Friday, August 24, 2007

Downward facing doofus

One long-ago sweltering Mississippi afternoon, when I was in eighth-grade history class, I walked up to the teacher's desk to turn in a paper... and my feet got tangled in the electrical cord of a big box fan that was doing its best to keep a breeze moving 'round our stuffy classroom.

I tripped. And, in moderately spectacular fashion, I fell.

It was a five-second blemish in an otherwise unremarkable middle-school career. But if you were to round up Trinity Episcopal Day School's class of 1988 and implore them to recall me today, I think it would go something like this:

"Amy Hazel? No, no, can't say I remember any Amy Hazel... unless... wait, do you mean Amy JEAN? Trippin' over a FAN, Amy Jean? Hoo-whee! Good times."

For the record, my middle name is not, nor has it ever been, Jean. I've no idea where such originated, but I do know that my yearbook was littered with fond reminiscences of the day I took a tumble. Tripping Over a Fan Girl: that was me.

That was me, until today. Because today, and for the foreseeable future, I have shed the burdensome title of Tripping Over a Fan Girl. Today, I boldly stake my claim as Girl Who Went to Yoga Class and Ended Up With Stitches in Her Lip.

I have to say, I think I've really outdone myself this time.

It all began on such a lovely note. Last week, we loaded up the minivan and drove to Seaside, Florida, a town that's so picturesque and quaint, it served as the backdrop for The Truman Show.

The muppers were in heaven, as were we. The place boasted sugar-white beaches and clear blue gulf waters; family-friendly activities after sunset and resortlike amenities for mom and dad during the day. Even, I gleefully noted, a twice-weekly beachside yoga class.

In my pre-mommy life, I adored yoga and practiced it faithfully. These days, I might wheeze through an occasional sun salutation, but I'm no Christy Turlington.

Here, though, was a chance to knock some of the rust off my joints, stretch and breathe and bend, and, maybe for one fleeting second, achieve the clarity and tranquility that only yoga promises. And, y'know, ditch the kids for an hour! How could I pass this up?

So Wednesday morning, I strolled down to the main pavilion, a wide, wooden deck overlooking the beach, and I practiced yoga. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I remembered many of the asanas, and even though I wasn't as limber as I used to be, I could keep up reasonably well with Craig, the resident yogi.

Our week at the beach passed much too quickly: suddenly it was Friday and time to head back home. After some pretty serious cajoling, I promised Trey that if he'd cut me loose for one more yoga class, I'd pull together the last of the packing and we'd be on the road by noon. He gamely agreed, and I skipped off to the pavilion.

Today's class was twice the size of Wednesday's group, and Craig gently encouraged us to stretch farther, hold poses longer, visualize ourselves leaner and stronger. As the sun rose higher, so did the temperature, and nearing the end of the class, everyone on the pavilion looked as sweaty and tired as I felt.

Generally, a yoga class ends with a quiet meditation, but a small cloud of biting flies had rather rudely descended upon us, so Craig decided we should close with a balancing pose or two. "If you think you're up for a challenge, let's give the crane a try," he said.

We watched, agog, as he moved effortlessly from a deep squat to a half-handstand, with his knees perched atop his elbows. "Be careful with this one," he warned, "because if you lose your balance, you'll fall flat on your face."

I could see some of my fellow yogi wannabes moving instead to the more-manageable downward facing dog pose, and I briefly thought about following suit. But then my ego started yapping.

"Gimme a break," it sneered, "downward facing dog? You can do that in your sleep. C'mon, you've been sailing along; now it's time to strut your stuff."

So I hunkered down, tried to hoist my knees over my ears... and, man, Craig made this look so easy, and, oof, my wrists are really wobbling, and HEY! Look at me! I'm flat on my face, with a mouthful of wooden pavilion.

And everyone was looking at me, because not only was I lying in an utterly graceless heap on the deck, I was, apparently, bleeding like a stuck pig. From my mouth.

Pride is a funny thing. For me, it goeth both before and after a fall.

