My primary skill in life is taking a tumble for no apparent reason. Anyone can slip going down icy hills or trip over misplaced toys on stairs, but I fall on perfectly flat ground with merely microscopic imperfections. Of course, the best falls occur surrounded by strangers; you get a skinned knee and a new story, they get a good laugh, it’s a classic win-win. So everybody won the day my face decided to get an up close and personal view of the pavement at Rockefeller Center in New York.
The secret to a spectacular pavement splat is having exactly zero core engagement. If my abs are firing, even slightly, I might do a wild interpretive dance and pull a muscle or two but I can still manage to stay upright.
I have cultivated a mushy core over the years with the assist of various couches and televisions, but just being out of shape is not enough. I find to get absolute zero core value it is essential to be tired and distracted. Exhaustion assures any dormant muscle fibers lack the will to try to fire and being distracted prevents the brain from attempting any counter measures by remaining unaware of the eminent body blow.
While vacationing in NYC, my sister and I dragged our bodies out of bed at ass o’clock and headed in the dark to line up for a chance at tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; distraction and exhaustion were inevitable. It was a convoluted ordeal that included standing, waiting, strangers talking at me, and getting numbers for another line forming later in the afternoon. It was lots of awesome.
With our numbers in hand, and the city still mostly sleeping in spite of what that song claims, we grabbed crappy eggs at a sketchy diner then headed to snag spots in a cool walking tour that explored my secret obsession of art deco design.
As I turned the corner on the way to the tour booth, I saw the gorgeous iconic art deco awning of the entrance with NBC STUDIOS in bold letters. I briefly admired the beauty of the lines and shape but then the world began to distort and fold in on itself. The silver streetlights got taller and taller and where there was once sky, I now saw slate grey slabs. I was in awe of the crazy changes to the world around me, completely unaware that I was actually about to become one with the cement.
When I fall, time stands still. Every millisecond is stretched and thoughts are burned into my brain. Once my right knee slammed into the ground, it finally dawned on me I was not in an Inception dream but I was going down. Hard. Then it quickly became apparent that I was not stopping with the knees but more of my body was going to hit the pavement.
“Damn, I wish I had bigger boobs,” I thought as my upper body made contact with the sidewalk. This wasn’t the first time that wish had popped into my brain, but it was the first time in relation to protecting my head against injury, like an air bag(s), instead of just providing a balanced proportion to my hips. #peardreams #hourglassenvy
The correct boob mass would probably keep my face from sliding across the ground but then another voice in my head countered that too much mass would cause my neck to snap back like a bungee cord and I would be battling some whiplash instead of a mere bruise. Plus, carrying around enough volume to keep my face safe in this particular situation would undoubtedly bring additional lower back troubles and who knows how it would impact my sleep. Maybe an inflatable bra…
Before I could settle the proper boob mass debate now raging in my brain, my chin made cement contact and my vision faded to black. My last thought was, “Crap, I am my mother.”
Not so long ago, my mother had also hit the ground hard while out of town. She ended up in a small town hospital with a jacked up face and an elbow requiring surgery. I, being the horrible daughter I am, laughed. It was a tiny laugh and I felt really guilty for it happening but the sight of her hospital mug shot made me shake my head and chuckle. Karma is a bitch, and this bitch just faceplanted during the morning rush in New York City.
I’m not sure how long I was out, probably just a second, but at least now I was sitting on my butt and not my face. My vision began to return slowly starting as a tiny tan hole in a black field then expanding until I realized I was looking at khaki pants and there where hands coming at me from all directions. Knees and hands was all I saw now as black tights and suit pants joined the khakis. Out of reflex I began flailing my arms wildly to get all these people to stop touching me. I could tell they were trying to help, but I was not sure I was ever leaving this corner and their help was unwanted.
Finally, I heard my sister’s voice as she told everyone that I just needed a minute and politely shooed them off. She leaned down to ask me if I was okay and laughter seeped out along with her concern. She disputes having laughed at me but, even in my dazed state, I know what I heard. And obviously, I would have done the same in her situation.
Like a three-year old child who just took a tumble at the mall, I was unable to decide if crying or laughing was warranted. I wanted to cry. However, my sister was laughing so crying seemed silly no matter how bad my face stung.
I began to gather my senses and pondered how I was going to get off the ground. With everything that was hurt, ass first, the most embarrassing way to stand unless you are a toddler learning to walk, seemed the only way. I hesitated for a moment; strangers didn’t really need to see my butt leading my struggling body off the cement. Then, I remembered I didn’t know anyone here who wasn’t related to me and already laughing, so eventually I was standing upright, still dazed and definitely confused.
How in the hell did I fall? This is the question that must be answered after each incident. Even a tiny stumble requires explanation. I scoured the ground as if I was a crime scene investigator looking for that one fiber that would solve the grizzly murder; surely something caused my demise. Was I tripped? Did a rat grab my leg? Did some ass clown shove me? I saw a small rise in a pavement piece and nudged it. It was sturdy enough and with the right angle and momentum it could have taken me down. While I cannot know for sure, the 3 black-purple toenails I discovered days later made tripping on this barely half-inch crack highly probable.
It was time to assess the depths of my injuries so we headed to the bowels of The Rock and found a bathroom. My palms were scrape free since I went down so fast I never had a chance to use them to break my fall; a bonus for taking a face hit I guess. I was happily surprised my jeans were not torn but the knee underneath was a red, scraped, puffy mess. It even squished when I poked it, which for some reason, I could not stop doing. I could practically hear the blood pooling.
I poked at my knee for a while and thought, “fuck it.” At least I meant to just think it, but I am pretty sure I proclaimed it rather loudly from the looks I got exiting the bathroom stall. There was nothing to be done, I could find a doctor and waste our final vacation day or keep moving and ignore the pain until it eventually stiffened up on the flight home. I would deal with it later, my favorite way to deal.
All that was left was making my way to the mirrors and seeing how badly my face was messed up. I braced for disaster and began telling myself that no matter how deformed I surely was, there would be no hiding, no shame. This would not be like the time I called in sick because I had a severe allergic reaction to makeup and my eyes looked like navel oranges. No matter the damage, my rude, laughing sister was seeing that damn Fallon dude and I was going on an Art Deco tour!
I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. I was shocked. My chin was red and quite tender but all the skin was in tact. No freaking way! Turns out my boobs were big enough after all and I owed them both, the left a little bit more then the right, an apology for doubting their usefulness. It would be several hours before I could think straight and my head didn’t feel scrambled but I looked no worse than a chick who was on her seventh day in The Big Apple and need a shit ton of sleep. I now had empirical proof that my boobs were the proper size so that debate in my brain could finally shut up.
I was sore and groggy, but in a good mood due to my intact face and not actually becoming my mother. We just needed to keep moving until we hit the airport and I was golden. I nerded out on the art deco tour and we saw Fallon do his monologue so my sister was happy and had someone else to laugh at.
I fall a lot. I have fallen off sidewalks, up curbs, in the middle of an intersection, into a car, into mud, into a pile of slushy snow. I have fallen alone and in groups, while in skirts and in pants, carrying bags and even holding a handrail. I have rolled ankles, skinned knees and palms, busted a pinky toe and cracked my tailbone. The only body part I had not smashed into the ground was my face, but that changed one beautiful fall day on the slate pavement of Rockefeller Center.
I’d like to think I am now done with the whole falling shtick but I’m sure there will come a day when my lack of core strength will collide with exhaustion and distraction and down I will go, again. But if there is any way my face could stay out of the whole ordeal, that would be sweet, especially since aging and gravity guarantee my boobs are not going to be able to provide even the limited protection that they once could.