Day 46 & 47: It’s a small world after all
I’ve been ridiculously lucky throughout my life to never have had a serious illness or injury. The most serious being when I was 9-years-old and I fell down a hill while running backward in a relay race. The fall fractured my back and wedged my T-7 vertebrae. I was a young competitive ice skater at the time, and my doctors told me to prevent further injury I had to stop skating for awhile and stick to just walking. I can remember how weak I felt, and how small my world became having to stick to just my feet. I can’t remember how long it took to recover, maybe somewhere in the ball park of 4 months, but by the time I had a clean bill of health, my ice skating peers had whizzed past me, and while I dabbled in it for the next several years I never could match their talent. The injury to my ego lasting much much longer.
The next significant injury happened some 12 years later when I was at a Jimmy Buffet concert with a friend in Massachusetts. His parents are Parrot Heads, so we began the day early tailgating, walking from tent to tent and toasting our margaritas along the way. There is a Massachusetts state law for out-of-state driver’s licenses that says they cannot purchase alcohol in venues if under the age of 25-years-old. Both being 21, and out-of-state, shrugged our shoulders when beer sales were refused, grabbed waters, and headed in to the show. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Buffet concert, but he’s a close contender to Springsteen in length, where he performed a marriage on stage before dancing and signing around barefoot for hours.
By the time we left the venue well after midnight, any sign of the day’s margarita has well worn off and I was eager to get into bed. On the way back to the car, one of my flipflop got caught, causing me to twist my ankle and fall right on top of it. There was a cracking noise audible to the concert-goers around me, and someone caught me as I fainted to the ground.
Yes. Irony here is Buffet’s lyric’s, “busted a flipflop…”. Anyway..
Fractured right ankle and I was in a walking boot for months. With it being my right foot, I couldn’t drive and had to pause working one of my two jobs at the time, unable to wait tables in my condition. I was completely reliant on people to take me to work, school, and home again, and deeply remember the powerlessness in not being able to participate in the wider world.
Another decade on the books and I’m laying in bed with the third most significant injury of my life. My knee swollen, mobility significantly limited, and in a place where I live largely live and work alone, my world even in this foreign land has become the smallest I’ve ever known.
My apartment building. Straight into a taxi. Straight into my work where the grocery store is housed. In to taxi and back home again. While my world has narrowed, I work actively to marvel at the details I somehow have missed in the day-to-day. The women who press the buttons of the elevator each day, the men who hold the door at my work with white gloves, Anne who joyfully makes my decaf Americano in my office building each day and knows all of the other customers by their orders without saying a word. The front desk of my apartment who have generously offered up food and treats, and who have all let me use them as a crutch walking to my taxi or to all the way to my door. My colleagues checking in on me through text, and offering help at every turn.
What I didn’t understand in my past two injuries is the importance of the ability to self soothe (e.g. really work to take care of yourself/do what the doctor says), and how absolutely spectacular a small world community can be that is too often left ignored (as I did in my previous injuries).
I’ll get over this swiftly no doubt, and I will owe a lot of credit to those in my small universe who made me realize how absolutely exceptional humans on this planet can be.