Friday, July 6, 2007

Slippery - Sunday Scribblings


As usual, I have responded to the prompt with the first thing that came to mind. It is the account of a personal experience that I have never forgotten:

I was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the dark months are an absolute horror. Growing up in snow country did little to prepare me for the hibernal hell that is wintertime in the high plains. I believe a Wyoming pioneer coined the term bitter cold. I often wondered how those hearty soles survived a winter there when I had all the modern comforts and still found myself miserable. There is an added dimension to a Wyoming winter. A constant 40-mile per hour wind polishes the foot deep ice to a perfect gloss. Then comes a fresh powder snow, which conceals the treacherous glacier. I am certain you know where I am going with this.

I was parallel parked on Lincoln, which is a major artery in the City of Cheyenne. This is important because of my later impossible attempt to conceal what had happened. I was unloading some merchandise to carry in to a shop that I did business with. My hands were full and I was probably carrying more weight than I was approved for. I took one careless step and suddenly instead of being vertical and perpendicular to the sidewalk, I suddenly became completely horizontal and parallel to it. I don’t mean that my feet went out from under me. No, my feet were at the same elevation as my head. I am certain that if there was an Olympic event in which that particular maneuver was judged, I would have been awarded a 9.5 (except maybe the Russian judge). I am not sure if I completed all the compulsory moves, but I definitely nailed the degree of difficulty, though my landing may have cost me some points. I landed flat on my back, with the packages still in my arms, undamaged. Luckily my spine and the back of my head broke my fall.

The most important thing for any man who falls, prior to accessing damages, is to play it off in the event that anyone happened to witness the performance. Well, that activity was a dismal failure, as not only had it been witnessed, but also both directions of traffic had come to a complete halt. There were people running to my aid. I am sure that some believed I had fallen from the sky, like Icarus. In spite of a possible broken back, concussion, bruised kidneys, and ruptured spleen, I managed to crawl out from under my vehicle (did I mention that I actually slid under my 4X4) and jump to my feet announcing my OKness (I love to make up words), as if this happened all the time. Though I couldn't breathe and I was seeing things only cartoon characters usually see, I managed to summon as much dignity as possible and get back in my vehicle, driving off before the paramedics arrived. I eventually recovered, with minor bruising, a massive headache, and some vertebrae in new positions, but I am certain that several years later citizens of Cheyenne still talk about the worst fall they ever saw.
This is another of the many reasons I love Myrtle Beach. The only way to slip on ice here is if someone spills a frozen daiquiri. If you do happen to fall down at Myrtle Beach you have at least a 75% chance of landing on sand or a golf course. Neither would cause a 911 dispatch.

25 comments:

Herb Urban said...

Sounds like quite a spill. My wife grew up in a hockey family. I never ice skated until I was nearly 30. Last winter I went skating for just the 3rd time in my life. I went with the cool hockey skates, since my brother in law vouched for them. 30 seconds on the ice and I was flat on my back with a fractured elbow and a bruised ego. The entire rink stopped to rush over and check on me.

Believe me when I say I feel your pain.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Oh, yea, I could see you suspended flat out about 3' off the ground, then drop down package covered and sliding under the 4x4. I always jump up and try to act as if I am okay - especially if there is an audience.

I'm surprised no one took down your license plate number and sent the paramedics after you. They were all probably still standing there when the ambulance arrived saying,
"I swear, there was this guy. . .who later drove off in a 4x4. Yea, it was parked right over there." And the ambulance drivers were just shaking their heads.

myrtle beached whale said...

Herb:
I am glad to know that Herbsylvania has an ice-skating rink. In Smelterville we made our own by flooding the tennis court with a garden hose and letting nature provide the ice. None of us knew how to play tennis anyway. Now, I only appreciate ice in a glass of tea.

Pinehurst:
Even though I grew up in snow country I never learned to ski. We didn't have money for that activity and I have never been a winter sports enthusiast. When I was living in Italy, I learned to ski (somewhat) in the Italian Alps at a beautiful place called Piancavallo which from my house was like Silver Mountain (Jackass) to Kellogg. Initially, I never ventured above the intermediate slopes, but since I was about the only adult on those (Europeans begin to ski as soon as they can walk) I decided to try one of the more advanced runs. Well, to cut to the chase, I crashed so violently that the ski patrol came to my rescue and though I was unhurt they tried to load me onto the rescue toboggan. Finally, through my broken Italian and their equally dismal English it was determined that I was indeed going to survive. They helped me gather up my skis and poles, which were strewn about the mountain and the one who spoke the best English pointed down the mountain and said "you ski, ah, Come si dice, uh, Bambini hill, ok? That was great advice.

Laini Taylor said...

Oy, that sounds awful! I'm with you on wondering how the early settlers ever managed up there. Not to mention the Canadians!

gautami tripathy said...

