Frankly, I can’t believe I’m still alive. I am the clumsiest person I know. Today’s mishap was just one in a long line of near-death experiences that had me grateful to still be walking the earth, or walking at all for that matter.
I’m sitting at my desk, a 7-drawer beauty I inherited from my friend’s mom. I realized that I hadn’t backed up my laptop for a few weeks and to remind me to do so, I opened the bottom right drawer of the desk. That’s where I keep my small external hard drive. As I was in the middle of something I couldn’t back up at the moment so I thought I was being smart with the open drawer reminder tactic. An email came in that I wanted my husband to read. He’d just walked out to his truck and not wanting to miss him, I bolted from my chair, only to find myself in the next instance curled into a fetal position on the floor rocking to and fro holding my right leg. My head just missed the wall opposite my chair. My leg is fermenting a bruise the size, shape and color of a flattened out fruit roll-up. Such is the story of my life.
I can fall down walking on a flat, unmarred sidewalk. I fall off of porches on a regular basis. I even broke my foot hopping up a set of stairs. I walked into a fence that was propped up horizontally with the ends exposed because I wasn’t looking where I was going, just missing my eye by a hair . My husband still married me even after I embarrassed him by falling down two steps in a casino filled with people. I walk into walls often, bump my knees and elbows on the corner of things, and burn my forehead with the curling iron all the time.
Seriously, why am I still alive?
When it really counts and I’m paying attention, I can be very careful. When I became an archaeologist and had to traipse up and down steep mountains, walking 25 meters from my fellow surveyors and not get lost in the dense brush, fall off the mountainside or trip over the rocky terrain into a thorny mesquite, I concentrated and survived. Only once did I trip and fall and was luckily spared from cracking my head on a jagged rock, but that was the nature of the job – I wasn’t the only one with such an experience.
When I stop the mad chaos that’s my daily mind activity and think about what I’m doing, I end the day, or the moment, scar-free. It’s when I act before thinking, a character trait I have a reputation for doing, that I get into trouble. As I get older, I find I have to remind myself to do just that – think before acting – because my flesh bruises so much easier and my bones are surviving on borrowed time.
It isn’t easy being me.
It’s those moments when I don’t think to think that I hurt myself.
I was so concerned about my safety that I brought it up with a doctor once. “Ummm, I don’t know if there’s really anything wrong with me, but I, ummmm, fall down a lot.”
After ruling out a brain tumor I was advised to eat more protein. She thought perhaps my blood sugar and insulin levels were out of whack, thus causing my brain to malfunction. I increased my protein intake throughout the day. I don’t know if that was the solution, or that the process made me more mindful of my vulnerabilities, but I went fall-free for quite some time.
Whether it’s paying better attention to my diet or to the obstacles around me, I better figure out the solution now because my luck is running out. Maybe instead of opening a bottom drawer to remind me to do something, I would be wise to stick to that age-old, reliable method of writing on my hand; or maybe not because with my luck I’ll just get ink poisoning.