Everyone who knows me (and a lot of people who don't) know that I'm unco – it's been a fact of life since I was expelled from kindy-gym at the local church when I was about 3. I couldn't do bunny hops over one of those balance beam things. Yes, embarrassing but true, and it set the scene for things to come.
Since then I've fallen off things, tripped up things, slipped on things and been bamboozled by things – dancing, swimming, aerobics. I was always the leftover who was grudgingly taken last onto a tunnel-ball or softball team during PE class. I didn't even get to earn the label 'wallflower' at school dances – I used to hide in the dunnies until the band went on a break!
I ripped my leg open on the frayed end of the Tarzan swing – a huge steel cable in the bush near where we lived - as I tried to fly gracefully from it, aged 8. I dangled from a cliff with my head in an ants' nest during an abseilling stuff-up, aged 14. My first “solo” (as opposed to tandem) skydive ended badly when I fell over on landing and nearly dislocated my shoulder, aged 30-something.
It took me hundreds of attempts to learn to drive, and millions to learn to ride. Sometimes I still fall off.
Over the years I've had to learn to laugh at my unco-ness, so as to get in first. Better that I laugh at me before everybody else does.
So I'm not sure what I'm going to do now that these weeks on crutches have honed my balance and coordination to a state approaching “normal”. Five weeks of dodging power cords, homicidal cats and “stuff” on the floor; five weeks of negotiating stairs, (both up AND down); five bloody bloody weeks of attempting household chores on one leg...
Today I achieved a level of coordination hitherto only dreamed of by my notoriously clumsy self - and officially dropped the “Un” from “Unco”. It wasn't easy – but I did it. Success is sweeeeet!
The thing is, I really really needed to change the sheets and wasn't prepared to wait for yet another week. I've had enough of the piles of stuff on the doona – books, clothes, crutches, potato chip crumbs, telephones, “stuff” that I need at hand - not to mention the cat hair on the doona cover.
So – I removed the piles of stuff, removed the sheets – then thought “What the heck!” - on a roll, I removed the woollen underblanket and mattress protector. I even turned the mattress (yes I did! Queen sized mattress, if you please, all by myself, on one leg!) I got all the bedlinen to the laundry without incident. For each of four loads of washing I negotiated my way, with the laundry basket full of clean wet stuff, down the back steps (4 of them) and along the garden path. I hung all that stuff out without dropping anything – and then a few hours later, did it all in reverse, with clean dry laundry. I did not trip, fall or wobble. I neither stumbled nor bumbled, and I'm feeling rather humbled! No – no I'm not – I'm smug! SMUG, I say! I'm so smug I'm about to explode with it! I'm sticking my rude finger up at unco-ness, muwahahahahahaha, and not walking into a pole or falling into a hole while I'm doing it! Look mum, no hands!!!
(...and now, in a very small voice...) I'm exhausted!