It’s been years.
Since I fell over.
Ok, I’ve tripped up the stairs in a rush and lost my footing over less than flat mats, and there was that time I fell off my bike, aged 37….but we won’t go there, again.
No, this was an embarrassing fall from grace exacerbated by a large, unsympathetic audience.
There I was, minding my own business, a woman on a grocery mission. Kiwi fruit, unsalted butter, gluten free bread, Sensodyne…and then wham! I was in an alternate universe where even as I plummeted floorwards I was saying to myself “Hey, this feels a lot like falling over, doesn’t it? Am I? Falling over? Nooo. Yes, I ammmmmmm”.
…Right palm typically takes the full defensive brunt as my foot pathetically slips and my legs become entangled, handbag landing thwack on the floor below me…
And, with Murphy among my closest friends, it was a day when every seat in the food court was taken up by infinite bus loads of elderly morning teas-ers, their mouths gaping slackly open, mid-muffin munch, blinking unbelievably at the silly cow sprawled before them.
Did they hastily get up from their chairs to help, or ask if I was alright? God no! They were too stunned to know what to do. Had they really witnessed a woman in her mid-40s hit the tiles baby giraffe style? I gave them little time to react, jumping up as soon as my confused body would let me. Even the woman sitting on the chair closest, almost within reaching distance, sat motionless, staring, like some sort of taxidermied goldfish out of water.
Had these people never seen anyone fall over before!!!!
I made my escape to the nearby post office, rubbing my sore hand and checking my ego for permanent damage, glancing behind me, almost expecting to see myself still lying on the floor. It was that surreal.
Finally composed and balancing a parcel in my good hand, I set off gingerly to my next port of call, flagging down a weary, black-clad security guard on the way. How serendipitous – now I could tell someone and make it real!
“I was walking around the corner to the post office,” I said “and all of a sudden I was on the floor.”
“Rightio, can you take me to where it happened luv. We’ll be able to check it out on the security camera, see if we can work out what happened,” he purposely took a small notebook and stubby knife-sharpened pencil from his top pocket. Things were getting official.
Again I felt as though I was performing for a nocturnal house full of bug-eyed possums, the audience watching intently as I explained where I had fallen.
“I’m not sure if something has been spilled on the floor and it’s a bit slippery. It would be terrible if one of these elderly folk slipped and fell, they’d probably break a hip. Or their concentration….”, I mumbled.
Scuffing his own sensible shoe across the floor, peering at it from all directions, searching for any imperfections, he began to resemble a dodgy mechanic with a Bali holiday on credit.
“Floor looks alright to me. Hmmmm, maybe it’s those shoes,” the security official accused, bending to inspect my feet.
“WHAT! Are you telling me I don’t know how to walk in my own boots with the sturdy medium heels,” was what I wanted to say.
What I did say: “I don’t think so. I wear these shoes all the time. I was walking fine until I got to this spot, and then I was on the floor. Ok. Thanks, anyway,” I trailed off, feeling belittled by a uniformed grandfather wearing a bunch of keys on his thick belt.
Now I almost want some old biddy to slip and fall at the same spot, just to prove a point!…In her moccasins, pushing a walking frame, husband following behind with a trolley containing just two bags, still sucking the muffin crumbs out of his falsies…
As I teeter on the brink of the age group being urged to leave the ‘burbs for the permanent bliss of an ever growing selection of convenient and sophisticated lifestyle villages, I cringe. Then shudder. Are slippers, walking aids and Metamucil really that far into my future? And how can I get a gander at that CCTV footage…