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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Seriously, only me

I am a giant clod.

Kind of like Po in Kung Fu Panda. Doesn't go looking for accidents-- they just sort of find him.

My husband is mystified by me. He says I'm the clumsiest person he's ever met who was once an athlete and who has never once been seriously injured *knocks on wood-- a lot*.

Seriously-- I grew up playing baseball and as a competitive figure skater. No injuries there other than the expected bumps and bruises. I spent the majority of my time from age fifteen until about age twenty-two in marching band and drum and bugle corps. Believe me, there's opportunity for injury there, but no. Nothing.

Walking seems to be my issue. Standing also. My history includes:

My brother slamming the door of our big, horkin' 1972 Dodge Polara on my hand when I was five. Lots of bruises and swelling. Remarkable especially when you consider how heavy doors were on those land barges disguised as 1970s-era cars. (Perhaps this one shouldn't count. Totally the fault of The Prince of Darkness.)

Falling backwards from a crouch. This was my worst injury. I suffered a hairline crack in my ankle that the ER physician could barely see.

Falling through rotted wood bleachers. Deep bruise and a few light scratches.

Getting my thumb wrenched by a bowling ball. Sprain.

My cat rebelling against being administered some meds. He backed off the counter and when he felt himself falling, clamped onto the nearest thing with his mouth. Which happened to be my hand. Yeah, the puncture wounds weren't pretty, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with an I.V. of antibiotics.

Falling ten feet down through the ceiling of a garage (I was in the attic space and found the one spot that hadn't been floored) and landing on a concrete floor inches away from weight training equipment. Mildly sprained ankle. Oh, and a sore back.

My daughter hugging me and nearly pulling me out of my chair. My leg went the wrong way and my hip didn't enjoy it. The doctor diagnosed it as a hip pointer but nothing major.

Trying to put ear drops in the Labrador's ears and having her... object, shall we say. She backed me into the counter where my ankle had an unfortunate meeting with the corner of the dishwasher. It was swollen and bruised and everyone suspected a chipped bone. With my history, I said, "Nah," but I was overruled and made to go to the urgent care. Diagnosis: swollen and bruised. Imagine that.

And my latest, I was walking into my pantry and the door jamb and my toes had an unfortunate meeting. For once, I actually thought it was broken, which, of course, would have been a first for me, but nope. Bruised, mildly sprained, and looking like a tiny Vienna sausage, but nothing more than that.

Why am I going through this litany of stupid injuries? Because, I'm starting to wonder if it's not my subconscious finding a way-- any way it possibly can-- to slow me down. Oftentimes, these little injuries, while not completely debilitating, often require that I put my leg (or hand or whatever up, and just slow down. And if I'm medicated, I'm slowed that much more, if you catch my drift.

In a way, it allows for me to remember what it's like to just drift. To not feel the urgent sense of "have to." Because even if I'm not under contract, I always give myself a self-imposed deadline and I'm such a workaholic, I feel guilty if I don't meet my "deadlines." Yeah, I'm bent that way.

So I can't tell you how many books have gone unread and movies gone unwatched because I'm always working in some way shape or form. And the downside of this is, I'm so darned stubborn, I will fight with a chapter or scene and attempt to wrestle it into submission rather than just walk away, let it sit, and go read a book or watch a movie. So I suppose it really shouldn't have come as any surprise last night, as I was sitting with my poor little Vienna sausaged toe propped up on a pillow and I was beginning to thumb through a book I'd just bought and wasn't sure when I was going to read (The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee if anyone's interested) that I wound up having an epiphany. For weeks, I've been wrestling with the latest chapter of the WIP-- just an old-fashioned snarling, spitting, scratching, pulling hair girlfight-- and I'd been determined to win. But last night, I had to give. The throbbing of the toe made it impossible to concentrate on anything.

So of course, perversely, this is when I realized I'd been fighting in vain. That all this time, all this effort expended on this stupid chapter and the reason it had been balking like a virgin being led to the sacrificial volcano was because it was the wrong chapter. I couldn't get in the flow because that chapter was all wrong for that section.

And I wouldn't have realized it if I hadn't had to stop, my waking mind occupied with something else.

Or I could just be using it as rationale for being a terrible clod.


sharonanne said...

I'm a total klutz too. I've sprained my ankle 4 times in the last two years. I also had a finger slammed into a car door when I was 13 and I got 11 stitches. I still have half a bottle of meds from all my injuries. I keep it with me just in case!

Jenny O'Connell said...

Oh, a figure skater!! I'd love a good book about a figure skater.

Barbara Caridad Ferrer said...

Yeah, I always have plenty of ibuprofen around. Anything stronger than that and I turn into a drooling idiot, so it really gets reserved for special occasions. *g*

Jenny, I tried with a figure skating story. There's no market for one apparently. But if you'd like to read what I did have, I posted the partial up on my regular blog: Part One and Part Two.

I'm bummed too, because I really like this story a lot, but like I said, I was told no market. Feh. Probably because I didn't put in a hockey player. :-)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I'm also a total klutz. But I love the lesson about figuring things out when your mind is occupied with something else. I have to learn that one over and over again because like you I am always fighting fighting fighting with a scene or chapter. Even my fiance will encourage walk away and work on something else, but I can't... Then when I finally do. Breakthrough...