Staring at the Ceiling.


A few summers ago I was at the beach with a group of friends when I was out swimming in one of the rock pools, when I decided to go back onto the beach. One of my mate’s then 5-year-old daughters took my hand as we walked in the ankle-deep water, across the very slippery rocks.

“Gingerly,gingerly, gingerly…”She chanted as we held on to each other highly, lest one of us would suffer a fall, which what could only be speculated as having significant and disastrous result. For one so young, she had the whole “cause and effect” thing nailed.

When I was that age, and a little older, there was nothing funnier than a fall. We howled with laughter when a teacher slipped down the stairs. We pissed ourself with glee when someone slipped on a banana peel and went for a ride. And did we laugh when a waiter fall over carrying a full tray of food! That is because, apart from my wise little friend treading gingerly with me over the rocks, as kids we lacked empathy, as we had never really suffered a significant fall.

Nowadays, as (hopefully) fully aware and emotionally developed adults, if we see someone fall, we react differently. We race to said victim and offer ice, soothing words and help. We collect rolling fruit that has escaped from the shopping basket, and collect the contents of purses that have released a myriad of coins. This is because our frontal lobe has now fully developed. And because we have all been there.

Last week, as I walked the dodgy sidewalks of Seminyak, I was only too quick to point out to members of our party, all of the dangers that were presented to us.

“It is a bit slippery there…”

“Watch out for that step!”

“Mind the gap”

“These stairs are quite mossy, just be careful.”

Long gone are the sure-footed days where you would leap up stairs three at a time, or you would actually encourage falling down by running down a soaped up “Slip and Slide”, an apparatus that encourages you to fall over. Even now, I shut the curtains when the kids take to the trampoline with a hose and a bottle of Morning Fresh. I like my feet firm to the ground thank you very much.

Do you ever get that feeling? You know the one, where you are in public and you slip on something only to somehow magically steady yourself? It usually happens in shopping centres. If you could slow-mo the whole thing down you can actually see the stages. It is a mixture of shock, then panic, then relief, then ultimately embarrassment, because the kids are laughing at you, and their parents are asking you if you are ok.

My most recent slip, well it wasn’t even really a slip at all. It happened about two months ago. I had just gotten off a flight, and being intrinsically¬†lazy, I decided to jump on the travellator instead of using my legs to walk the 50 metres or so. I was also on my phone, checking my text messages that had come in, which was mainly from the kids asking me “What are we having for dinner?”

I was responding with “I have no i…..” when BANG.

All of a sudden I was staring at the ceiling. I was hoping no one had seen it, I mean none of the dozen or so behind me had noticed for sure? An alarm went off and that travellator stopped.

Somewhere, in the distance, I heard at least three children laugh. Assholes.

I was then swarmed with people, collecting my things and sitting me up, asking if I was ok. To be truthful, I was seeing pink elephants, and stars and all sorts of shit, but I got up, brushed myself off, thanked everyone for their concern, before hobbling off, ever so gingerly. Gingerly. Gingerly.

Which is why I loathe slippery soles, high heels, mossy rocks, freshly mopped floors, marbled foyers, embankments of ANY kind, muddy paths, any surfaces that are not 180 degrees parallel, deep stairs, deep outdoor wet stairs, travellators, most escalators and last but not least, polished concrete.

Accidentally found yourself looking at the ceiling lately?

What caused your slip and fall?