Friday, August 25, 2006

Nocturnal Stupidity

This time, the lawn got me.

Not quite the lawn. Let me explain.

Monday night, I took Middle Child to the park. We were trying to meet one of his friends after football practice. Middle Child entered second grade on Wednesday, so Monday night was his last real night of summer vacation.

What does that have to do with the blood on my hands? Not a hell of a lot. It was my fault, not his.

We took a shortcut home. You know, because Middle Child wanted to, and he hadn't seen his football-playing friend at the park after all, and he was dejected that his summer was over... and without even thinking about it (worse, actually, because I thought about it and overruled my parental "No" command), I said, "Sure, we can go that way." Straight down a hill pocked with uneven blacktop, dusted in gravel and broken glass. In the dark. The day after a rain storm.

We'd just warned Oldest Son not to go that way: There's poison ivy, and he's gotten it twice this summer on that hill.

So, hey, I was doing well. Broke my own rules. Started down the hill. Slowly. Scraped my way down the blacktop. It's almost vertical at the top of the hill. Got all the way to a safer area, about two thirds of the way down. Middle Child was right behind me, scooting on his butt.

You know, when people tell you to listen to your children, you should pay attention. Their way down the hill is less glamorous... lower center of gravity and all that. And since I'd walked in front of him, no broken glass, either. But maybe I should have done it his way.

I smiled when we cleared the steepest part. And stepped on a huge clump of wet weeds. I was like a cartoon character on a banana peel. Bang! Right onto the blacktop and gravel and broken glass. Bloodied one hand (the one that holds pens, utensils and baseballs) and both arms.

Middle Child was fine. We got to the bottom of the hill and I realized I was no longer wearing my watch. I sent Middle Child home for a flashlight and went back up the hill. The Saint, Oldest child, Middle Child, a neighbor (with flashlight!) and neighbor's friend came back. Neighbor (with flashlight!) dug my watch out of the weeds. Bonus. We started back down the hill.

I smiled again when I cleared the steepest part. And stepped again on that same huge clump of wet weeds.

Same cartoon character on a banana peel result. Lost my glasses. The Saint found them.

Took almost an hour for the Saint to get me cleaned up. Ripped open both arms. My back looked like I'd gone street luging without the luge.

Was I pissed about that?

No. I was angry that:

  1. I did something stupid;
  2. Then I did the same stupid thing again;
  3. I worried my kids;
  4. And I couldn't write.
Not my son's fault. I say this, not just because it's true, but because Middle Child blamed himself. He was more upset than I was. I spent more time calming him down than the Saint did cleaning cinders out of my back.

So, yeah, I was dumb. Thankfully, I got carved up, not the boy. And in the meantime, you read #4 correctly, I've been unable to write. I sliced up my left palm pretty well, and the cuts on my wrists... well, they're conveniently located exactly where I rest them on the keyboard. Work was a little rough this week, though I survived the keyboard, my hands were sore by the time I got home.

Tonight, I'm back in the saddle. But I never thought writers could have a disabled list.

Middle Child, in the meantime, is ecstatic because this year at school, he has his own locker.

Here's the lesson I learned from that: Exult in life's simple pleasures.


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Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I thought the suburbs were safe...

Ow. Sorry about what happened. The husband blew a tire on the highway last night. I took kids with me to give him his AAA car and make sure he was all right. We couldn't stay there because it was a highway. Kids cried all the way home because they worried about daddy.

10:28 AM, August 26, 2006  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

"Exult in life's pleasures."

When my son was a freshman, he commandeered three lockers, one each in all three classroom buildings spread wide across the sprawling high school campus. I'm not sure what he was most pleased with - his own scheming or the wealthy of lockers at his command.

7:57 AM, August 28, 2006  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Adam, thankgoodness it wasn't your child who got battered, otherwise The Saint would have turned into The Devil and banned you to the couch!

But I hope you're feeling better today.

6:22 PM, August 28, 2006  

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