Wednesday, I segued from my usual grousing about the snow and slush to new grousing about freezing rain and ice. Although my normal pace is overdrive, the slippery sidewalk has forced me to heed caution and downshift to first gear. I admit that I fear falling and breaking one of the more obscure bones in my 206 bone being.
My boss’s daughter who’s half my age and twice my level of fitness fell in the street this week and tore all the ligaments in her ankle. Elsbeth, my superior, drew me a vivid illustration of her spawn’s injury complete with ligament tears. Just looking at that image was enough to make me silently retch. Had I not found that sketch so disturbing I surely would have thought to photograph it for this post.
I have been noticing more and more people with an arm in a sling or a foot encased in a ski-boot-type cast. I highly doubt that these injuries were caused by ordinary drunkenness or basic clumsiness such as tripping over the cat or a small child. I am certain that the wicked weather is the culprit. In addition, there’s the possibility of getting beaned by a chunk of ice hurling itself kamikaze-style off a building roof or ledge. I narrowly avoided suffering that indignity both last year and last week.
Returning to the subject of falling, about 85 percent into the old millennium, I was introduced to black ice the hard way. I was wearing stupid shoes while crossing West End Avenue one winter’s evening. Stupid shoes are harsh weather averse footwear such as spike heels, sandals or swim fins, although mine were crummy sneakers.
Suddenly, my feet lifted out from under me and I was airborne for what seemed to be a ten count, but in reality, I was probably upended for little more than a tenth of a second. I was fully conscious of my approaching fate. Borrowing a page from Wile E. Coyote’s book of tragic mishap where he finds himself standing next to the cliff rather than on it, I was completely perpendicular to the street below and feeling doomed.
Me (thinking): This is gonna hurt.
The law of gravity combined with g-force kicked in. My back slammed so hard on the asphalt I initially wondered if I left my impression embedded in the avenue. I didn’t, but the shooting pain that followed resonated throughout my entire upper body. The avenue left its impression in me.
It was a most unusual sensation.
Unlike Mr. Coyote, I fortunately suffered this fall when cars were not barreling down the avenue so I was spared the added indignity of finding myself reduced to road kill identifiable only by my stupid shoes. Shaky and dazed, I was resilient enough to spring to my feet and continued my trek home warbling the British spiritual courtesy of Monty Python, I’m a Lumberjack.
Although the memory of that fall remains burned in my brain forever, I healed quickly. If I were subject to a similar injury today, I am certain that my entire body would be in a splint for weeks.