday I went with my buddy to Lakeland, where I lived in the late 70s to mid-80s. We went to Moe's to eat and parked near the entrance, which is good since my back has been challenging me in the walking department lately. I decided to go up the step to the side door instead of walking all the way around on the ramped sidewalk. I knew that fewer steps would be better since there weren't any handrails, and my balance is sometimes slightly affected by the back injury and sometimes greatly affected by it. I tried to hold on gingerly to the hedge by the side door in order to get up the rather tall curb. Apparently that wasn't a good idea. In stepping up, I started to lose my balance, and the shrub was not stable enough to be helpful, so I did a slow and rather graceful pirouette and landed ass backwards at the bottom of the hedge. My back clearly wasn't going to allow me simply to leap back up and pretend it didn't happen. Oh, no. But fortunately there were several firemen on the premises (for what reason, I have NO IDEA!) and two sturdy fellahs leaped to my rescue. I gladly accepted their offer to help me up and made them stand there a moment so I could re-align and steady myself. I assured them that I was okay and that it was a balance thing and not all that unusual. Well, all except that my t-shirt hiked up under my corduroy over-shirt, so I had flashed them a bit of lingerie. Yes, I caught the subtle smiles they tried to quash once they realized I truly was okay. I was glad I had put on the black bra so I could give them a small thrill at least. Thank goodness I was wearing one at all, since I don't always. Even though I pack what some writers might describe as an "ample bosom," I really don't care for wearing brassieres, so I make sure they're comfortable at least when I go out and have to relent to strapping one on.
Since it was nearly (but not quite) embarrassing, I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to mention this little wardrobe failure and ambulatory mishap, but given that I couldn't stop myself from chortling occasionally while I was consuming my organic tofu bowl, I knew that I needed to stay in character with my favorite quote, "If you're not laughing at yourself, then you're just not paying attention." These words were penned by my favorite nom de plume, Bryh Syn, my alter ego who seems to be getting less and less "alter" and more identical twin-ish every day. I'm not sure if there's a certain age women reach when wardrobe failures and a general lack of decorum simply kicks in unavoidably (synchronistically paired with perimenopause), or if every wardrobe failure I've ever managed to avoid throughout my entire life, due to an innate sense of cool-ness that seems to run in my family, has finally caught up with me. I'm still puzzling over this mystery. I'll get back to you if I figure it out. I suppose that part of it could be reaching a certain age when you simply don't care about the same things any more. But let's face it, do we ever reach an age when we simply don't care what asenine thing we do in public? Or do we simply handle it better later in life if it does happen? In a younger year, would I have blocked it totally from my memory and denied, even to myself, that such a thing ever happened? Naaah! I've never been one for denial, and I guess I have had my share of embarrassing moments in life. Well, not so much embarrassing as dramatic. Given half a chance, my sister will regale you with stories about my falling down and "dying" on a regular basis when I was a child. I never thought they were all that dramatic--must be the coolness factor--but she always seemed to think that I was near death. I was a tomboy, and I suspect that falling down and being a tomboy go hand in hand. I mean look at basketball players. They're trained to fall down regularly, and I played a lot of basketball growing up. When I was a kid, I played hard. When I grew up, I worked hard, and apparently with little regard to the toll it was taking on my body. I suppose I simply thought I was invincible, because quite frankly, I was very athletic and could do pretty much anything I wanted to do with my body. I was in constant motion. Now as I'm getting older, I'm finding that my body is not always perfectly synced with my brain, and I'm going to work on re-syncing those two entities. I'm pretty sure that as I get back to doing yoga and tai chi, I will regain the co-ordination and balance I lost from the back injury and later vertigo episodes that have so knocked me for a loop in recent years. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you soon with a good report on that front, so stay tuned.
Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching and Wet Violets. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and many other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com.