There Goeth Pride
The first thing you feel after you stumble is confidence that you’ll recover your stride like you usually do, that your best- kept- secret agility will keep you from losing your dignity, possibly making you the focus of sirens.
You attempt to lower your centre of gravity, which is no problem as gravity already has you pretty low. You try to keep your head up, figuring that the rest of you will follow. People see you hurtling towards them. The reverse angle is a stream of breathless expressions. One fellow offers up some empathy by going “oopsie daisy”. Some of the younger ones turn away in relief that they’ll probably never get to live to be as old as you are.
But you’re not down yet; you’re merely tentatively ambulatory. If you were a quarterback, you could still get a pass away. It’s important to know, at this juncture, that you’re not to blame. No one has ever called you a clumsy oaf based on unflawed evidence. It was the fault of crumbling infrastructure! “ More people die from obsolete infrastructure than from Bubonic Plague.” This is a stat that you just made up but you’re willing to stake your credibility on it. You can’t wait to spring to your feet and point out the gaping pothole that some sonofabitch of a civil servant had allowed to go unfilled.
Lowering your centre of gravity seems to have, at least, slowed you down; and that would be good, except that your knees are coming up a bit too close to your face which reminds you to keep your head up. You feel a flash of regret at having stepped off of the curb a millisecond before the don’t walk signal thrust its rude red palm at you. You could have stepped back; it did, indeed, cross your mind; but perhaps you were thinking of the motorists, stopped at the red light. Perhaps some of them recognized you from a previous crossing. Perhaps very soon, on the traffic channel, you will be flagged as an “incident on Main Street southbound”.
Some good Samaritan offers his arm to you; but then, upon realizing that you could take him down with you, quickly withdraws it. But you appreciate the thought.
You’re taking longer and lower strides now and appear to be walking from the squatting position with your head between your knees . This would probably be a good time to just fall over. Later you will hate yourself for not giving in to gravity right away.
If only you had known that you would be escalating this stumble into the realm of spectacle, assuring yourself a notoriety somewhere between anecdote and legend.
You recall the redhead seated at the window of the Coffee Shop on the corner. She seemed to look at you long enough that she might have recognized something noble in you. What must she be thinking now? Perhaps that you’ve let her down and there’s just no describing her disappointment.
You fail to plant your right foot at the prescribed angle to the pavement which causes you to spin horizontally and in doing so, effectively reverse the thrust of your fall from forward to backward, which could be a positive thing in terms of lessening the potential for injury, all the good stuff being in the front. Then, amazingly, you have the presence of mine to ascertain whether or not your sideways momentum is sufficient for you to spin a half turn which could put you within reach of a 3 point landing. That would really give them something to talk about when they got home to their families. But your plan is shot to hell when you trip over the curb. At least now the motorists are happy that they don’t have to worry about running you over. Finally your left buttock brushes the sidewalk and you find yourself still in motion but looking straight up at your right shoe which is half way off your foot and if you can’t get your toe pointed upward soon it’s going to fall off your foot and on to your head. Unless of course, you roll out of harm’s way, which you do and the shoe lands on your ear, then you roll again and continue rolling until it becomes obvious that you’re doing it deliberately and so you stop.
You check in with your brain to see if it’s receiving any pain signals from your neuro matrix. But you’re good and so you raise your head and force a laugh. And when someone asks if you’re alright, you answer fast, “oh, yeah.” Then as you get up you add, “I trained with Cirque de Soleil” but whoever it was that asked has already left the scene.