The Mad Rush
One morning, just after I had stepped into the shower, the phone rang. I knew that it probably was a call I had been anxiously awaiting and I was not going to pass up the opportunity to answer. I ran out of the bathroom, not even sparing a second to turn off the water. I knew that the caller would go to voicemail after the third ring and that the cordless phone was hung up at the far end of the living room; I had no time to spare.
As I flew at breakneck speed – no pun intended – across my apartment, oblivious to the fact that I had not stopped to grab a towel, I suddenly realized that the blinds were wide opened and that I was visible to everyone in the opposite apartment and office buildings. Just as I did, my wet feet slipped on the carpet and I fell, face down, one side of my face banging forcefully into the television. As I heard the beginning of the third and final ring, I somehow managed to crawl across the floor and pull myself up, oblivious to the pain I felt in my face, wrist and knee, desperate to make it across the room before it was too late.
The good news is that I actually did make it to the phone just in time before the end of the final ring. As thrown, literally, as I was by the incident, my irritation would have been that much greater had I missed the call and made everything I had just gone through for naught.
“Hello?” I answered the phone in tears, my husband pressing an ice pack into my free hand after having been woken by the sound of my crashing into the television. Just as I had hoped, it was my sister on the other end, who felt partly responsible when she heard what had just happened.
You might say it was something of a freak accident, every part of my body scraped or bruised, not to mention my embarrassment when I thought of the people who had witnessed the whole thing from their windows. The tone of my entire day was set from the time of the incident on, what with the pain I was feeling on one side of my upper body and shaken as I was at how quickly and suddenly everything can change.
As I soaked in a bubble bath after I somehow managed to get myself out and make it through the rest of that day, I realized how lucky I was but I was also somewhat disturbed when I thought of how much more seriously hurt I could have been. What if the television had fallen on me? What if my husband, who is usually a sound sleeper and very difficult to wake up, had not heard the crash and I had been trapped under there?
Only a week earlier when I opened the utility closet in the kitchen a broom flew out of nowhere and struck me right in my eyeball. Anything can happen out of nowhere (just look back at my July 3, 2014 post: https://andreafreedmanfreelancewriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/please-dont-give-me-the-finger/) and while I certainly do not want to live in fear of my every move, I think that slowing down just a bit might be worth it if it means avoiding potential accidents.
Since I was okay more or less, at least I was able to have a few laughs about it when I related the story to friends and family later that evening and for days afterwards when I was asked what the bruise on my face was from.
Days later, a small bump remained to remind me of how much worse it could have been and how fortunate I really was.
Since then, besides extending the ring tones on my telephone to give myself more time to answer it, I have tried to slow my pace down and not panic or rush as I normally would. There will always be another subway train, another, perhaps less crowded elevator, and even the most important of callers, if worse comes to worse, can go to voicemail.
Sometimes when we rush carelessly through our day to day activities, we end up doing ourselves more harm than good in the long run. Calls can be answered and returned and we can get to where we need to go just as efficiently without causing ourselves undue stress or, in come cases, injury. I learned something when I had that startling accident in my living room. Becoming so flustered and hurried that I do not pay attention to my surroundings and absentmindedly stumbling, literally, through life doesn’t necessarily do me any good. By approaching things a little more calmly and less recklessly, I can actually achieve just as much and probably more, and remain in one piece while I’m at it.♦
Copyright © 2014 by Andrea Freedman.