Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Old Crack-In-The-Face and Bust-In-The-Mouth


December

You don’t really notice gravity all that much until something goes just a little sideways and it takes you right down, like it did me the other night. Could have been worse. I didn’t go straight to the center of the earth, because the sidewalk stopped my face. The scariest part for my friend Margo, who, being the one who was right beside me, is pretty much on the hook for not grabbing me out of mid-air, was the sound: a mighty crack, like God snapping his fingers. Margo, being a recovering Catholic, is trained to react to God snapping his fingers, and she began to freak out right away. “Stay right there,” she yelled, “right there in that 34-degree puddle on the pavement, in the wind and rain. Don’t get up.” I started thinking.

What was that mighty crack? Oh. Face hitting pavement.

Man, that was fast. That didn’t take any time at all. Of course it doesn’t take any time, you idiot. You’re, like, three feet tall. And isn’t that exactly what old ladies say when they fall down? Yes it is. “Oh, my word, dearie, it all just happened so fast! I didn’t have time to think. And now my hip is broken, and soon I will die.” 

What the hell happened to my airbags? Didn’t I used to have airbags? Shit. I should have had them recharged after they deflated a few years ago.

I think I hit my cheekbone. Cheekbone! I have cheekbones! Awesome.

Well, I’d better get up, because we’re late for our dinner reservation, and it’s a serious dinner reservation. Margo was spinning in place making noises about throwing a coat over me and fetching Dave, and I had to head her off. “You’d better not get Dave,” I told her. “You’ll be in deep shit. Because he put me in your custody, and he totally would have caught me.” He might have. His reflexes are miraculous. He’s faster’n the smacky-sound on a spank.

November
Margo and I were trying out a restaurant that was hard to get into. Especially her, because she’s tall. The restaurant is in a converted broom closet. They’ve got room for five tables, with butter pats for spacers.  The sixth table was lubed up and jammed in hard by the toilet in the rear. The kitchen is in the front. You walk right through it, burners on the right, prep area on the left, with about a foot to spare, when you walk in. The wait staff has to wear satin pants to cut down on the friction. They’ll try for two seatings a night, and they don’t have room for error. So if you do score a reservation, they want your credit card up front and an option on one of your kidneys. If you don’t give them 24 hours notice for a cancellation, the chef is going to Mexico on your dime.

I explained all this to Margo, who was not letting me up off the sidewalk. “I’m fine,” I said. “We need to go eat before I lose a kidney. Come on. Do I sound at all loopy?” Well, that’s not really a fair question. Margo did a quick comparison to how I usually sound, and decided I might be as good as I get.

America's Fun Couple
We walked into the restaurant and I pointed at my face and said I'd just hit the sidewalk with it, and could I use the bathroom? They were nice as pie. They funneled me to the back, and gave me swabbing alcohol, a washcloth, and Neosporin. Once I was cleaned up and down to a steady ooze, they parked us at table six, next to the toilet, away from everyone else, and gave me a napkin filled with ice. I pressed it to one corner of my mouth and slid my dinner into the other corner.  Bleu Cheese Pear Hazelnut Blood Salad, Risotto Parmesan Nettles With Blood, and Plasma Panna Cotta. It was very good; maybe a little over-reliant on the one ingredient. By the end of the meal, my napkin looked like laundry day used to look like for me once a month. When the check came, a very, very, very long set of tongs emerged from somewhere behind us and snatched the napkin away.

The next morning, my knee was exploring new directions in life, and my upper lip was sprawling over my lower lip like a stranded oyster. No matter how you cut it, it has to be noted that this has not been a good winter for my face. First I poisoned it until it started sliding off my head like magma, and now this. But my face is not my fortune. If I actually did fall on my fortune, it would have hurt a lot worse, because it’s thin. Most of it is in a collection of fine salamander art that has not appreciated in the marketplace as anticipated. But still. I don’t ask much of my face. It’s there mainly to give folks an idea if I’m coming or going, and to keep the head goo inside. Either way, it’s falling down on the job.





75 comments:

  1. That's the trouble with accidents...they happen so fast. One minute you are happily walking along while six months pregnant, the next one you are a beached whale on the sidewalk, scaring the hell out of your husband. Well, that was what I did once.

    Hope you are healing well. Glad you had your priorities straight with the restaurant reservations!

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    1. I'm hoping that, of the two items you mentioned here, the falling-down was the "accident."

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  2. What is it with you high-powered dames? I mean, first Hilary, now you...jeeze!
    Glad it wasn't worse and you can still sip an anaesthetic brew.

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    1. Ha ha ha ha ha! High-powered dame! That's me! [snooze, slurp]

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  3. Ouch! Oh, that picture of the fun couple... makes me really look forward to a hug from my guy. :-)

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  4. "Brain goo". Nice. Reminds me of Calvin & Hobbes. Calvin either sneezes or blows his nose (I forget which), and announces that he's leaking brain fluid.

