God decided not to kill me today . . . yay (I think)

So. Today was supposed to be the big feast day. We didn’t feel festive, probably because our thoughts kept returning to the Olden Days in which our extended family came to call or we went to their house(s). It preyed on our thoughts that most of our extended family is gone, and much of those who remain are either elderly and sick or part of the young crowd (grandkids of the elderly/sick) who really doesn’t relate to us very well (by their own choice). Mama felt punk, most likely because she agreed to take the flu shot a few days ago at the doctor’s office (and they told her they gave “old people” a “double dose,” aarghh), and didn’t really want to eat. Neither did Hubby. And the dog is not supposed to have all the rich stuff that he tries to get by begging. It also seemed that we weren’t getting much air out of the forced-air heating vents.

This all meant that around 2 PM hubs and I headed for the local grocery store to get Mylanta and a furnace filter. As we were walking from the car towards the store, I greeted the clerk who was bringing the shopping carts in from the parking lot. We exchanged pleasantries as we all three started across the traffic path (you know, the lane where cars go by between the rows of parking places and the entrance.) Suddenly my bad leg (the one that had the broken knee) hit something. We think it was my toe hitting a bump in the pavement.

I tried not to go down. I did that Stooges-shuffle thing where you take baby steps with both feet in an attempt not to fall. Alas, it was doomed to failure, and I realized I was going to do a faceplant.

The last time I did this in a big way, I had not realized I was actually falling until way too late; my feet slipped on wet tile and the leading kneecap hit the tile full force. That was a couple of years ago when I broke my kneecap. Everyone remembers what a hassle it was to put up with me when I could NOT STAND UP.

I heard Hubs yelling and the basket lady gasping. Two cars, one coming from each direction, had paused in anticipation of the carts going across, so they stayed stopped. The concrete parking lot surface came forward.

Stagecraft kicked in. For most of my young life, I had planned to be an actress and a writer. Therefore I have been in many, many school plays and amateur productions. I had to learn how to fall (pratfall) for many of these skits and plays–you learn it anyhow when you’re an actor. Because I learned this when I was a kid and a teen, it stuck with me and had always worked before. It’s something about the way you land–you land on your chest instead of putting all the wham on your knees, elbows, and nose. Not quite sure how it works, but it works well for many staged falls.

So I pulled the full Jerry Lewis and landed with most of the force on my left breast. No, really. I mean, yes, I felt my ankles buckling and then my knees going whack (but not with full force) and then my hands and elbows hitting, and I felt my glasses flying off my face, but my nose didn’t hit, and the WHAM came to my ribcage with the left side hitting hardest. Lucky thing I was wearing my Santa sweater, a thick red knitted thing with “BELIEVE” under the fluffy Santa applique.

Santa’s beard cushioned the blow somewhat. But I skinned my, um, well, you know, and smashed it pretty hard. Under the fabric, I mean, so there wasn’t a road rash.

A quick mental inventory said nothing had broken. (When the kneecap got blasted into three pieces, the crack was as loud as The Gipper hitting one out of the park.) I thought I might be okay if I could catch the breath that’d been knocked out of me.

Anyway, there I lay, flat on the pavement with light sleet hitting all around. Hubby and the lady extended hands and wanted to pick me up, but there wasn’t any way to rise up backwards, so I had to turn over. Then I realized I couldn’t lever straight up that way, either, so I had to get on the good knee and let the bad knee do its own thing. Mostly they wanted me to get out of the road. “Are you all right?” is the automatic question. I wasn’t sure yet, but I did think nothing was broken. Only bruised.

I managed to stand up and assured everyone I was only bruised and scraped. Amazingly, the palms of my hands weren’t torn up. My left elbow is still sore, and my knees are turning bruised tonight, but I got off miraculously easy. And the cars didn’t run over me, which is also helpful.

We got into the store and Hubby was kind of rattled, but he did manage to pick out a couple of gourmet soups that he said he’d like to have in the evening rather than leftovers (so as to stick to his diet better). It was tacky of me to be grasping my left t***y the whole time we marched around the aisles, but I can’t help it if the neighborhood is scandalized by my perversion, as squeezing the area flat seemed to help with the burning and stinging sensation. Back at the car, his hand sort of let go of the grocery sack, and the plastic containers of soup went POW and exploded all over his shoes.