I was almost done in once when I slipped into slush and mud during rains. A ditch had been dug which was not visible due to water logging. It was kind of dark and no one was around. But before I could shout, a hand came out of nowhere to pull me out. After making sure, I was ok, he simply disappeared before I could thank him.

strauss said...

That was a fabulous account of your slip - very entertaining. I would have given you a perfect 10 for that. You nailed the landing in my opinion. I'd like to see if others could slide under the vehicle. Glad you were ok.

myrtle beached whale said...

Laini: I am not certain how the Canadians do it today.

Gautami: Don't get me started on guardian angels.

Strauss: So you would give me extra points based on the degree of difficulty? I will buy that.

Patois said...

I do hate to get enjoyment from others' pain -- okay, not really. That was quite an enjoyable read. The image of you under the 4X4 is particularly brilliant.

myrtle beached whale said...

Patois:

It would not have been so bad had I just slipped under the vehicle, but I crashed violently and then, almost as an afterthought, the sheen of the glare ice and slope of the sidewalk slowly deposited me under the vehicle.

Paul said...

A wonderfully told account of something I cannot even begin to imagine.

Rob Kistner said...

Ouch... shit, damn -- Wow!

Have a nice trip ,see you next fall... ;)

Oh no, I can't believe I just typed that.

Cheyenne, Wyoming -- the only place more desolate, and uglier, than the surface of the moon. It is almost impossible to believe it is in the same state as the Tetons and Jackson Hole.

myrtle beached whale said...

Rob:

Actually Cheyenne is the Garden of Eden compared to Rock Springs and Rawlins, Wyoming and most any berg along I-80. I think I-80 is the only major interstate highway with gates that close during inclement weather.

Paul:

Believe it!!

Dani in NC said...

Thanks for sharing that story. I can definitely relate. I always seem to fall when I am in the middle of a busy street and I am wearing a skirt that flies up over my head.

myrtle beached whale said...

Dani:

Please let me know when you will next be crossing a street in a skirt. Entertainment like that is hard to find.

Matthew said...

Glad you could inject a bit of humor into a potentially dangerous moment. Your slip most likely provided stories and chuckles throughout the greater Cheyenne area. Of course with winters like that I'm sure there are many occasions to witness such a tumble.

myrtle beached whale said...

when I first arrived in Cheyenne I went to see a movie and when I came out of the movie theater there was a blizzard. I got in my car and attempted to drive to my motel. I could not see a thing. I got turned around and ended up on a road on the outskirts of town. It got so bad I could not see the road so I spotted some tail lights ahead and decided I would follow him to wherever he was going. At least I figured it was civilization. So I got up behind him and followed him right into a ditch. It turned out that he didn't know where he was going any better than I did. This was long before cell phones, so it was quite sometime before we could get anyone to help us. I had visions of the Donner party and was afraid we would not be found until spring. It turned out we didn't have to eat each other, but I made my first friend there and we still correspond to this day.

Megan said...

What a great way to meet a friend...

In regards to your post, though, it reminded me of a snow/ice storm in Portland, OR in '98 or '99, don't remember which. It actually doesn't snow much in the city, and the reason is it's too warm down there. Well, cover it in snow, have it melt a little, re-freeze, then snow again. I couldn't tell you how many times I slipped that day, but one momentous one happened in a busy crosswalk, and ended in the splits. NOT FUN!!

Redness said...

Ahhh the finess of that fall, I could almost see it - Ooooo!!

Cz said...

ouch! I am wont to fall quite frequently, but never as dramatically as that! Thanks for the scribbling!

Linda Jacobs said...

It's so damned embarrassing when something like that happens. I have 3 more NH winters then I hope to never see snow and ice again!

linda may said...

Ouch, funny but....ouch. You are pretty lucky you slid into your car instead of someone else's moving one.I can't even stay upright on skates or a pushbike so a slippery footpath is out for me.

tumblewords said...

Ohmigosh - I'm sorry, but if I'd been there I probably would have laughed. I'm not mean, but it makes me a little nuts when people fall.

sister AE said...

Don't take this the wrong way, but "damn!" I guess it is just good to be looking at this story from a long way off (time and place). But knowing you got away (largely) intact, you know there would have been giggles mixed in with the omigods.

Mary said...

Those Russian judges are tough. They live in a cold icy world, so they probably see a lot of this sort of maneuver.

Your stories about Wyoming are the funniest!

Bluebethley said...

We drove through Cheyenne once in the summer and I could hardly imagine living there then! Your winters sound hazardous and remind me of my first winter in Philadelphia when I was racing away to some "important" meeting, and a passerby asked me, "Do you realize you're walking on ice?" Let's hear it for the WEST coast!!! Keep writing!