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    1. Oh, plus (God, I'm so rude), I'm supposed to say, Feel Better! Etc.! =)

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  5. Damn those sidewalks that leap up and throw you off balance! (Or, as my sympathetic mother-self would say, "That wouldn't happen if you'd pick up your feet!") Will you be suing anyone? I don't know any lawyers in Portland, but I'm sure I can find out who the good ones are. My boss would be thrilled with the referral fee, and maybe he'd let us stop buying the crappy useless staples and tape and go back to the good stuff that does what it's meant to do. (Times are hard.)

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    1. I have noticed that when I think about it I pick my feet up a little more when I'm walking in the dark. That'll last another few weeks, and then it will be right back to normal.

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  6. Well, there's only one thing for it: now that you have a face made for radio, you should take up talking on one. I bet you could get a gig on a radio station toot-sweet, reading your book at the public.

    Seriously, I am sorry for your sudden introduction to the pavement. I had a bout with vertigo (I called it the woo-woos) where I felt like I'd drunk most of a bottle of rum and kept tipping over. It was like being in college all over again, but without the cute boys.

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    1. I hope that your vertigo has either resolved or you have augmented the situation with a passel of cute boys.

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  7. I join DJan in "Ouch!" From the photos I would venture to guess that you are not quite through evolving. It will be interesting to see in what form you eventually settle. Seriously, another "Ouch!"
    Cop Car

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    1. Oh god, let's hope I'm not through evolving. Whatever form I settle in, it will be with a small marble in my lip, feels like.

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  8. Falling is definitely not for sissies. Glad you were not seriously injured and hope everything heals soon, pride included.

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    1. Oh, in case it wasn't obvious, I have no pride at all.

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  9. I have always thought, and you are proof, that a sense of humor is the best weapon! Still....Ouch! Hope you heal soon.

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  10. Replies
    1. Tim. You're a web-wrangler. Develop a not-like button. You'll make a fortune.

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  11. Sorry to hear about your fall, and sorrier still when I see the pictures!

    I hear you on the quick falls. It's winter, I'm walking to my car, and then I'm on my back, looking at the stars. Happens every year at least once. The only good part is that I'm wearing a winter coat - with hood - and it cushions the fall somewhat.

    If you've reached the age to start surprise-falling, you've got to start layering up with old-lady sweaters and shawls and whatnot to cushion the meeting with the asphalt. And a helmet. With a mouthguard.

    And, what the heck did Dave do to his eye in that last picture?

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    1. Glad you asked. He got stung in the left eyelid by a wasp, three times. This was on Day Two, I think. I sure wish we'd gotten someone else to take the picture, and dolled it up like a commercial photo shoot, dressing up and everything.

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    2. Three times? Sheesh, what did he ever do to that wasp??

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  12. Ohfercryinoutloud. Falling on your face is not fun, and when I've done it (twice) I felt old, vulnerable, betrayed by my own body, etc. So here I am reading your account and laughing out loud. Kudos for going to dinner anyway, and for writing such a fine, funny piece. And may your face - a perfectly fine and wonderful face - enjoy a very long period of good health. Dave's too, for that matter.

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    1. I am willing to state that I am not yet brittle. I just wish I didn't keep having to prove it.

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  13. "He’s faster’n the smacky-sound on a spank." Oh I surely DO hope that's a Murr coinage. And - dare I say it - borderline sexy (if you're into that)!

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    1. At least I can see sexy from here.

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    2. I think it was Forrest Gump who said it best:
      "Sexy is as sexy does."

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  14. Hey, there's your new motto for you, my friend! "Murr: borderline sexy."

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    1. Pat, that might be as good as it gets.

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  15. I commented earlier and this is just a test.

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    1. Well of COURSE it's going to work when you don't actually have anything to say.

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  16. OMG, this time it worked. What on earth am I doing wrong? Anyway, as someone who has fallen I enjoyed in a sado-masochistic way this post!

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    1. You know, every now and then stuff just doesn't work. It just doesn't. I think it's not ALWAYS us.

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  17. You should see the other guy.
    I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up.
    Have a Nice Trip.
    Gawd, there's a million snarky comments.
    Am I really the first?

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    1. I hope you know I mean you no harm. I just never have been one to pass up an opportunity.
      I do truly hope you heal rapidly and don't repeat the mishap.

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  19. omg and lol. I know it's bad form to laugh at someone else's misfortune but... a stranded oyster? Well now I've got a stomach ache to go along with your face ache. I've never asked much of my face either but at the rate you're going you might be better off walking backwards.

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    1. Oh, I'm sure that would improve my odds.

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  20. I always said that I preferred summer to winter because you can't slip and fall on humidity--until I fell on a July day and dislocated my shoulder. That was 8 years ago and it still hurts. I'm glad you didn't do yourself any permanent damage. The brain inside that endangered skull is too good to mess up!

