Lot of firsts for me, on POD #5: first real bath in two weeks (at least, as real as it could get), first day on crutches, first day back out in the public. One thing that I hadn’t anticipated was the reaction I received from children, aged 3-9, or so; and that reaction was empathy, kindness, compassion, and curiosity. This is what I mean by our “default human condition,” in The Relativity Diet—when I write about the default condition being one of happiness, like a child.
In the mall, Sue and I noticed small children looking at me, seemingly enchanted by this overly large person with an overly large “owie.” One small boy was holding his mother’s hand and as he passed, his faced turned, and turned, until he stumbled and fell. He didn’t say anything, but several other children, mostly girls it seemed, told their mommy that ‘that man has a big owie.’ To the ones brave enough to ask, I told them that I had a bike accident, but that I wore a helmet, otherwise, I’d have a big owie on my head. I remember one darling little girl in a pink flowered sundress who passed me on the left, she was on the other side of her mother, so, she lagged behind and waved, with a big beautiful smile. It was important, I think, for her to know that I knew that she noticed my “owie,” and hoped I’d be feeling better.
Naturally, all the adults were very nice too, although it’s entirely likely that a few may have thought ‘I wonder what stupid thing he did to end up like that;’ given that the default human condition does tend to get corrupted by the passage of time, and humanity’s stain.
I took a break in front of Gloria Jean’s, where I could rest my foot. Periodically, I’d shift my foot and grimace a bit, just to let the passer’s-by know that I was suffering; but then Sue stopped by my table with a sugar free, vanilla, skinny, iced-late; and all discomfort was quickly forgotten.
I heard someone from behind approaching in a hurried, loud gait, with short quick steps, almost like, but too coordinated for, the festinating gait of Parkinson’s. The Doppler Effect announced her appearance on my left.
A young lady; thirties, of Mediterranean descent, pretty, in a tight khaki skirt that came to below her knees and wearing at least four-inch, spiked heels entered the anticipated visual field, before disappearing into Younker’s, the clickety-clackiting of her heels gradually softening to nothing, like a departing train. I think the curious characteristic of her gait was due to khaki-restricted, twelve-inch strides; or perhaps from an inability to balance on heel spikes beyond a stride-length of one foot; or, more likely, it was a combination of the two.
After she’d passed, Sue said, “did you see her spine?” I didn’t fully recollect, but thought she may have had a pronounced dorsal kyphosis, induced by a cell phone held to her left ear.
I held up an imaginary pair of black, faux-patent-leather, pointy shoes, with five-inch spikes in my hands and said, “how about these, ma’am, we call this model ‘The Spine-Destroyer, with the Bunion-Booster Bonus;’” and, assuming an sophisticated insouciant air, much as I would imagine a secular European, like Richard Dawkins, behaving, I added, “Perhaps she’s a from a religious order practicing mortification of the flesh.”
Sue snorted, “oh…please–the only one being mortified around here is me.”
“The Mortification of Sue Melarvie…has a nice sound to it, like the sound of a a book or something,” I said in agreement, thinking of my bath this morning, at least a hundred urinal emptyings, and other distasteful, burdensome tasks, not fit to soil my beautiful blog with.
We ended the day at Sam’s Club, where I latched on to a lil’Rascal. I owned the store. Here’s a few pictures, including one of my back, as I made a bee-line for the samples, only to realize that, this being Sunday evening, there were none.