Last night, Janna and I were rushing home after teaching in New York City, and in the middle of Times Square, I had a moment I hope I never get to repeat. I tripped — over my own two feet, or the curb, or a break in the sidewalk — and instantly fell long and hard on the sidewalk. I was stunned for a moment and didn’t quite know where I was. Janna was behind me somewhere and I remember one woman bending down to ask me if I was okay.
When I recovered a bit, I pushed myself up off the sidewalk, told the concerned woman I was okay and, not knowing what happened, or if I had been hit by somebody or what caused me to fall so hard so fast, my flight response took over, and I was up and sort of running/limping again to the train station. I was lucky Janna was right behind me and kept an eye on me as I tried to regain my bearings.
Once we were in the relative safety of the train station, we did a little quick triage. Right wrist throbbing? Check. Left knee bruised, but not bloody? Check. Left elbow scraped but not bruised? Check. iPhone okay? Check. Ego smashed? Brutally.
When I asked Janna what happened, she didn’t see what tripped me, she just saw me in mid-fall on my way to a hard, and inevitable, end. I felt stupid and embarrassed and a little old. I immediately had flashbacks to hearing of my beloved Howard Stein‘s similar sort of fall in Times Square that landed him in the hospital and ruined his shoulder for the rest of his life.
Howard had just been walking, talking to someone on his way to a Broadway play, and he tripped and smashed his face and broke a couple of teeth. I want to be as much like Howard Stein as possible, but not when it comes to matters of health — Howard had a hard time fighting the will of his body. I was haunted by Howard the rest of the evening.
I have decided the Vegan walking shoes I was wearing last night are cursed. I now call them my “tripping shoes” because, even though they’re supposed to be for stabilizing the foot while you walk, I also seem to trip over things wearing them and last night was the final trip I’ll take in them.
Janna also told me I need to stop running across the street. I wasn’t sure what she meant. She told me whenever I’m out, and I have to cross the street, I always race from one side to the other, and that’s precisely what I was doing last night when I tripped: Running.
I was surprised to hear about my running escapades and, on our walk home, I discovered she was right! Whenever we hit a crosswalk, I would instinctively release our hand-holding and start running to the other side! I think it’s because I have lived more in fear of getting hit by a car than worrying about tripping, but Janna made a good point that there’s no reason to run across the street unless there is imminent danger. I need to work on walking.
As I sit here with a sore wrist and an aching knee, I am grateful I didn’t hit harder. My head missed a curb by inches, and I know if I didn’t religiously do my Pilates reformer workouts every day, I might not have had the proper strength to sort-of catch myself. When we arrived home and did final First Aid, my knee looked 100% better, though it still ached a bit on the inside, and I immediately credited that miraculously fast healing to my healthy diet and green tea maintenance.
Lessons Learned: Wear better shoes, don’t run, walk; always hold your wife’s hand while crossing the street.