Friday 4 October 2013

Humbled by Stair Diving

Lunch today is a mixture of leftover nubs: a sandwich with slices of Wensleydale, Port Salud, and Davidstowe Cheddar with the last bit of fresh tarragon and the last bit of chopped Romano pepper. Not a bad creation considering my haphazard and sometimes mindless attempts to be conscientious about not wasting food.

I'm returning to work after being off for 2 days after having done an impressive dive down a flight of stairs at a party on Saturday night. This isn't my first dive, mind you, and fortunately it wasn't the most damaging. I think my worst-injury dive was my first one many years ago, when I woke up in a London hospital with my forehead and chin stitched up, and the second-worst was 3 years ago when I knocked myself out, managed a permanent rug burn on my right cheek, and was unable to finish a sentence for 2 weeks. Four of my falls occurred on those short little stairs featured in typical Northern England terrace houses, most of them built in the late 19th century when people were very tiny. Even though my feet are small I have to step sideways down the steps. Therefore it is fairly easy to accidentally slip, especially if one is a clutz like myself, and if there is no handrail with which to steady oneself.

On this most recent stair dive I didn't injure anything in particular, except for the sensibilities of my traumatised friends; but my body is extremely stiff and sore and doesn't appreciate me moving in certain directions, particularly -- and perhaps ironically -- toward the floor. The doctor told me movement is good but not to do anything that hurts. And one of the things that hurts is to take long strides.

This is where the humility comes in. I am a speedfreak when it comes to walking. I love to walk and I love to walk as fast as is possible with my long legs and my super-quick strides. I love to feel the wind blow through my hair as I sail through the air like a schooner, leaving every pedestrian I pass in my wake. I love to push myself to walk even faster than is humanly possible, with my mind leading the way for my rocketing body. My friends comment that when they see me walking by I'm just a blurred streak. This is part of my persona.

But at the moment I have to walk very very slowly, with short strides. I feel like I'm stuck in slow motion, walking at the same rate as the elderly men and the obese ladies and the students on crutches and the idly meandering families with nothing better to do than meander. This morning I walked from the gallery to the little Sainsbury's to pick up a couple of items before work. Normally I do this walk in no time flat, jetting along the pavement like a missile. But today it took me so long, so unbearably long, that I found myself bored shitless by the time I was only a third of the way there. I never realised how boring walking at a slow rate can be. I want to keep up with the greyhounds and the cheetahs. I want to feel the G forces fold back my face. I want to get there faster than anybody else!

But for now it's baby-step, baby-step, baby-step, baby-step, baby-step….(yawn)…

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