but I don’t want to be clumsy

I fell down, last night. Coming down the stairs, into Ev’s backyard, it was dark, and the light was out, and I was thinking, as I scrabbled at the wall and wondered how many more steps were left, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t be funny if I just went flailing off and landed on my head?” As I thought that, I put my foot out into space, leaned my weight against nothing at all, and went tumbling down the remainder of the stairs, falling forever and ever in the dark and convinced, I remember in that endless, incredibly embarrassing moment, that I was about to break something, many somethings, that this was it, and I had finally succeeded in killing myself with my clumsiness and was leaving these people with a horrible mess.

I landed on my elbow and my knee, and I sort of rolled over on to my hip and kept my head down and I stayed curled up like that for a moment, trying to figure out how to get the air back into my lungs and wondering if I was brave enough to flex my wrist and stretch out my knee and see if anything had busted open and would send me to the emergency room because I am so smart and careful and very cautious and I would never wear very tall shoes and climb down a set of dark stairs after having a glass of wine because that is the intelligent thing to do.



It hurt, and it was embarrassing, and I am fine, if a little banged up,
with some glorious bruises forming along my shoulder and elbow and hip
and knee. I woke up sore as hell, and I’m still hurting. I woke up
feeling incredibly stupid, and I still feel incredibly stupid–because
that is exactly how to end a perfectly pleasant social evening, by
flinging yourself off someone’s back stoop and making them worried
you’re going to take them to court.

I am so tired of being so clumsy. E worries that I really am going to
end up hurting myself in horrible ways, and he is always cautioning
me–be careful, look where you’re going, please, for the love of god,
think before you do things, just think and please don’t break every
bone in your body
–and so far I have managed to do that last thing; my
bones are generally intact, but with every impact, cut, scrape, fall,
bruise that blooms beautifully across the entire landscape of my ass, I
feel that much more ridiculous. I hurt myself, sometimes greviously, on
a regular basis. It is always very hilarious, the way I fall down–at
least, that’s what people tell me–but I am tired of being hilariously
injured. I don’t want to be Mr. Bean any more. I don’t want to pratfall, I don’t want to feel stupid anymore, I don’t want people to shake their heads at me and sigh at my clumsiness and carelessness, any more. I hate it.

The only problem with that is that I also don’t see why I have to think
and be careful and look where I’m going and not do stupid things like
think I can carry an entire, precarious armful of stemware down rickety
basement stairs while wearing slippery flip-flops. I should be able to
do all these things and not get hurt. Everyone else can do those things
and not end up in the hospital, having glass shards plucked from their
sprained pelvises, right? Please don’t disabuse me, because it is
important to have a dream.

  5 comments for “but I don’t want to be clumsy

  1. Sammy
    July 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Poor dear. If it makes you feel better, I have broken my arm falling off a couch, gotten a concussion tripping over a coat, gotten another concussion picking up a cat, sprained my ankle falling off the sidewalk…the list goes on and on. Perhaps we’re too busy thinking gloriously clever thoughts to worry about mere things like interacting with the physical universe?

  2. July 9, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I feel your pain. My most recent escapade involved missing the first step outside our back door that I have walked down about 4,000 times before, in broad daylight. I went down all the concrete stairs on my bum and my knee and hurt my fingers of my right hand a bit from trying desperately to grab hold of the railing. I ripped a big hole in my favorite warm up pants, scraped up both knees and hands, and had monumental harm done to my pride.
    I was on my way to the gym, but instead I achingly made my way back upstairs and crawled back into bed.

  3. dinogirl
    July 9, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Yep. I took a tumble down the stairs in January that gave me a broken ankle and a screwed-up knee. I feel off a curb on vacation that ended in an emergency room – 2 broken teeth, a sprained ankle, skinned hand, black eye, and fat lip. Etc.
    It sucks being clumsy. And am I ever that. Yet… I am a decent snowboarder and a dancer. I manage to do fairly complex tasks of coordination on a regular basis, yet, in a separate incident, I once twisted my ankle steeping off a different curb and spent 6 weeks in a cast.
    I think it comes down to mindfulness. When I am snowboarding, for instance, I am paying attention to snowboarding, scanning the terrain, planning my line, etc. When walking down the stairs with a laundry basket, not so much…

  4. July 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Dude, I feel your pain – I will also represent for the Klutz Brigade. I sprained the same ankle – twice – walking out of my bathroom. Yeah, the bathroom was up a step from the hallway, but still.
    I have also tripped over the sidewalk outside the courthouse (I had gone to file things for work) and scraped my knee, second-grader style; slammed my boob in a car door; slammed my arm in a car door; slammed my face on a car door; broken my toe walking into the bathroom in the middle of the night; slipped on the one patch of ice remaining in the parking lot and ended up with a most grievous case of wet ass (this was right after I got together with my current boyfriend, and I did it in front of him); tripped going up the concrete stairs at my apartment and sprained my wrist; fell out of one of those bumper boats (into the bumper boat pool – god, I heard about that for years); and any number of other incidents which resulted in injury to either my body or my pride.
    I too rage against the unfairness of it all – seriously, how come I can’t just be GRACEFUL?

  5. MOM
    July 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Clumsy is a hereditary trait of the family which you definitely got from me. Let’s see – two broken ankles falling up and down stairs; a fractured knee cap from tripping on my sandals; sprains left and right and up and down; and so on. But you get the picture, my dear. Besides the beauty part you got the clutz part too – sorry. (lol)

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