On being a klutz…

Whenever I mention that I used to be a ballet dancer, I am often met with looks of surprise. In part that’s due to the fact that I no longer look like a dancer, but a large part of it is due to my apparent inability to walk. I may be graceful on the stage, but put me on a sidewalk and my ability to remain upright is severely compromised. There are certain factors that make my chance of meeting the pavement more or less likely on any given day: 1.) Dansko shoes. Apparent Dip feels they should come out with a shoe called “the Assassin.” Wearing Danskos (which I love) generally increases my chance of landing on my arse to almost 90%. 2.) Deep thoughts. Walking is my thinking time, but that means that I am often so caught up in la-la land that I can’t be bothered to pay attention to the physical reality of placing one foot solidly in front of the other (and then repeating said action). 3.) Grass. Not the “happy” kind, but the kind you walk on. The uneven surface wreaks havoc with my ability to maintain a sense of balance (although I would think that the other kind of grass would also not help my equilibrium).

I like to think that my perfectionism plays out in my klutziness as well. I mean, if I’m going to fall, I might as well go for it kit-and-caboodle. No half-assing it here (no pun intended). I have a flair for the dramatic (perhaps the only thing that my dance training has left me?). Today, while wearing perfectly flat-footed shoes, I managed to trip. But no quick recovery for me. Oh no, first my ankle twists, then my body seeks to go in a different direction altogether…then my bookbag flies to the left, while my phone (this poor phone!) goes to the right. And I scramble to retain a sense of balance and the shreds of dignity, but to no avail. Once I managed to stop spinning around like a dreidel on crack, I picked everything up and immediately called Apparent Dip. Why? Well, two reasons: First, my phone has been through a lot in its young life (it took a swan dive into a toilet this past winter) and I wanted to make sure that it still worked. Secondly, I felt the overwhelming need to prove to the fourteen or so people who might have seen my spectacular fall that Hah! I might not be able to walk upright, but I still have friends who will talk to me! Ok, Apparent Dip was too busy laughing to talk to me, but they don’t need to know that do they?

The only other problem with my klutziness is that it generally serves as an out-of-body experience for me. A part of me seems to stand by and watch as I contort myself one way or the next and then lets those images replay in my mind over and over. The result? I will periodically laugh out loud as I continue on my way, as the scenes play on in my mind and I realize that I must have looked absolutely ridiculous. Oh well, the show must go on…

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda on September 4, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I have often thought that you were simply doing yoga or exercising when you would drop to the ground as if someone pulled a tablecloth out from under you. Now the truth comes out and you tell me that you were falling.


  2. I’m a klutz too, but in a different way. I don’t fall or trip ; instead, I walk into things. Like walls. And other stationary objects that don’t move. In stores, this means that I sometimes walk into clothing racks. lol

    And people don’t expect me to be klutzy because I’m short and thin, so it makes them laugh all the harder. :p


  3. Linda: I think the yoga excuse sounds much better than the reality…

    Eva: Clothing racks are vicious! I like to pretend that I don’t walk into things–they jump out at me! That wall? Totally moved on me! I’ve had some spectacular bruises (particularly from an I-beam I walked into once because I was reading and walking at the same time).


  4. I just want to note for the record that I responded to comments, and wordpress didn’t even acknowledge them! And now they’re gone, into the ether…


  5. I can really empathize with this! I’ve always been such a klutz, but now that I have fibromyalgia, it’s far worse. My knee or ankle will just randomly give out on me while I’m just walking along on a flat surface, or sometimes, even just standing there! Today, I dropped my lanyard with my keys on it, and then, when I bent down to pick it up, I was STANDING on it, without even noticing, so when I straightened up with it, I was jerked right back down. So graceful.


  6. I always knock over chairs with my book bag, usually when I’m approaching a professor to ask a serious question about a topic or something. The classroom chairs make a particularly loud crashing noise when they fall, and everyone jumps as if a gun has gone off.


  7. Linda: I think I like the yoga excuse better…it’s certainly less embarrassing.

    Eva: I like to pretend that those immobile objects actually do move. That desk? Totally jumped out at me! 🙂

    Dewey: Why is it that recovering from a klutzy maneuver can sometimes be even klutzier than the initial act? And I hear you on the knees: my left knee has a torn PCL thingy, and it sometimes likes to buckle when it’s most embarrassing.

    Ian: Love it! And why does it have to happen in front of a crowd (always a crowd?). I certainly feel like profs must question my ability to reason when they see me walk into a door or something (perhaps because they think I’ve sustained damage through too many injuries….)


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