There I was, with a towel pressed to my face to staunch the bleeding, resolutely insisting to the small crowd gathered 'round me that I was FINE, just FINE, despite evidence to the contrary. And I'm here to tell you that if Craig had immediately launched into another series of asanas more challenging than the last, I would have elbowed my way to the front row and soldiered on.

Mercifully, Craig acted as if this was the very way he'd planned to end the class all along, and so my fellow benders and twisters eventually tore their eyes away from my face and wandered off in different directions.

I gathered my things, towel still serving as a tourniquet, as Craig apologized to me about a dozen times. Then a cartoon lightbulb seemed to pop over his head, at which point he reminded me that I had, in fact, signed a liability waiver before class had begun.

Yeah. Namaste to you, too, buddy.

And so, bloody towel in hand, I wandered back to the cottage, sheepishly anticipating Trey's reaction. I had a vague idea of how it might go. I mean, really: who injures herself doing yoga? No way was he going to let me live this down.

But when I walked in the door and he saw my face, he didn't crack a single joke. He looked a little queasy, actually. So I sized up my reflection in the mirror. It wasn't pretty, but I wasn't a total monstrosity. If you took a pencil eraser, dipped it in bloody goo, and pressed it firmly under my right nostril, you'd pretty much have it.

Except... there was this icky flap of skin sort of dangling there. Eh, once the blood stops, it won't look so angry, I figured.

Thirty minutes later, it was still bleeding and no less disgusting. I lay draped on the couch with a new bloody towel and a cold compress while Trey struggled to pack up the cottage while kids clung, crying, to his arms and legs.

One kid, Spencer, peeled off and wandered over to me.

"Mommy, your face," he said, pointing from a safe distance. "I know, sweetie," I said, "I have a boo-boo. Would you kiss it for me and make it better?" Eyes wide, he shook his head no and backed away slowly. "Clean that up," he commanded me, then ran into another room.

That did it. I asked Trey to call his mom (who, for good reason, serves as my emergency contact whenever I'm urged to supply one) and solicit her advice. "Find a doctor," she advised.

So I did. I called a clinic in the neighboring village, gave Trey an air-kiss good-bye and a mea culpa, and drove myself to Seagrove, where I met Dr. Roll. I just knew he was going to take one look at me, mock my clumsiness or scold me for wasting his time, and send me on my way.

He didn't. He greeted me warmly and asked me to follow him to his office. Oh, I get it, I thought. Here's where he gives me a band-aid and charges me a hundred bucks for being a gullible end-of-season tourist.

Wrong again. He took a close look at the damage, told me what he saw and explained how he wanted to fix it. Then he pulled out a needle and some wiry thread, and he stitched up my face while I mumbled and rambled.

I cannot believe I'm such a klutz, I said. I mean, who gets stitches from a yoga class? I wanted relaxation, not a facial wound. All week long, I've been worrying and working to keep the kids from getting hurt, and here I am in the doctor's office!

No offense, doc, but this isn't how I'd planned to spend my last hour in Florida. Not that I was looking forward to leaving, you understand. Not by a long shot. I was born here, you know, at Eglin. You were in the Air Force, too? Do you know my dad? No? Too bad; you'd like him.

He smiled and nodded and patted me on the shoulder; he asked me to please be careful on the drive home, and ordered me to find a doctor to remove the stitches in five to seven days.

Then he showed me my chart, which was dominated by a diagram he'd sketched of my face, and the location of my wound. While I was studying it, he wrote across my chart in big letters, THIS GIRL IS NOT A KLUTZ!

Thanks, Dr. Roll, I said. That's really sweet.

Still, I'm willing to bet that no one challenges me for my title anytime soon.


Anonymous Minivan mom said...

Oh Franklin. I love you and your klutzy stiched face.

You make us wait a long time for updates, but when they come, they're worth the wait.


6:40 AM  
Blogger Big Mama said...

See, this is why we are friends. I am totally the girl who could start off doing yoga and end up with stitches.

