Here’s the scenario...Sal and I were looking at a table in our little condo. Atop the table stood an old antique library lamp with a green glass shade. Sal moved something next to the lamp, and it started to fall from the desk. Everything slipped into slow motion, giving us plenty of time to think a myriad of thoughts as the lamp was falling to the floor. Neither of us moved a muscle to try to catch it. We never even gasped or made any attempt whatsoever to try to catch that lamp.
Therein lies ALL the difference.
We just looked at each other after the sound of breaking glass dissipated. Accusatory glares were exchanged between us, with guilt felt on both sides about not at least trying for a lamp save. Then we started laughing and couldn’t stop for a long time. It was an hysterical AH-HA midlife moment! Because, during the slow-motion portion of the fall, we both realized in a split second that we could do way more damage to our bodies than having to buy a new lamp shade, were we to make any sudden movements.
I pictured a broken hip, a pulled muscle from the reach and cut arms from landing in the broken glass because, I was too slow to the chase. You’ll hear what Sal thought (and Sal’s thoughts always surprise me), but this was a turning point, no doubt. This got me thinking. What doesn’t? And, I realized that, without even knowing it, we’ve crept into another, older category.
Remember how you used to be able to open a jar without the aid of a rubber sleeve or contraption that helps you grip?? When did that happen?
When I rise from my bed now-a-days, it’s important to stretch my arms up, do a mini-spinal twist to the left and the right then reach down and touch my toes before my ass ever leaves the bed. If something untoward were to happen to Sally in the middle of the night, I fear that, like the lamp falling to the floor, I would remain motionless until I could go through my stretching rituals...and by that time...God would be resting her soul.
Think about how easy it used to be to run across the street before the light changed. HA! Try it now, and see how far you get without breathing too hard, having your arches fall or pulling your thigh muscle. When we get caught in the middle of an intersection now, we just hold an outstretched arm with the palm up, while simultaneously creating an incredibly menacing scowl on our faces, practically daring the driver to pull one-half inch closer. It seems to work pretty well for us, especially when we do it in unison...double trouble!
Remember when it was a lot easier to get up from the toilet? I’m just sayin...
Oh, yeah, yeah, the whole lamp incident was so indicative of how our reflexes have given way to logic and fear for the ramifications of how quick movements can wreak havoc on our bodies. Sorry, Mr. Lamp, no wrenched back for me from trying desperately to stop your fall.
As the lamp began to fall, my mind also went into slo-mo mode as I watched it fly gracefully to the floor. I was thinking, that lamp is going to hit the floor and the glass bowl on it is going to break into a million, little pieces and cause KK to have a conniption fit. I remembered how, when I was a teeny, whip of a girl and I dropped Grandmother’s expensive, porcelain figurine of an old lady on a bench holding balloons of different colors. I always loved that little figurine, and I couldn’t help picking it up to look more closely at the slip of the old lady’s long skirt.
I tried to glue the figurine back together before Grandmother found out. I really thought I had gotten away with it until a few days later when she noticed that there was a shoe sticking out of the old lady’s head, and one of the balloons sat where her foot should have been, giving the impression that she had just given birth to a big, red balloon that had dropped out of her uterus and landed at her feet. I was thinking, ‘I have to forgive myself for that.’ Hell, I was only five years old. And all Grandmother did was tell me that I was silly and not give me a second helping of her famous mince-meat pie.
I was just beginning to remember the time I broke Mother’s plate that she had stolen from the room service tray at The Savoy in London. I was thinking about….
And CRASH! The antique library lamp in our condo hit the floor with a sound like a dropped tray at a cheap cafeteria. Are there still Furr’s Cafeterias around? We used to go there on Sundays when we visited our cousins in Lubbock, and our Uncle Bill managed one of them. That thought was going through my mind as the pieces of glass settled into the shape of a rearing stallion on the floor.
Then it was quiet in the condo. I would tell you what I began to think at that time, but it would take a hundred more pages just to get to the place where KK finished brushing the broken glass pieces into the dustpan.
Here are just a few things that went through my mind as she was heading for the mop-closet:
*When I was 25 years old I could have caught that lamp in midair and placed it back on the desk with the graceful movement of a ballerina doing a solo in Swan Lake.
*When I was younger, in fact, right up into my forties, my pillow-face was gone in fifteen minutes. Now it lasts for three hours and has spread to my arms.
*I used to spring out of a chair when called for cocktails. Now when I get up, I’m still in the same sitting position right up until the Vermouth hits the ice and I finally straighten up for our toast; ‘Here’s to not dying young!’
These days, when I break something…I pretty much don’t give a shit.