While saying my good mornings on Twitter today, I commiserated with a friend over her burned hand. She had burned it on the oven rack and lamented about how these things seem to happened to her. Yep… I can TOTALLY relate. It seems to me if it can happen; it will, especially if I am anywhere near the vicinity. I had a friend tell me once that it isn’t that more weird stuff happens to me than to other people, it’s that I tell people about it! I’m not sure about that…oh wait…I’m about to tell people…so…sigh…okay, but what about my third date with my husband? Yeah! I hadn’t told him any of my “clumsy or it happened to me” stories and yet, while getting out of the car at an amusement park he felt the need to say, “Try not to trip today”. So, I’m thinking that I just have a natural proclivity for freak accidents, unlikely scenarios and OMG NO situations. The fact that many of these happened when on a date with my now husband says something about love. Maybe that it’s blind and slighty stupid? Well, despite the indignities and scars (yes…I burned his arm with the frying pan the first time I served him breakfast) he has suffered on my account, we are still together some 40 years later. Go figure.
I want to tell you a story that will encapsulate my lack of …grace? But, I’m having a tough time choosing which story to tell you, there are so many! So, maybe I should go with some of my favorite author’s advice (Diana Gabaldon) and use the rule of three (ok …I know that’s not exactly what she meant, but I’m going with it). So, here are three tales from my not so graceful life.
It seems that water has always been a part of my life. I currently live in a cottage on a lake and have lived near water most of my life. Many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around trips to Tappan Lake. My grandparents and their brood of children and grandchildren would often spend Sundays enjoying summer at the roadside rest stop that bordered the lake’s speed zone. We would arrive early in the morning to the smell of Grandma frying bacon in the picnic shelter she had reserved for us with red and white checked tablecloths and green Coleman coolers. This day was a particularly exciting day because Grandpa had bought a speed boat! The wood boat was varnished golden brown, renovated and beautiful. We were all excited to take a ride and even more excited to learn how to water ski! Perched on a picnic table, all of us wanna be skiers listened intently to the safety rules and ski instructions. Opportunities for this kind of thrill were rare in my 13 year-old world and I was practically bursting with anticipation.
It was a glorious day! Grandpa was patient and before long I was up jumping wakes and throughly enjoying the sun and water. This kind of activity burns a few calories and the skiers would find ourselves at times hungry and tired. Because the road side rest was on the speed zone, we had an unique and time saving method of reaching shore. Instead of driving the boat to shore, tying off and letting people embark, we learned how to “whip” in. Grandpa would drive along side the rest and let us jump the wake while he then turned. We would let go of the ski rope and our momenteum would carry us close to shore. We would then sink into the water as we slowed, kick off our skis and swim the rest of way to food and rest. Good system.
As the day progressed, my skill level increased, but so did my level of tiredness. I gave Grandpa the hand signal that indicated my need to “whip” into shore. Tired and not anxious to swim the rest of the way, I came up with a brilliant energy-saving idea! I would just hold on to the ski rope a bit longer! In my 13 year-old, “I haven’t taken physics in jr-high”, mind this seemed an entirely plausible and reasonable response to my desire. You just know this isn’t going to end well and you would be right. The reality of physics took over and I built up speed. Too much speed to sink. I was headed for the shore and a large rock and fast. I had enough presence of mind to spread my legs so that my skis ended up stuck into the bank on either side of the rock. I was propelled out of the skis and across the grass on my stomach in a two-piece bathing suit. As I took a bodily inventory, I heard the screams. I’m happy to say I was bruised and scraped, but not badly injured. My water-sking career with Grandpa and his boat, however, was over.
A few years have passed, not without incident, but I survived to be a Freshman in high school. And, you will be glad to know taking science courses. This particular day, I was in lab class and working with chemicals and a Bunson burner. After the last tale, I’m sure you are all envisioning me blowing up the school. I didn’t (thank you very much), but I did catch something on fire. Me.
Really…it could have happened to anybody….
I was bending over the Bunson burner doing the science thing when I began to smell something funny. I once again heard screams and found myself being beaten about the head by my lab partner. Disaster was avoided, but the left side of my middle parted Marsha Bradyesque hair was singed along with my eyebrow and a few of my eyelashes. I finished the school day (going home was not an option) trying to avoid looking into the eyes of my classmates and cringing every time someone explained what the smell was that permeated the halls and classrooms.
I’m sure you’re all hoping that I left this sort of thing in adolescence. Nope. My adulthood has been generously peppered with graceless moments. One of the more embarrassing involves a car. Actually, quite a few of my tales involve cars, but this tale was especially horrifyingly awful. My husband was a college football coach. We often entertained our football “coaching family”. Not sure what we were all watching on TV, but the “family” were over at our house eating, drinking and watching some “important” sporting event. As often happened with this group, they ran out of liquid refreshment. Ever the designated driver, I was asked to make a run. The trouble was that my car was blocked in by several other cars. One of the ‘family” threw me his keys. I made the run and returned home without incident. At least, until I parked the car back in the driveway.
To fully understand what happened next, you must have some logistical/geographical information. We lived on campus in front of one of the dorms and next door to two different professors. The house sat on a hill. This is significant. The tennis course was also behind the house and we would often watch balls hit over the fence roll down hill. The hill’s incline was steep and there was no way you could catch anything rolling down the hill. You just waited until it came to rest against a parked car or building downtown.
Okay…to continue, the car was automatic, but instead of being on the steering wheel the gear stick was on the floor between the seats. I put the car into what I thought was park and began walking down the hill to the house carrying the requested refreshments. Behind me I heard the ominous crunching of gravel. I turned to see the borrowed car rolling out of the driveway and building up speed. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the car turned into the one of the professor’s yards and…right into his new boat.
I’m not sure how I walked into the house or what I said to explain recent events. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mind blocked it out because there is only so much embarrassment the human mind can handle.
As you can see, I really can relate to my twitter friend’s lament. Maybe you can relate to my tales. If so, I’m soooooo sorry.