This morning my boss (who is much younger than me, and in much better shape) asked me if I’d hold the door for him as he was bringing in a large box of stuff from his car. I stood at the door, and watched as he looked out at the slick, icy parking area. Apparently, he saw in front of him a snowboarding hill or skating rink, because he let out a little “whoop”, and went into an intentional, graceful slide, ending up right at the trunk of his car. I, on the other hand, saw only a pending trip to the ER.
I am NOT graceful, and in the last couple of years, my balance has gotten way worse. I am also not at all athletic, or in even mediocre shape when it comes to physical fitness. I’m ok with that. Really. But I also am very afraid to fall on the ice. When I strike out across the parking area, I assume my “winter walking” stance. I hunch my shoulders (because they tense up at the thought of falling), and shuffle my feet in tiny, awkward steps, to minimize my time on one foot. I am careful not to get going too fast, because we all know what can happen if you try to stop suddenly on a slick surface. I’ve even found myself shuffling in such an overly “careful” way that I almost cause my own fall. It’s like as soon as there is a little ice, I suddenly age 30 years, and walk like an 80 year old woman (no offense to the seniors, as I will be one sooner than I’d like!)
Aside from the worry that I will break something and end up in the hospital, there’s also the humiliation factor. I know you’ve all done this at some point. As soon as you fall, you look around to see who saw you take a digger on the ice, right? I do this before I even assess my possible injuries. And when I see someone else fall, unless they look badly hurt and in need of assistance, I look away, to afford the person the opportunity to do the look-around and get up before they think I saw anything.
I’ve also realized that in the last few years, I’ve let go of my love for making snow angels or going sledding. It’s just too hard to get down on the ground, and almost impossible to get back up. Oh, to be young again, and look forward to heading out onto that slick icy patch, take a running start, and do the perfect standing slide, with no fear, no embarrassing plop or ambulance ride included.