One of my all time favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day off. Remember the part where he makes a recording for the doorbell? “Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t come to the door right now. I’m afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a nasty spill down the stairs…” I don’t know if my condition was weakened and if it was, by what. But I did exactly that: take a nasty spill down the stairs.
It was awful.
I had just finished reading a bedtime story to my son, and I could hear my husband snoring in my daughter’s room, which made me chuckle internally, because ain’t that just a parent’s life? You pass out at 8pm in your kid’s room at bedtime before they even do?? I came out of my son’s room, and headed for the stairs, and…. I have no idea what happened… I slipped, I think? On the top step… fell… and before I knew it, I was descending the 15 or so steps on my ass like freaking Tom and Jerry. Bump bump bump bump…. And it was happening so fast, that I couldn’t even grab on to anything, and in my head, I thought, “just relax and stop fighting it.” Seriously.
Once at the bottom of the stairs, I lay there staring at the ceiling and thinking, am I still alive?? Can I move all 4 extremities? Husband ran out and helped me up, and made me ice my bruised ass (the size of the hematoma I have now is truly impressive), and gave me a serious talking to about walking around on hardwood floors in my socks and no slippers.
I kept saying, “I’m fine, I’m fine… My butt just hurts…” although, I did lament that I couldn’t take a day off work for something like this, and also that I probably wouldn’t be able to go back to gym as was my plan, after a two week absence. Went to bed as per usual. When I woke up, I realized that I actually feel like I got seriously beat or hit by a bus, and again, the hematoma on my ass is ginormous, plus there are several minor ones on my foot, my elbow… And I started thinking – if I were old, I’d totally have a hip fracture right now. (Reminder to self: resume calcium with D). And even being not too old, falling down the stairs is a serious business, and hematoma notwithstanding, I was lucky to have fallen on my ass and not headfirst! What if I had broken my neck? Become a quadriplegic (tfu! tfu! tfu!)? Then I started imagining how that would be for my kids. One day they had a functioning mommy, and the next day, they’d be seeing me in bed and unable to hug them. And I would be so lonely, and asking for them to hug me, and they’d be busy and not like to be around me because I’d be smelly… like medicine or… decubes…
All in all, it was really unpleasant and disturbing to imagine. I had to physically snap myself out of it.
But then I was thinking…
Let me go back one second – I recently read Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking, where she talks about the year after her husband died and when her daughter was sick. One of the biggest points she was making was: everything is fine until it isn’t. It’s always “it was a regular day like any other…” until you have a cardiac arrest and drop dead at dinner.
So – then, I was thinking… it was a bad fucking Monday yesterday. The horrendous Las Vegas shooting, which is a tragedy beyond words, it was everywhere yesterday, as was the immediate back and forth “it’s the libtards…” “it’s the neocons!!” For those people at the concert, it was also just a night like any other, and then it wasn’t any more. A regular evening, and then 59 people were dead.
I felt ill all day today, and I think it was more than just the whiplash and bruise. It was because everything was perfectly ordinary until in a split second, a stupid thing happened that made me question my mortality. It was because anything can happen anywhere at any time. It was because now in addition to worrying about cancer, car accidents, war, my kids getting sick or injured, freaking MASS SHOOTINGS, I also have to worry about the stairs in my fucking house!
Ugh, maybe my husband is right, and I should just get slippers. That will fix everything, right?