Sunday, October 27, 2013

Laid Low

19-yr-old Mike, clinging to the Tyrell building
"Do something."

"We're not computers, Sebastian. We're physical."

"I think, therefore I am."

"Very good, Pris. Now, show him why."

I've been thinking about Blade Runner quite a bit during the past couple of days weeks months (really need to publish this blog more often). If you haven't seen this movie, you really should. In the quoted scene, Pris goes on to demonstrate a few of the physical things that she can do as a replicant. Phenomenal strength, quickness and durability. Physical acumen that Sebastian will never know.

I've always empathized with the replicants rather than the humans in this movie. I'm not an olympic athlete by any stretch, but in general, I am stronger, faster and more durable than most of the people I meet. From the sound of it, moving to Canmore would probably help with that. BTW, don't worry, I've been called arrogant before ;) The point is not whether I am stronger than you or Mark Tewksbury or Rutger Hauer... or anyone. The point is that I feel powerful... usually.

Exhibit A -- Mad climbing skills
That is until...

Kent finally relented and allowed Wendy, Anwyn and me to come over and pick the delicious Evans Cherries that yearly drip in tantalizing handfuls from his tree. So eager was I for a repeat of last year's bounty (11-12 litres) that I practically ran straight up the ladder that was waiting for me beneath the branches of said tree.

I had been picking for all of 2 minutes. The ground underneath the ladder didn't feel like it was even. I jiggled the ladder slightly from side to side to try and get it repositioned. Better.

Always check your ladder, boys and girls. All the crazy stuff I've done. The buildings and trees, mountains and art I've climbed and I fall off a ladder--the one thing built specifically for CLIMBING!

There was a strange shift beneath me and the A-frame ladder collapsed. I grabbed at a branch earning me some crushed cherries and a handful of juicy leaves. Twisting in the air with cat-like grace bestowed upon me by years of training and practice, I managed to position my body perfectly to land square on my back atop a hard, large (did I mention hard?) landscaping brick. I have never experienced such pain.

Exhibit B -- Top of the world... check!
Anwyn told me later that she knew something was really wrong when she saw me pancake to the ground.
"What was your first clue?"
"Any time you stub your toe or hurt yourself you always shout 'FUCK' really loud. This time you didn't say anything."

I'll be back in a moment. I think I hear the guy at the door delivering my father of the year trophy.

There I was, laying on the ground. I had rolled once and my face was pressed in the dirt. I could barely breathe for several long minutes. Time slowed, as it is wont to do, and I recalled the last serious fall I experienced. I had been climbing some rocks in northern Saskatchewan (so I couldn't have been too high) and some rock crumbled in my hand. Down I went. Wendy's 1st responder training kicked in. She rolled me over, sat directly on my diaphragm and began firing questions at me while inspecting my pupils for signs of concussion. "Are you okay? How many fingers? Why aren't you speaking? Does your throat hurt?"

Exhibit C -- trees
Back in the present, I gasped into the dirt, "No, I am NOT okay," as I feebly flipped my hand in the universal sign for 'get away from me, I'm dying and need space in which to twitch out my last moments and I most certainly don't require you to check my pupils for dilation.' Luck was with me and Wendy decided instead to marshal the troops. She arranged for Kent to come out with water and a triple dose of extra strength ibuprofen. While she checked on the location of the nearest clinics and hospitals, Anwyn snuck my iPhone from my pocket and began snapping pictures of the deepening bruise on my back.
"What are you doing?"
"Remember that time when I gashed my knee at school and we were waiting for stitches and you said, 'look at the subcutaneous fat--isn't that fascinating'--"
"Yes, I remember..."
"And remember that other time when I was a baby and fell out of the trailer onto wet, salty gravel? You brought me home but before you washed me off you took a picture. Then there was--"
"I don't--"
"Dad! I'm distracting you so you'll forget how much it hurts. That and I know you'll want the pictures later."
Did I help raise this child? Wow. The pain wasn't enough to make me cry, but feeling all the years of parenting choices coming back in this really odd, yet totally supportive moment was almost more than I could take.

By this point Wendy was ready to get me to the doctor as quickly as possible.
"Not yet. Wait... until I can breathe a bit better."
"No, we should go right now. Anwyn get on the other side and help your father."
Anwyn's voice came from somewhere behind me and to the left, "Just a couple more pictures."
"But, we came all this way," I rasped
"What are you talking about?!?"
"The cherries!!! I really want these cherries. After my muscles stiffen up we'll never make it back here this year. You should pick some. I'll just sit--ouch... er, lean--eeyaaugh... I'll hunch here until you're done. Then I'll go to see a doctor."
"Anwyn, grab your bucket. Get picking."

I don't know how I won that argument. You probably know that isn't common even at the best of times. I can only assume that Wendy was as convinced of my imminent death as I was. She was granting my last request of cherries before I shuffled off this mortal coil.

The doctors analysis was two broken ribs. I was prescribed a powerful pain-killer and unable to do anything but sit in throbbing, aching pain for entire days at a time. It was a serious challenge just to get into and out of bed. I'm told it involved a LOT of whining. The ache (and an extra "knuckle" on my ribs) still lingers. I hate it. To a certain degree, this incapacity also happens when I am sick, but then my brain is usually fevered, or I am exhausted. My mind and body are on the same mediocre page. But this really left me feeling trapped in my own body... and I didn't like it. It's made me think about the people that I know that have to live every day of their lives in the same or worse condition. Then there are the millions of people whose struggles I don't know at all. It has helped me to check my complaints at the door (well, except for this blog). As frustrating as it seems now, I'll get strong again and I'll make the most of what I have.

Exhibit D -- public art with pointy bits
Thanks to everyone who came to help me water the garden, clean my house, bring me treats or just commiserate.

***editors note***
I wrote this blog months ago but didn't publish it. I was pretty mad about being responsible for injuring myself and just generally angry. I'm mostly healthy again now and have removed some of the most inflammatory or self indulgent pieces of the post as well as adding all of the funny bits.