I love when you post. You're brilliant.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

That so reminds me of something I would do if I ever attempted yoga again. I love your stories! I miss ya!!

12:26 PM  
Blogger anniemcq said...

Does it hurt when you laugh? Because it hurts when I laugh, and I just did, really, really hard. I feel so bad for you, but then you're so damn funny!

Spencer's reaction reminds me so much of Joe-Henry. When I got sick once, he got so scared, so when I was done hurling I came in to comfort him and he said "no offense mom, but I don't want you to kiss me."

Oh, and "Namaste to you too, buddy" made me snort AND guffaw. Hope you feel better soon.

Brilliant post.

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Agarita House said...

Bah! Amy Franklin! What the heck were you thinking a handstand with your head out like that. Next time wear a helmet. Love you, mary

6:14 PM  
Blogger Jenn M said...

I don't even know what to say. I'm an evil person for laughing so hard and long, but damn girl, that's a funny story. I'm SO, so sorry that happened but the blog fodder it gave you, priceless!
Your brilliance astounds me, I was wandering through the first paragraph thinking hmmm, maybe she ran into someone when she was visiting her sister, but no it was a geniously crafted foreshadow that skipped right by me.
Glad it happened the last day though, the rest of your week sounds FAB-U-LOUS!

9:13 PM  
Blogger life with the wisners said...

franklin. you have to know that people laughed. and are still laughing. but only because your rendition was so eloquent.

and because we know that if not you, it would've happened to one of us.

this is why we keep coming back (once a month). we LOVE you and can't get enough of you.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Amy, Amy, are your stitches looking? I'm very sorry for you, but I so enjoyed the story. You absolutely must have been on a vacation high to think you could have pulled that move off!

Keep smiling and get back up on that horse :)

7:35 PM  
Blogger Franklin5 said...

You all are so sweet that I just want to give you a great big group hug... although, as Jen W. will attest, you really don't want to get that close to me.

It's not that my war wound is that large, it's just that the placement is (back me up, witnesses) so terribly unfortunate.

It's immediately below my right nostril, and kind of brownish-reddish-blackish with wiry stitches sticking out every which way. And so it looks for all the world like some grievously offensive (cringe) booger.

My primary entertainment right now is categorizing reactions to it.

There's sweet Sarah Kate, who politely acts as if it just isn't there and is very nearly successful in maintaining eye contact.

There's Ambassador Rauen, who charges at me from across the room, yelling, "WHAT THE HELL IS ON YOUR FACE?!?"

There's my husband, who pretends that we have, for the nineteen years we've been a couple, always been air-kissers.

And then there are my offspring.

Spencer still regards me with suspicion and is careful not to get too close.

Katie continues to refuse her good-night kiss, telling me tonight, "I'm scared your boo-boo will hurt me."

But I liked Carter's assessment the best. He told me yesterday, "Mom, it looks like someone smushed ANTS on your face."

And so it does.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Shigeta said...

Carter's response made me laugh out loud then cover my you know the other night Anthony told me I need to control my outbursts......have we just met? Funny is funny and I'll laugh if I wanna.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I realize that I am way late in commenting (I've been bad about that lately though I've read everyone's entries!), but I can't not come back to this one.

You're priceless, Amy. Thank you for sharing your pain and humiliation in such a way that it gave us nothing but roars of laughter and love for you all at the same time.

We love you!

7:13 PM  
Blogger Mocha said...

To answer a question you posed a bit ago, no, I haven't tried Pig Candy. But I suspect that once I think about it for too long I will go get the ingredients and make it.

Now, onto other stuff: you have never commented before on my site, thus leaving me out of the loop on gems like these stories? When I could have been giggling at yoga stories with stitches?

Shame, shame, I know your name.
Well, now I do. ;-)

6:01 AM  
Anonymous trabilccobb said...

When will you post photos of the ants on your face?

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sugar Photography said...

in a desperate effort to make you post again...


6:18 PM  

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