When most people think of slips, trips and falls they may think of icy conditions, little old ladies with fragile hips, carelessly left obstacles. When I think of them, I think of myself. I have a long history with the genre, and I’m not fussy which one it is I partake of.
This week it was a slip and a fall – the double. Four weeks into my new job, something was bound to happen. As it was, the cleaner was mopping a floor, I was wearing high heels (foreign to me for the last five years at least), put the two together and upsy-daisy I’m on my bum. I swear the whole department stood up and asked if I was okay. Luckily it wasn’t my department, but I do have to walk through it at least five times a day to get to my desk.
Did you show your knickers? my husband asked.
What a terrible thought. I didn’t think so but how could I be sure. I’m certainly not going to ask anyone.
But this wasn’t my worst experience, by a long shot.
I made my stage debut when I was ten in a school production of Oliver. As one of the boys in the poorhouse all I had to do was sing Food Glorious Food and stay upright. Rehearsals passed off without a hitch and on the night of the production expectations were high. The school stage were the old-fashioned blocks , four across, three deep, which formed the stage. On the night someone had decided that boys in the poorhouse would have had a more luxurious setting than I would have envisaged and had covered the stage with a brown carpet – which overlapped by some six inches all round. I’m sure you’re there before me but as I stepped on what I thought was solid ground my foot found nothing but air beneath it. Exit Stage Left! I fell off the stage and into the shadows between the curtains and the blocks, but not before making a grab for the bench seat that we’d been recently sat at and taking half of the other ‘boys’ with me. Thank God it was in the days pre-video.
(My niece surpassed me on age on this one when she fell off a button lift in the French Alps at the age of 7. I can still see the entire line of adults she wiped out behind her – bang, bang, bang, bang – like a game of skittles with her as the little bowling ball.)
Another work-related incident I recall happened at lunchtime. I worked in the head office of a large employer and there was a popular staff restaurant on site. One busy lunchtime I bounded up the couple of steps into the main serving area, anxious to get to the salad bar. (Okay, that’s a lie. I was going for cake.) Anyway, I mis-stepped and fell heavily to my knees if front of everyone eating their lunch. Like I say, it was busy and in reality only a couple of tables would have noticed if the force of the fall hadn’t been concentrated vertically from my knees up through my body. The air in my lungs was forced up and out with an almighty ‘Huhhh!’ I swear the noise level dropped to zero as everyone turned and stared. I got out of that one by standing up and doing a little bow.
Other falls have blurred into one another over the years and I can’t even remember the thousands of times I’ve tripped over nothing walking along the street. I look at other people and wonder at how they can stay upright for so much of the time. Are there any upsides to being a slipper, tripper and faller? Weak joints and bone damage aside, the best I can think of is the amusement I provide to others. A public service, if you will.