Sunday, August 21, 2011

From Downpour to Downfall

A last-minute change in Friday-night plans found me walking uptown in the drizzly aftermath of a thunderstorm that I overheard no fewer than 4 people describe as “biblical.” In the warm-weather months, I now wear the kind of foam-padded, well-tractioned flip-flops that don’t fall apart or make squeaking noises when they get wet. Even so, after a solid hour of jog-walking across soaked surfaces, I marveled at how remarkable it was that I hadn’t fallen down yet. I darted onto the grass to avoid a sidewalk puddle (and to sidestep the couple whose 2 dogs were dressed in raincoats) and broke into a swagger after computing that it’s been 6 months (nothing short of a record) since my last fall.

Next thing I knew, I was on my back, with one leg folded underneath me.

When I fall, it’s usually on concrete and with no dignity. But this one had some flair and there was an element of pleasure in it. Like a figure skater in the heat of competition, when I go down I always bounce right back up and keep going as if nothing happened. This time, however, I didn’t feel like doing anything of the sort. It was relaxing down there. There was no more drizzle and it had turned into an achingly beautiful night. I wanted to continue lying on the cool, plush grass in that yoga pose and gaze up at the distant etchings of lightning in the sky before treating myself to a moonlit catnap.

I could have and would have done just that if it hadn’t been for those raincoat-dog owners.

It’s a foregone conclusion that people who parade a pair of poodles around in day-glo, waterproof outerwear are going to be all about the drama, and I could hear the histrionics from yards away as they shuffle-rushed toward me. You’d have thought they witnessed someone getting shot at close range. I knew they wouldn’t shut up and leave me alone until I bounced right back up and kept going as if nothing happened.

Two days later, I’m still using a bag of frozen vegetables to ice the foot that’s become injured on account of having to bounce back up sooner than I had been ready to.


  1. Ouch! I was in pain merely reading about the fall-down. I'm sorry to hear that you still have to ice the foot. I hope the pain clears up soon. It is true that often other people's reactions cause more problems than they allay.

  2. This is a p.s. to my first comment. Today I was exploring Oprah's website, and I ran across a little story by Gloria Steinem that serves as a footnote to the topic of unwanted (and, in the end, harmful) help. When Gloria was a student, she was on a biology field trip. She saw a large turtle that seemed to be stranded on a sloping sandy bank. Feeling sorry for the turtle, she guided it back to the water. Her professor came along and asked what she thought she was doing. Proudly, she explained that she had helped the turtle return to the water. The professor said, "You know, it took that turtle an entire month to climb this far to find a place to lay her eggs."
    The moral of the story is: Always ask the turtle.