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    1. I think in a good D.C. humidity such as I grew up in, you couldn't fall at all. Too much air.

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  21. So the next time you decide to do an up-close geological survey of the sidewalk in NE Portland, let me know and I'll step in and go to DOC for you! :-)

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  22. This is a little bit of genius. But then they all are. Take it easy on your face, darling. You're going to need it on book tours. xoxoxo jz

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    1. Ooo! I do have a reading coming up in February. I thought I'd just start shitting myself now.

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    2. What? When? Where? We demand details!

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    3. St. Johns Booksellers, February 8, 7pm!

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  23. How is it possible that you can be so funny in the face of (haha "face of" death?

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  24. Face of! I get it! I can be funny in the face of anything, but I'm not great with pain. Fortunately, there wasn't much pain in this. It was just loud. Amazingly loud.

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  25. Owie - poor you! And poor Margo. That "face meets sidewalk" sound echoes on and on in the conscience of the person who thinks they should have caught you.

    Hope you're healed up soon.

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    1. I hope she feels just terrible. Just terrible.

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  26. Poor dear, did that a few years ago, split my lip badly enough for an ER stitch-up. You may well feel a bit worse tomorrow and the next day, like after a fender-bender car crash. Stay home and feel sorry for yourself for a day or two - you had a head bonk.

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    1. I feel remarkably fine. But I like the feeling-sorry-for-myself thing.

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  27. Ouch. Me too. I did a face plant and decorated the road with my gore. I still have a scar on my top lip although my scabby nose made a full recovery. The thing that amazed me then and now - I was wearing white and DIDN'T get a drop of blood on it. Given that I throw food at myself every meal I think this qualifies as a small miracle.
    I hope your pain eases quickly, and that the scars are only mental.

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  28. Now we know the meaning of the masks of Comedy and Tragedy. You definitely wore both that evening. I feel a bit bad for enjoying the tale so thoroughly.

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  29. Ooooo, you make me hurt - partly because of tearing up from laughing and partly because of tearing up from pain of a past memory of a similar kind. I hope that all you lost was your dignity.

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  30. If you had fallen full on your face you would have broken your nose, and that would have been much bloodier and uglier. If you had tried to catch yourself, you could have broken wrist, arm or shoulder. Much longer and more expensive to fix. You, clever you, broke your fall with your mouth! The strongest, most resilient, portion of your anatomy. Good on you, Murr!

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  31. Ouch! that hurts, just reading it! At least you didn't break your nose!

    Objoke: The most disappointing thing for a man on Viagra is walking into a wall and busting his nose ;-)

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  32. This brings back memories of a face plant I managed to have, from about 6'6", onto a wood floor. Passed out and awakened to the dog licking the blood off of me, and husband frantically yelling at me "Can you hear me?" The bruising was the worst, but it doesn't look as though you were bruised..... The ER assumed husband could have beat me to that pulp. So maybe Margo was responsible for all of this and you are just covering for her? :)
    Hope you enjoyed the meal.

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  33. Oh Murr...I so empathise. I tend to tip the other way though. I spend half of the winter on my ass in the snow. Feel better! April

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  34. Thanks for this. I feel so much better about being 48 and having a skinned knee now. It's glamorous being us, isn't it?

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  35. I'm really sorry, Murr, I have to come back here, I fell off my chair I was laughing so hard and couldn't finish.
    NOOOOOO!! Not at you.
    Well maybe.
    XO
    WWW

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  36. Snortworthy and elegant, hysterically funny writing. Had me launching repeatedly into coughing spells that did make the reading sorta hard. Put me in the mind of the first post of yours that I read lo these aeons ago when I was so suddenly and delightedly hooked!

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  37. By the way I will someday devote time to figuring out which of my various technological names I should answer to. Meanwhile let it be known that this is the ardent Murr-o-phile from San Francisco putting finger to keypad.

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  38. Painfully funny! But we gotta take better care of Murr. We can't lose her!

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  39. What a horrible start to the New Year. Hope you manage to stay upright for the rest of it. Get well soon!

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  40. Ouch, Murr, NOT the way you wanted to start 2013. Hopefully that's this year's bad luck out of the way right at the beginning and the rest of the year will be great.

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  41. :: offers an ice bag ::

    I'm sorry to hear about your face-plant. I hope you're healing smoothly and not in too much discomfort.

    If it's any comfort, I accidentally hit my face with a car door (don't ask) when I was a teenager, so I can empathize with your face trauma.

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  42. Reading this now knowing you are on vacation awakens how great you are with words. The pain you felt was well disguised yet it still lies beneath all you say.
    That restaurant grabbed my fascination. Been to some like it in Europe and one not far from our home. Wonder how they truly make it work for them since the charges are quite reasonable. They must love what they do!!

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