I took this as a second “go home” sign, but he ran inside and bought two MORE $3.50 containers of organic tomato basil soup. That means each one actually cost $7. And that was on sale. *ouch*

By that time, I just hoped we could get home without another incident. I was still feeling pretty smug about not having been run over or breaking anything. Also, I planned not to mention the fall of the Mohican to my mother.

Of course, what’s the first thing Hubby did when he ran inside? Told my mother, “Shalanna fell down in the parking lot right in the middle of traffic!” She leapt off the sofa, but I appeared to reassure her that no major damage had been done. She was already kind of sickly (mostly because my aunt–her older sister–who is in the nursing home now–has really cracked the egg and doesn’t know us when we call her on the phone now, and also insists that she has been kidnapped and begs us to call the police, sigh), and that didn’t help. The point is, I SURVIVED. So there MUST be some purpose in my staying alive, even if I don’t really see it. (Other than taking care of these two and the dog and the filthy house as best I can when they don’t pick up after themselves or even rinse the dishes before stacking them in the sink, I mean.) It was kind of like hearing the Universe whisper, AGAIN, “I can take you any time I like” and “you can lose everything in a heartbeat,” but followed by, “Yet I don’t and you didn’t.”

Mama said, “All this falling and all these scary medical close calls are just God telling you to be nicer and not say bad things about people.”

“When did I say bad things?” (Other than telling her the other day that if I buy some little thing at the store, it’s not her place to carry on about how I shouldn’t spend any money and we’re all going to be thrown out on the street and so forth, and that she can’t be a control freak over me or I’ll crack up.)

“All the time! You hate everything! You’re a terrible person!”

I don’t hate EVERYTHING! Just most things that aren’t Pomeranians or pianos.

This evaluation is most likely based on my telling her that all I want for Christmas is the “Welcome to Oak Cliff” t-shirt that I saw a fellow in Wal-Mart wearing the other day . . . it shows a stick figure being stuffed into a car trunk by another stick figure who’s holding a gun to his head. (In other words, your welcome committee in certain parts of the Oak Cliff neighborhood in south Dallas will be muggers.) I thought it was hilarious. Oak Cliff residents have gone buggy over it, though, and two malls have had their security staffs confiscate the shirts from the kiosks. I think they’re overreacting to something that is funny . . . after all, I have always wanted a shirt that reads “Welcome to SMU” and has a princess receiving her pink tiara. (For that matter, the original shirt would work as a “Welcome to Plano” bit just as well, because THAT is where WE got carjacked.) But anyhow, my mother went into a rant about how I was raised better than that, that I weigh X number of pounds and shouldn’t wear slogan T-shirts but instead should be clad in all black so that I might disappear and not inflict visions of my fatte on innocent folk, and that she doesn’t know how she could have failed so in raising me such that I have come to sh*t.

Or maybe she gets this idea because I don’t like the dumb TV shows she turns MY TV to anytime I leave the kitchen. Dangit, I don’t want the cable company thinking that I tolerate “Dancing with the Stars” or anything on the “Lifetime for Women” channel on my set. I prefer them to believe that I actually watch those cooking shows that seem to soothe the household so well.

I don’t think the falling down and so forth is part of a wake-up call. If it is, though, I wish the Lord would leave a message at the tone! I simply can’t get what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, so I muddle through as best I can.

Although I was supposed to be humbly thankful this weekend. Maybe I got distracted. I *am* thankful. We are much better off than many others and better off than we could be. I try to remember that, even if I can’t get published. (grin) I’ve been playing through a couple of sets of Christmas carols for a while without too many clunkers, and I think I can afford to get the piano tuned. We even have our Christmas lights up and a number of nut breads baked and frozen (to be used as gifts later on). I think we’re doing all right.

But time and chance happeneth to them all. So my advice is to stay home and live vicariously through the ‘net. The only thing that can hurt you here is if you get too close to a flamewar!

Channel Five was scandalized, but I still laughed


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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