I have written before about my propensity, indeed my down-right natural affinity, for clumsiness but my most recent calamity must surely be the pick of the bunch.
In days gone by, I’ve wound up with stitches in my elbow after smashing it on a shower soap holder because my knee gave way due to a previous inglorious dance floor injury.
I’ve broken all the bones in my feet in an unfortunate gymnastics accident when I was 13. That was a year after breaking my nose when I somersaulted off the uneven bars and tucked up so tight that my knee made an ill-advised connection with my poor snout’s cartilage. Being 12 is an unfortunate enough age. You should try it when you have a plaster cast literally on your face. No wonder I had issues when I was younger. Thank god they’ve all gone these days.
At this juncture, I must disclose that not only am I the Queen of Clumsy but I also am deliriously absent-minded with everyday ‘normal’ human activities, you know such as walking and whatnot. This is the person who walked into a lamp-post on the way home from primary school after all.
I generally have such a vague awareness of my surroundings that I once only realised I had a filtered water tap in my house the day I was shifting out – after living there for several months. I also do not see dust. Ever. It’s almost like my retinas were created to only see imaginary bits and pieces and nothing as boringly bothersome as dead moths or empty toilet rolls.
Two weeks ago however my utter lack of awareness nearly ended in disaster or at the very least a trip to the hospital with a case of severe embarrassment as one of my injuries.
Over recent months I have started contemporary dance. The sort that backing dancers kind of do in music videos or in that So You Think You Can Dance show. Only much much better. My former experience as a bendy gymnast 25 years ago has surprisingly held me in good stead and I am leaping about with wild, 41-year-old abandon.
The final night of the term was approaching recently, you see, and I decided one quiet Saturday arvo to practice our class’s routine in my lounge room. Now my lounge has seen plenty of dance action over recent times – especially the morning after my 40th when about 10 of us just kept on partying. Alas not much other ‘action’ can be attested too – ho hum.
Anyway, with the video of our routine on high rotation on my iPad, I started to rehearse the moves. There was some spins, some sashays and some jumps. In fact there was one jump which also involved flamboyantly throwing one’s arm above one’s head.
Lost in the moment and in the movement, I completed this tricky technique with the agility of a graceful gazelle… which unfortunately also happened to be directly beneath the ceiling fan – which was on and circulating quite fast because it was hot.
The fan smashed into the fleshy part of my thumb and when I returned to earth with a massive, painful thud I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did know there was a dent in a part of my anatomy that hadn’t there a few seconds before. And it hurt – a lot.
It quickly started to go strange colours and I envisioned an emergency trip to the hospital where I would emerge with a plaster-clad appendage and a humiliating tale to tell my brand new work colleagues on Monday.
I text my long-suffering brother with my good hand and asked his advice on whether a medial appointment was appropriate. He intelligently asked whether I could move my thumb. The answer was affirmative so it was off to the freezer for a pack of peas and some humble pie for me.
Needless to say, contemporary dance has since been banished from my house. When it comes down to it, no dance move – no matter how spectacularly it has been performed or indeed perfected – is worthy of potential phalange amputation.