There’s just no graceful way to do it. Fall over, that is. One minute you’re standing upright like a normal able-bodied human being, and the next, you’re kissing the ground beneath you.
Rushing to a see a friend last week, I was hurriedly emailing on my phone (not assessing the danger) and out of nowhere, I tripped. On some stupid rank ‘mock grass’ carpet, lying outside the uber trendy Notting Hill boutique, Village Bicycle.
To say I ‘tripped up’ is to present the image of a person stumbling in step and quickly regaining composure.
I went slap-bang-wallop, arse over tits, thwack, face-down-flat on the sodding concrete. And it bloody hurt.
Mostly, my ego. And then also, my knee, which is now, incidentally, sporting a gigantic angry CARPET BURN of all things.
Yes I’m cross because I’m writing this on the tube, just minutes after it happened.
No one came to my rescue.
A tracksuit clad gent walked passed seconds after though, spat out his beer and gasped in hysterics at me and my misfortune. This of course only served to highlight that in addition to unadulterated amounts of damage to my leg, I must also take on board how ridiculous I looked – flailing around on the ground, in sub zero temperatures, like a battery operated child’s toy recently tortured by Dennis the Menace; broken, but still functioning, in a convulsive series of jerks.
I don’t know what it is about people falling over that is so amusing to us. I say ‘us’ because I also find it funny. The idea of someone actually sliding on a banana skin makes me want to weep with laughter. I saw it once in real life and if truth be told, it was even funnier than I could have possibly imagined.
Do we like seeing people in pain? No of course not. As Brits, when embarrassing stuff happens to other people, we cringe. But somehow a person wiping out is hysterical.
I’m chuckling to myself even thinking about it.
The worst part of falling over is undoubtedly pretending we’re ok.
‘F****CK. F*****CK. F*****CKING SH*****ING PAVEMENT,’ we want to holler.
What actually comes out is this: ‘Ha ha ha! I’m fine! I’m fine…ha ha ha!’
Clearly we don’t find it funny. And we are certainly not ‘fine.’ We’re trying to salvage what’s left of our shattered dignity. Whilst doing this, we are also trying to distract ourselves from another feeling – one of fear. A fear that tells us it’s quite possible we’ve done something we thought would never be possible – broken our own ASS.
Our heads are suddenly clouded with visions…
…of hobbling around on crutches for the next ten years
…of re-telling the story (again and again) about how exactly our bottoms were broken
…of having to use the crapper standing up…and having to get someone else to help us…
We quickly convince ourselves not to think about these things. For now, we must laugh it off, stand up, and carry on as normal. Even if in doing so, we run the risk of adding further injury, anything is better than what we’re doing now: lying on the ground, spread-eagled, being laughed at by strangers…
There’s no recovery from a fall. No matter where you are – on a dance floor, a pavement, at an awards ceremony – you still look like a CLOT.
As we hobble away, we comfort ourselves that it’s happened to everyone. And then sigh with relief that whilst we may be uncool, clumsy and (at this second) unloved… at least we’re not this:
By Beenie Langley