To say I am uncoordinated is a gross understatement. Like saying Beyonce can carry a tune or Tiger Woods kind of likes golf. Case in point; I broke my foot walking across the yard last week. I’m confined to a cast for the next six weeks due to my extreme lack of coordination, and I have no one to blame for this latest debacle but myself.
Okay, so I wasn’t merely strolling across the yard, I was lumbering. I was alone, it was after midnight, and I was dressed up like a crazy coal miner on a snipe hunt of my own creation. I’ll admit it; a glass of wine may have been involved. And It certainly didn’t help that I’d spent the entire afternoon at a remote beach house on the Oregon coast, listening to a true-crime podcast. I guess it made me a little jumpy. Okay, a LOT jumpy.
It was close to midnight, and I was preparing to take our dog for her final walk when I heard voices outside. Glancing out the front windows, I could see flashlights on the beach below. Most likely someone was night crabbing I told myself as I shut the drapes and leashed up the dog. I turned toward the front door and stopped cold. The motion-sensor security lights had tripped.
Something or someone was out there.
Two sets of glass doors stood between me and whatever lurked in the darkness beyond. My mind ran amok as I connected the dots. First, there were flashlights on the beach — and now the security lights had been tripped. It didn’t take long to work myself up to a total freak-out. After listening to hours of true crime stories, I was sure we were on the verge of being burgled.
From the true-crime podcast, I’d learned to always listen to your instincts. That internal voice that warns: Danger! In my case, that voice is more of a shrill menopausal hot mess, a screaming meemie. There’s no calming her, and there’s no rationalizing with her. She’s full-goose bozo and on a mission to self-destruct.
I quickly called my husband an hour away in the city. He shared my concern about the security lights. The fact he agreed with me only served to heighten my fear. I stared into the darkness beyond the glare of the security lights. Anything could be out there; a cougar or maybe a sasquatch!
The dog was getting antsy to do her business; I had no choice but to go it alone. My husband promised to stay on the phone with me while I walked the dog. Good idea, but on the coast our cell reception is spotty. With my luck; the call would drop the minute I set foot outside.
Being all alone, my only backup a poor cell connection to my husband an hour away, I decided I had better arm myself. Rummaging through the closet I found my husband’s winter parka, this I decided would make me look large perhaps even intimidating. I checked my reflection in the hall mirror. Instead of The Rock, I looked more like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in purple paisley PJ pants.
Spotting my husband’s headlamp in the closet, I slapped it on my head. Best to keep my hands free in case I had to fight off a burglar or a sasquatch. I clutched my van keys in one hand, fingers twitching over the remote panic button which I planned to press at the first sign of danger. Last but not least, I dug an old can of Mace from the junk drawer and stuffed it into my bra. I prayed to God I wouldn’t Mace myself, but I knew it was entirely possible.
On a scale of calm to completely wigged out, I was at DEFCON two.
I checked myself in the mirror and saw a deranged idiot staring back. A berzerk coal miner in paisley pants, giant parka, and royal blue Crocs. Not my best look. The dog whimpered and wagged her tail. She’d seen me look worse.
I pressed the cell phone to my ear and whispered: “Okay honey, we’re ready,” but the phone was dead; the call had already dropped. “We’re on our own, girl,” I told the dog as we walked bravely through the front doors and into the night.
Once outside, I did a cursory scan of the yard and surrounding property. There was no one hiding in the bushes, no boogyman or marauding intruders lurking nearby. I began to relax and chastised myself for letting a silly podcast get into my head. I was perfectly safe in my front yard.
My cell rang as the dog finished her business. It was my husband. I could hear the relief in his voice when I told him everything was fine. He suggested I check the gate to the beach to make sure it was locked. I promised I would, said goodnight, and made my way across the yard to the gate. A move that would prove to be my downfall.
The gate is at the bottom of a relatively steep concrete walkway which is difficult to traverse even in broad daylight. I flashed my headlamp toward the gate and seeing that it was locked, turned to make my way back to the house. At that moment, my cheap plastic Crocs slid off the edge of the concrete walk, causing me to tumble and roll my ankle. The next thing I knew, I was sprawled in front of the gate at the bottom of the hill. Searing pain shot through my leg, and my palms were raw and bloody from my harsh landing.
After a few minutes of serious wriggling, I managed to roll onto my knees. My dog sat silently at the top of the walkway panting and grinning at me. Shouldn’t my dog be at my side, tugging me up the hill with her teeth — like Lassie? So much for “man’s best friend.” She was probably embarrassed for me, I couldn’t blame her.
A few days later, back in the city, I found myself at the podiatrist’s office. He informed me that not only did I sprain my ankle; I’d also fractured my fifth metatarsal and would be in an Aircast for the next six weeks! He held up my foot and tapped my ankle with his pen. “Loose ankles,” he announced. Was this his official diagnosis; I have noodle ankle? I’m pretty sure Noodle Ankle was the name of the chardonnay I was drinking the night of the snipe hunt, but he didn’t need to know every detail.
It could have been much worse, at least that’s what I tell myself. I could have broken my hand, or even a hip or God forbid Maced a deer! I can get over a broken foot, but I’d never forgive myself for Macing Bambi.
Beyond the sprains and fractures, what I’d injured most was my ego. For all of my concerns about an intruder, it turned out that I was the only real threat to myself that night.
I no longer listen to true crime podcasts, and I’m not worried about sasquatches or other things that lurk in the night — I am; however, a little spooked by giant parkas and paisley prints. And I’m utterly terrified by the sight of anyone wearing Crocs — but then, isn’t everybody?