What I'm Reading

Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Coming out in the fall, the next novel by the author of The Good German. It's so good I kinda want to lick the pages.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pulling a Bookgirl

Sarah called me today to tell me she "pulled a me." Any time one of my friends starts a conversation with "I pulled a you" it means one thing and one thing only. That they fell, publicly, while people were there to see it, in some spectacularly embarrassing way.

It might have something to do with the fact that I fall down. A lot. And that if I can break it, lose it, spill it, or hurt myself with it, I will do just that. Those of you who don't know me well might think I'm exaggerating. I'm not.

My falls take one of two forms: there are the slow falls, the ones where I start going down, and know it's coming but can't stop myself. I usually start giggling before I even hit the ground, and I'm told that I look almost graceful, since I've perfected the art of kind of gliding down to minimize the impact. I once was in a coffee shop in SoHo on a snowy day and slid on the wet floor. I hit the floor, got back up, and didn't even spill a drop of my latte. That was one of my prouder moments. If I had to choose, I like those falls the best. They make people laugh, because I'm laughing so hard. And as long as folks are laughing with me, not at me, we're all good.

The second kind of fall, though, well they just suck. Those are the ones I don't see coming. My friends describe it as "one second you're there, and then you're just gone." I'll be cruising along, not paying attention to where I'm going, and I just go down like a brick. The next thing I know I'm face down on the ground surrounded by onlookers with expressions of horror. Inevitably, someone will try to be helpful and assist me up before I'm ready, and will not let go of my arm. So now I'm floundering on the ground with a complete stranger gripping me, adding insult to the injury. Next time you try to help someone up and they say "I'm fine" what they really mean is "Please, for the love of God, go away so I can start pretending this didn't happen." Those falls are embarrassing. Also, they really hurt. And usually leave me dirty. I hate being dirty.

I was at Polly's once and I spilled coffee, and she said, without irony, "That's okay. We purposely waited until after your visit to have the carpets cleaned." I have one earring and one glove from almost every pair I've ever owned. I once spent all of Mardi Gras with a giant bruise on my head from where I fell out of a bathtub our first night there, and I've seen Disney World from the vantage point of a wheelchair.

Yes, I'm clumsy. And I've resigned myself to the fact that embarrassing and potentially painful experiences are the ones people most closely identify with me. But just once, wouldn't it be nice if someone did something kind, or thoughtful, and referred to it as "pulling a Bookgirl?"

My sister Jean, in a moment of kindness, told me I had to outgrow the clumsiness eventually. But we both knew she was lying. I'm just like our sister Denise. And Denise is in her 50s, still falling on a pretty regular basis. She's had more broken bones then some NFL career starters. It's okay, though. We both have excellent insurance. And a well-developed ability to laugh at ourselves.


Polly Poppins said...

Once, when Mr. Poppins asked me why I was sending a card, I answered "no reason, just doing a Bookgirl for fun." That's nice, right?

Diosa said...

But you always get back up again, don't you? Someone has to be the clumsy one. I'm not much better myself. Have you broken anything falling yet? I have. Just a general warning to the public: Do not chase a child into mud while wearing flip flops.

I struck out at another BK yesterday. This is an impossible task.

sarah said...

so my bookgirl was a fall off my chair with a full cup of joe in front of my entire unit. Doctors, nurses, supply guy even a few patients. Bookgirl YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Bookgirl said...

Pol, Love you. And yes, that's exactly what I was wishing for.

Di, I'm usually pretty good about not hurting myself. But I broke one wrist playing softball, sprained the other roller skating, have broken more toes than I care to remember, and have had a few udi's (unidentifiable drunken injuries).

Sarah, that's what you get for every time I fell down and you laughed until you peed. Ha. As my sister Celeste would say, "God's punishing you for being fresh."

Diosa said...

I don't remember you being in a cast. Was that when we were kids or recent?

Bookgirl said...

4th grade gym class. One of the Dennises tripped me by accident while I was running around the bases, and Mr. Allaire didn't believe me and wouldn't let me go to the nurse. When I told him it hurt too much to put a glove on, he still thought I was faking it, so he made me play outfield without a glove. As soon as I got back to class, Miss Lemansky sent me to the nurse, the nurse took one look at me, splinted it, and called my mom to take me to the hospital. I was in a cast all summer. And then I had a ready-made excuse to never play softball again. Even during Greek Week in college, I was willing to jump in the pool in my bathing suit in front of every fraternity guy on campus, but I flat out refused to play softball. Oh, and the teacher didn't get in trouble. Bastard.

sarah said...

How about the time I fell and broke not one but two wrists playing dodge ball....

Bookgirl said...

Ooh, I had forgotten about that, Sarah. Ouch.