Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Favorite Paul Simon tune.

Saturday morning, Kathe and I were driving around Vicksburg, windows down, breathing in the Mississippi clean air, taking pictures of the town.  One shot she particularly wanted to capture was the side of the old NABISCO building (it now houses a restaurant called The Biscuit Company).  She pulled off the side of the road, handed me the camera and let me out to get the shot.

A tree was in the way.  I walked down the grassy slope to get a better angle on the building.  It had been raining and the grass was a little slick, but I am pretty sure footed. Keeping an eye on the angle of the building, wanting to get it just right...

Both feet went out from under me, and I smacked head, butt and back simultaneously on soggy turf.

I staggered to my feet, took a quick inventory to see what was broken (phone, check, tush, check, skull, check) and took a step up the slope...

And planted myself, face-first in the grass, sliding back down the slope three steps.

From that point on, it was war.  I threw myself at the slope, it threw me down.  I crab-walked, I walked parallel to the slope, I used my free hand - the one not holding the phone - to help pull me up. The slippery slope threw me down as many times as I got up -  I must have fallen a dozen times.

Meanwhile, Kathe watched in horror... from the safety of the car.

My first reaction, after the fear that I felt at that first moment before the impact of the first fall, was anger. I was mad that my legs had failed me, that gravity had grabbed me with such inexorable force of 9.8m/sec/sec, that the grass was slick, I was just mad, mad, mad.  All of that happened in the first and second fall.

And then I started laughing.

As I was falling out of the sky for the third time, it finally had sunk in how funny it was.  And just as the ground was about to, the hilarity of the situation began to hit me.  And I could not stop laughing. Suddenly I was the actor in every slapstick scene ever devised.  I was Lucille Ball with the chocolates.  I was Curly.  I was Cleese doing a silly walk for the Ministry.

I fell again.

And just that quickly, the anger just dropped away, and I began to enjoy the challenge.  Nothing changed about my situation.  I was still twenty feet down a slick slope I was having difficulty scaling.  I was still getting grass stains in places that would be hard to explain.  I was still in very serious danger of wrenching a knee.  One more shot to my head, and Kathe was going to have to check me for a concussion.

But my attitude about it changed.

I have decided that I am going to carry that thought in with me to work this week.  It is not my situation that makes me mad.  It is just how I frame my situation, with me in it. Am I the victim?

Or am I - just maybe - the star of the scene, enjoying the roar of approval from the crowd, as I try to get up, one more time?

Maybe seeing my situation differently will change my situation more than standing on even ground would.

I finally got my photograph.  It actually came out rather well.  And the slope in the picture doesn't look nearly as steep nor as slick as I know it was.  But I can't look at it without just chuckling to myself, and deciding again to change my attitude.

About everything.


aunt Patty said...

Oh my goodness. You will be so sore tomorrow! It's a all in the form. I give you a 9.6.. You're still alive.

Elizabeth Henderson said...

I hope our dear friend reads this - it is all about the attitude after all. Great post!