Pride goeth before the fall
I hope by the time you’re reading this that we have survived the first big ice storm of winter, with few to no power outages, minimal disruptions of daily life, and that I have not busted my butt trying to get from my truck to my destination, because frankly it’s been touch and go so far this year.
Some people are naturally graceful, they float through life as if lifted by the winds, landing lightly on their feet, perfectly centered, their toes gripping the ground in the way that makes their whole body stay put. But alas, I am a Faller. Even before I could walk, I was falling - literally, my grandma fell down the steps with me when I was a baby, scaring my parents to death. And even though it wasn’t my feet that betrayed us, I get the feeling that the universe was just letting me know that falling down was going to be my thing.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve mostly fallen where no one could see me. When I was a kid, it was usually in the front yard, and since Google Earth hadn’t yet been invented, there isn’t footage of me careening out of control as I ran down a hill and face planted right in the dirt. Or any evidence of the few months I spent trying to learn how to cartwheel, and nearly breaking my neck (for the record, I did learn to cartwheel and every now and then, I tell myself I should see if I can do one. Then I remember how high my medical insurance deductible is, and I move on to thinking about something else very quickly).
Like all kids with minimal grace, a bicycle could be my nemesis. In fact, the first time I met Dr. Morad, it was because I’d taken a serious tumble off my bike and put a gash in knee that my nurse mother was sure was going to need stitches. But Dr. Morad sized me up as only needing a butterfly bandage, and sent me on my way (I suspect he also sized me up as a child who was going to be a screamer if he put a needle in my skin). I am now the proud owner of a knee scar, which I wish had a cooler story than “fell off her bike,” but at least I avoided the needle.
It was college when my falling went from amateur hour to professional. I don’t know why; West Virginia Wesleyan is about the nicest manicured campus in the state, and relatively flat, but yet I managed to fall all over that thing. And I know you’re smirking to yourself, thinking there was some sort of alcohol related reason I couldn’t stay on my feet, but I promise you, every fall I ever took, I was sober as a judge. Which really just makes it a tinge more embarrassing.
I remember one night, I was bringing back pizza and a two-liter of coke for my roommate and I. It was a spring evening, no jacket needed, and I had the pizza box balanced on my palm with the two-liter under my other arm, and right as I put my foot in the wet grass to climb onto the sidewalk, my feet just went right out from under me, and I hit the muddy ground face first. Now I am super proud of myself that I somehow managed to keep the pizza in my hand, and also managed not to land on the two-liter, a fact that the frat guy who passed me on the sidewalk directly after I ate dirt also commented on with no shortage of admiration. I managed to get myself up, now covered in mud from my nose to knees, and went back to my room, where I presented a still edible pizza to my roommate like a trophy I had won. I like to think it’s one of the reasons we’re still friends to this day, she knows I’ll always save the important things, lol.
Sometimes, I would fall in a way that even I couldn’t help but laugh about. I was crossing the Oval for lunch, and right ahead, my buddies were waiting for me with the rest of the noon crowd. It was a February day, but there wasn’t a snowflake, an icy patch, or even a puddle to be found, anywhere: just blue skies with a slight chilly bite to the air. And you know that scene in “Miss Congeniality” where Sandra Bullock’s character is walking strong, and then all of a sudden, she’s just down to the ground? Yeah, that was me. I was up, and then I was just on the ground for no reason at all, and the entire lunch crowd saw it. There I was, just laying face up and sprawled
on the sidewalk looking like a chalk outline from a murder scene, and I started laughing and couldn’t stop for a good three minutes, until my buddies came and helped me up. Now whenever I see that movie, I still chuckle to myself at how similar my fall was to hers.
I want to make something very clear: I do not enjoy falling. The only place I’ve ever liked falling was into a pool or a ball pit, or inside of a bounce house. So I’m not looking to land face first in the city parking lot for the Lord and all the residents of the apartment building across the street to see.
So I’m being proactive this year. I have a tendency to not have the necessary winter items on hand when I need them, and by the time I decide I really need them, it’s usually almost spring, so I talk myself out of getting them, promising I’ll prepare myself next winter, early. But of course I never do, and the vicious cycle just starts all over. This year, after barely making it into the office from the storm from a couple weeks ago where the rains froze up overnight and left the sidewalks and parking lot slicker that snot, I have prepped up.
I bought a pair of supposedly non-slip boots, a pair of heavy socks, along with a bag of de-icing salt, and they are currently in the backseat of my truck. So my plan is that if there is an ice issue, I’ll have appropriate footwear (my dad would be so proud, many was the time when we’d go to do serious yard work and I’d come out in sandals, and he’d heave one of those heavy parent sighs that said, “What kind of fool child have I raised, and can I give it back?”).
I also have a second part to my “Get from the car to my destination without falling” plan: I’m going to fill up my purse with salt and I’m going to sprinkle it on my path like a flower girl walking down the aisle. I see no flaws with this part of the plan (other than possible hurting my purse, but anything for the cause): that de-icing salt works fast and well, and I’ll not only be making a path for myself, but for anyone else who is also a Faller. It’s like I won’t just be sprinkling salt: I’ll be sprinkling a path of hope for all the other ungraceful people just trying to get through the day without ending up their back, staring the sky, and hoping no one saw how they ended up there.
So to my fellow Fallers: winter is tough for us, I know, but have hope in a few things: one, that we’re mid-way through, so spring is coming. And two, that Ceason the Salt Girl, is looking out for you, with her purse full of magic de-icing goodness, just waiting to melt us all a safe path wherever we need it (as long as it’s where she’s headed - I’m taking requests for path melting). It’s less than 40 days to mud season, Fallers: fingers crossed we make it with a minimum of butts hitting the concrete.