Bluebird Rising

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Publicly Pathetic September 13, 2010

I scored a nine out of ten on the pathetic scale last week. I fell out of my car. Sober. In front of a crowd. Accounting for both the Irish curse bestowed upon me at birth and my ability to attract awkward situations in general, I know the day will no doubt come when I fall out of a car that at that moment will actually be in motion. We will qualify that day as a ten. Be patient, my friends. Have faith.

That being said, I feel that a nine out of ten is also story worthy. So here you go. Guided imagery awaits you.

I literally fell face first out of my car. I didn’t trip. You couldn’t call it a wobble, and it wasn’t even close to a stumble. I flat-out fell the hell down, head first, onto concrete, with witnesses. Pavement dive, I believe is the technical term. I had the rock impressions on my hands to prove it and a sore spot on the top of my head where the door, swung open with gusto, kicked back a bit of resistance and nailed me. In one graceless motion, I managed to fall on my face, lose the contents of my purse, hit my own head and rip apart the hem of my favorite sweatpants.

Now, while a few scenarios would provide a rather commendable explanation to counteract this debacle, I can assure you I was not participating in any of them. I was not saving a stray dog from a teenager wielding rocks, or gloriously escaping the cops with a mad stash of coke, or sprinting over to help a geriatric from walking straight into an intersection of  impending death. I simply wanted to cash my check at the bank.

Please actually imagine getting out of your car from the driver’s seat. I want you to put your left foot out onto the concrete and find comfort in the false sense of security you feel. Now grab your purse with your right hand, which is sitting on the passenger seat. Sling it over your right shoulder in a quick, haphazard way that will allow the contents to scramble away from within your reach should your balance suddenly go awry. Now put weight on your left foot and get out in one motion, not stopping to twist and turn or grab at the steering wheel for support because you naively believe your body to be young, agile, and not yet prone to situations that evoke memories of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” infomercials. Perhaps you even put your left elbow on the back of your seat for a wee bit of leverage because bucket seats really sink you in; as a result you have to sit with your ass five inches from the dashboard so that you are able to touch the gas pedal without extenders. Or maybe that’s just me.

Now all at once, I need you to imagine all the following information colliding with your consciousness at exactly the same time.

I am not quite sitting, and not really standing, and something does not feel right.

My right foot is refusing to move. It is firmly still inside the car, right under the brake. Waiting. Mocking.

Why would a bottle of Excedrin, a tampon, a cell phone, loose change and dirty LifeSavers be floating through the air?

Something bad is in the process of happening, and I am not alone. I can hear people talking, shoes scraping concrete, and radios blaring. I hope they are distractedly oblivious to me. I don’t think distractedly is a word, but it should be. I like it. And I shall use it as I see fit.

Why am I upside down? What just smashed into the top of my head? Why do the little rocks on the ground look so big? Why are they inches from my face? What is cutting into my hand?

Oh my God, I know I do pathetic things, but I think I have just fallen out of my car.

So now you are upside down, holding yourself up with one shaky hand while you simultaneously attempt to push the car door away from your head, gather up the contents of your entire purse, figure out why you cannot move your right foot, and glance around to see if anyone had noticed. (All while avoiding the broken glass in your proximity that will undoubtedly ravage your body with a fancy sounding disease.)

Upon further inspection, what I had here was a classic seat adjuster-flared-hem-pant situation. Somehow, my the hem had wrapped around the innocent looking lever while I was driving with such force that my foot literally did not move when I tried to get out of the car. And only having one leg at your disposal when you are expecting to use two becomes quite ugly. And much to your dismay, despite the quick prayer for invisibility and your faked cavalier attitude towards the whole situation, people will take notice. And fielding off questions about if you are okay is the most embarrassing nail in the coffin of all.

As a result, I have learned that I will never bother anyone I see falling out of their car that is not having an actual medical emergency at that very moment, or has only one leg to begin with, or is under the age of 55. Should I see the signs of someone beginning to falter, stumble, trip, or fall flat on their face that is not covered by these three pre-qualifiers, I will suddenly begin a massive effort to respond to texts I have been avoiding all day, or to dig a quarter out of my purse for the daily newspaper stand, or to pretend to be extremely involved in biting my nails. Trust me, it’s what they’d really want. They will find relief in the fact that they see you were much more interested in yourself than their free show. Trust me. The middle of someone else’s personal crisis is by far the most prime time to become self involved.

I have also learned that I am apparently in the market for a Car Caddie an astonishing 50 years earlier than I would have thought. Please discuss their merits with your elderly loved ones and report back. My face appreciates it.

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12 Responses to “Publicly Pathetic”

  1. Meghan Says:

    Remember when I tripped out of my car and you couldn’t stop laughing? Now the roles and been reversed and my tummy muscles hurt from laughing so hard. HA HA HA!!

  2. Proof of karma, I guess. Personally, I’m not a fan. In this situation at least. 🙂

  3. Dino Says:

    Oh Knoodle,
    I feel for you. I hope are you well now and that your head is ok and your favorite sweatpants are fixed. Kickball Thursday night 8:15 there will be beer, be there!

  4. Well I like beer and I like kickball, so I guess I should do my best to be there.

    As for the pants, I was not so lucky. I will continue wearing them out of comfort, but I expect to be mistaken for a homeless person on a fairly consistent basis.

  5. Anne Says:

    AMY! god I’m sorry but I laughed – I can just picture you looking around and muttering to yourself… Miss you! when are you gonna come see my house and party like the rockstars we are?!

  6. I’m glad you laughed. People keep emailing me about where these ideas come from. Sadly, it’s just non-fiction at its finest. I want to see your house badly!!! I have a birthday coming up…are we too old to risk getting sick after a night of greenies and cinnamon toast crunch shots?!?!? Ohhhh…and since your house is close, I’m inviting myself over to pre-party. October 1st. Thanks!
    Just kidding.
    Sort of.

  7. Anne Says:

    oh- and you don’t mind hanging out with one big yellow lab and two little black and white puppies!

  8. Mags Says:

    This story reminded me of the time you hit your wrist on the doorknob and then said all you needed was a pen in your hand and you’d be Bob Dole. Seriously…you can’t even make this stuff up so thank goodness it actually happens to you for our amusement!

  9. I’m really starting to believe that I was put on Earth to raise the self esteem of others. 🙂 And I told my parents about the Bob Dole comment. As two people who introduce themselves as “Ron and Nancy…like the Regans…” they coudn’t have been prouder.

  10. […] I have a knack for making bad decisions and blogging about them. Maybe a little because after falling at the bank, everyone is waiting for the day I fall out of a car in motion. (This is not that story.) But […]

  11. […] all my being that I could create a funny post right now. One that expands on my likelihood of falling out of a car in public. Or one about how much more I want to evict Brickfeet (which is my nickname for the drunk who […]


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