So you are either leaning or not leaning. I was leaning, so a sign post restaged me leaning into that first sunbeam. Then, in my role as a World Record Breaker, I beat that sign post into oblivion.
Human Impulse Therapy
The window-side concrete column had lurched about like the pages of a poorly published children’s book as it crept over one shoulder. Unsure what to do, I held out my hands. “I feel crushed,” I said. “People like you think I’m losing my mind.” The startled youth — an 18-year-old who was best friends with my nephew — immediately moved his hand to his mouth.
“I’m fine,” I persisted. “I’m not on medication. I just can’t get this feeling that is holding me back.” His head leaned towards my shoulder, and he leaned back and shoulders snapped into lock like a pair of burglar bars. I was out of my mind.
“How do you know what your drugs are?” he said. “I am about to take too much.”
“Do you think you can stand still for a few minutes?” I pondered. This was better.
“No,” he said, “I’m not taking a pill.”
“Your parents are expecting to see a doctor,” I offered.
This was working. I tried to hold my heels out in front of me so the boy would lean back without sliding on his stomach like I did. I didn’t win. This was a good thing, though, because it made it easier to loosen my clunky, bent-over stride.
“I don’t want to scare you,” I said to my kid-friend. “Can you hold up your hand?”
He moved his with all his might, turning his palms from my shoulder toward the floor.
“This is life-changing,” I said. “You are going to be hooked for life.”
“I’m all right,” he said, and ran off.
A Thousand Degrees to the Earth
I was nervous for the test because I had a fitness standard I didn’t want to break. I wanted to run out of the doorway and drop to my knees because I had recently surpassed it. I was about to cross this threshold, when I noticed the door was heavy. I thought, “Let’s look both ways before we make the turn.”
It turned out, a weight-bearing object was sitting behind the door that caused the weight to shift, and when I turned around I was too late. I barely had time to breathe before the sheet-metal supports caught and tapped my ankles.
I tried to unfasten my foot straps from the waist straps before touching the side of the apartment building, and the burden picked up my ankles again and knocked me to the ground. I stopped breathing for a split second before looking up at the dangling balcony and saying, “I’m dying,” as I ran away.
Psychologists call this self-preservation mechanism a tendency to bring the body back to equilibrium at any cost. Something scared me.
Medical calls 911
And yet, I wasn’t alone. A garbage can was fallen from a window. A block of plate glass became a pancake of shattered plastic and glass. Glass.
My seat was shaking so badly I couldn’t drive. I got the idea to close my eyes and breathe, and then roll to the back and roll around. I tried to think about jumping because it feels like an escape. When the bangers and the bawlers stopped …
“It’s a sign post,” someone yelled over the clatter.
Someone had called 911.