Every once in a while I have a great fall. There's at least one spectacular spill every winter, living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes means there is no shortage of ice. One of my most memorable winter falls was a million years ago, back at my old house. It was the dead of winter and every flat outdoor surface was coated with a thin, shiny layer of ice (sometimes in Minnesota winters everything looks like a giant glazed donut)(at least to me). I had a set of 8 thick, glass tumblers from Ikea, you know those heavy, clear glasses with the beveled edges? So I had a set of those, and on that particular January day one of them met its demise on the kitchen floor.
For some reason, I had decided it was a good idea to walk the pieces of broken glass to the garbage can outside. And that's what I did: proceeded to descend the slippery front steps, both fists curled around jagged shards of glass. Because I'm brilliant like that, folks. I believe anthropologists call it "survival of the fittest" or something along those lines.
Of course I fell. It was a comical, Broadway-worthy pratfall, complete with a guttural exclamation from yours truly as I cannon-balled onto the sidewalk. Now, the first thing a lady does when she falls out in public is to look around to make sure nobody saw it happen. Which I did. And then I checked for damage. Somehow I had managed to fall down those steps clutching broken pieces of glass and the only thing that was really hurt was my pride. And my butt.
That's because I fall like a lady, dammit.
I grew into adulthood watching Eddie Murphy. The Golden Years of Eddie started when he was a fresh-faced baby on Saturday Night Live (Velvet Jones, anyone? I WANNA BE A HO!) and ended around the time he did "A Vampire in Brooklyn".
A rite of passage back then was to wait until your parents were asleep and then watch one of his naughty stand up routines on cable. My favorite of those was "Delirious". I can still remember sitting in the dark on a scratchy old couch that smelled of cigarette smoke and cats, watching Mr. Murphy pace back and forth on that stage, jacket open to the waist, his tight red leather pants leaving very little to my hormonal imagination.
Delirious brought us the most totally awesome "Ice Cream" bit, wherein Eddie described how the poor kids in his neighborhood would taunt the poorer kids who couldn't afford a treat from the Ice Cream Truck. And Delirious is also where we met Eddie's Aunt Bunny.
A couple days ago, I became Aunt Bunny.
Mornings are whackadoo in my house. Granted, now that the oldest child is out of high school and is in college where the classes start later, they are easier. Less draining. Less everything. But, since I have to be to work by 7:30, and the three remaining children need to be on a bus or picked up by friends around 7:00, there is still a scramble.
That's how late I am for work, pretty much every morning. Doesn't matter if I've dragged myself out of bed at 4:30, doesn't matter if each kid got up in time, showered, ate something and made their bus/ride. I'm consistently running three minutes late. Luckily, my "boss" is someone I've known for years, and in my line of work we are kind of creative with our schedules. Three minutes late gets made up when you have to stay five minutes after quitting time. It all comes out in the wash.
But still...three minutes. It kills me. I like to be on time. So there I was Tuesday morning: ALL READY. This was it, folks, I was going to walk into the classroom, a smile on my face, homemade iced coffee in hand at 7:30 on the dot. I had a spring in my step, and felt a bit smug as I donned my long down coat (oh yes, it's winter here) and made may way through the porch and out the door that leads to the garage.
Here's the thing about long coats: they sometimes get caught in doors. Especially when the person who is wearing them is smug. And holding a cup of homemade iced coffee in her hot, smug little hand.
The steps in my garage aren't plentiful, but they are steep. As in, "feels like you're doing a lunge when you climb them" steep. So when my coat got caught in the door, it knocked me off balance, and I dangled there for a few seconds before my weight pulled the fabric free from the door frame. In those few seconds I had time to think. Here's what went through my mind:
"This is not going to be good."
"Please don't drop the coffee."
"Oh shit. Is that my bike down there?"
And then, like Eddie Murphy's beloved, fat Aunt Bunny, I fell down the stairs. Time slowed down and I had a few more thoughts.
"Yep. That's my bike."
"Please don't drop the coffee."
"Yay! I have great health insurance!"
"I'm halfway down!"
"I haven't shaved my legs in a month. If I break anything, I'm army-crawling into the bathroom and shaving them before calling help."
"This is definitely going to make me late for work."
Impact. Pain. Almost had an intimate penetration encounter with one of the pedals on my bike. Even though I was in a dark, closed garage, I looked around to make sure there were no witnesses. I got up, did a cursory broken bone check. Gingerly lifted my yoga pants, parted the sasquatch hair and decided that the gash on my knee would have to wait for a Dora the Explorer band-aid at school.
The coffee survived. Because that's how a lady falls.
And of course, I was three minutes late to work.
Watch your step, friends.
Have you met Aunt Bunny? Here's Eddie Murphy describing her descent. WARNING: So many swear words in this one. Use your headphones, dears.