A piece of wayward cotton was caught up in my zipper at a most unfortunate moment. I am no dentist but then these were not ordinary teeth. As I sat there, trying to disengage bits of wayward fluff from metal jaws, I pondered about other interruptions that squeeze themselves into my schedule without invitation.
A few weeks back, laden with my laptop, lunch box, handbag and dinner plate, I rushed downstairs. My descent proved to be rather faster than anticipated, airborne in fact. It was not a graceful landing. I lay there for a while, contemplating the prospect of missing a meeting that I’d been attempting to co-ordinate for months. Cancelling was out of the question. Shock kicked in, and the consequent adrenalin drove me to the office.
I presented to the delegates from the safety of an armchair. Only when I stood to leave did I consider that my motion miracle might have a limit. I developed a limp that became more pronounced as the day rolled by. Removing my boot was not an option; I couldn’t risk not getting it back on. By the time I returned home, I was beginning to wonder if I might ever walk normally again. My ‘old lady bop’ was tiresome and other parts of me began to complain. I discarded my footwear to inspect the damage. The gash on top of my foot, the blood, swelling and bruising was convincing enough for several days of bed rest. The healing process was slow.
How did I do it? It took me several days to accurately remember. As my left leg was poised to step down another stair, the buckle on the side of my boot must have caught against the inside of my trouser leg. My foot didn’t appear, and I did a bit of a ‘Grande battement’ to free it. For those who have never been in ballet circles, that’s a high kick, often done at the bar (as in railing, not pub) for warm ups. Whilst I do have a bar attached to the wall down my staircase, I must have let go at that
particular time; probably to catch my laptop that slipped off my shoulder. So there you have it, the reason why I still wince in certain positions, my choice of suitable shoes has diminished, and my dinner set only serves five.
I’ve often heard people saying things like, “I had an uncomfortable feeling about taking that route,” or, “if I’d been five minutes earlier, I could have been involved in the accident.” I have also experienced similar moments. Then there are the times when I’ve said to myself, “I wish I hadn’t …” or “If I hadn’t come this way, then …” Even worse, “I knew I shouldn’t have …”
I wonder at the warnings. Why should I be so special that I got one and others didn’t? Maybe they all did, but ignored it. Perhaps they had no alternative. It’s possible they had to get to that meeting on time. Or somebody was waiting for the heart that was beating in the cool box. What are the chances that all the people who went to the World Trade Centre on that fateful day, September 11, 2001, heard a small voice telling them to stay home?
On a lighter note, have you ever read the excuses people give to insurance companies for an accident? Here are a few choice ones
- The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.
- The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
- The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again.
- I was backing my car out of the driveway in the usual manner, when it was struck by the other car in the same place it had been struck several times before.
- The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing.
- The car in front of me stopped for a yellow light, so I had no choice but to hit him.
- Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.
- I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
- As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.
- In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
- The telephone pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of the way when I struck the front end.
- I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight.
- As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.
- The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
- On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke.
- The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.
- The accident happened when the right front door of a car came round the corner without giving a signal.
- I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
- I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk.
- The accident happened because I had one eye on the truck in front, one eye on the pedestrian, and the other on the car behind.
Well how about a new set of excuses for being late for work?
- The bee was stuck behind the curtains and couldn’t get out (true).
- The car keys were in the ice box (I knew somebody who found their false teeth there once).
- The air con frosted up my glasses.
- I was doing my warm ups on the staircase.
I weighed the options between wrecking the zip against a puddle and a wet suit. Houdini would have been proud of me. I managed to locate my picker. Fast-tracking can have benefits, especially in the correct footwear. What a relief!