Why am I wearing an air cast?

I wish I could say I fractured my ankle horseback riding or water-skiing in Mexico or while rescuing some kids from a burning bus or, I don’t know, running? But those would be legitimate and noble ways to injure oneself. But I’m me. Illegitimate and un-noble. Clumsy, on a good day.

“Nel! Oh my God, what happened?!” is the thing everyone will be saying for the next 2-4 weeks. Yep, that’s what the unexpectedly chipper nurse at the intensive care unit told me this morning. How did I hurt myself badly enough to require a trip to the ICU? Why am I wearing an air cast? You don’t want to know.

But that’d be an anti-climactic way to end a blog post, so I’ll cue you into how this catastrophe happened. I was at a party with some friends, super casual-like, enjoying ourselves, yada yada yada. I hear about how they’re doing in school, tell them about how nice it is to be living off campus, although I spend a lot o time thinking about where I’ll find my next free meal. We must’ve eaten some chips at some point? Fast forward: they have to go, likely home to their boyfriends, but I didn’t ask about that for fear of drawing more attention to my singledom. Suddenly, I’m at this party, and the only person I know is the host. This is not the dream situation. This is never the dream situation. I find some other floating guests to talk to. This goes on for a little while, but then, you guessed it, his girlfriend called from downstairs to be let in. Enter scene: a bottle of gin, of whom I develop an infatuation deep enough to attribute some sort of personhood to it. This is not an entirely unfamiliar story, to me or to anyone. With every sip I am increasing the likelihood of an accident. I sip away, anyway.

Honestly, it could’ve happened any number of ways. I could’ve fallen off of the balcony after overreaching for a beer. I could’ve landed wrong when jumping off of the bar after a really successful dance number. I could’ve slipped and fallen in the bathroom after an impromptu drunked shower. I could’ve done something that drew large amounts of attention, the kind of debacle that has people clapping and slapping you on the back and saying “that was awesome” (ignoring the danger and pain involved in the fall, because we’re all drunk and can’t feel our fingers). OR, to go another way, I could’ve tripped down the back stairs on my way out and limped home quietly without a single person noticing. Instead, I landed the extremely awkward middle-ground-injury, where some three to five people saw, one of them being the host of the party, you know, the only one I knew.

Nel, what actually happened? is the question you are (still) asking. You know those pull-up bars that hang in your doorway? Yeeah, so I tried to do a pull up. I was talking to host-guy (who, for the record, is adorable and is the only reason I continued to lone-wolf it at this party) and in a miserable attempt to flirt with him, I decided I would try to prove myself by doing a pull up. Now, I’m in decent shape, but I know that I cannot do a pull up sober. Assisted pull ups at the gym on a machine? I rock those. But real, body-weight pull ups, hell no, can’t do it. So why then, Nel, would you try to do this? Because alcohol? Because attraction? Because I didn’t learn from eerily similar past experiences?* In my attempt to do a pull up, I pulled the bar down onto myself, landing 1/3 on the host, 1/3 on the door frame, 1/3 on my ankle. It’s only a hairline fracture though, so, I guess I’m lucky?

Sheesh. If this story has a moral, it is, PJ, get your shit together when you’re around guys you like. If there is alcohol involved, there shall be no attempts at exercise, or to go further, at “proving ones abilities” in any manner. Of course the unforseen consequence is that I have to walk around in this stupid boot for the next few months, but hey, at least it’s not snowing yet!

*In seventh grade, I tried to show a guy I liked this new cartwheel trick I had been working on. I was so excited to impress him that I didn’t realize that he had moved into my line of fire. My heel met his eye socket, with a special kind of elegance and grace of which only I am capable. He had to wear an eye patch for weeks, and no matter how hard I tried to apologize, he wouldn’t look at me with his one good eye.

In ninth grade, I had a role as a police officer in the school play. I was meant to hit this guy on the head with a night stick. But just as the key line was spoken, my crush walked into the wings. Completely distracted, I didn’t see that the robber ducked too soon, and I hit my co-officer, knocking his tooth straight out. Did I mention this was on opening night? I suppose it was time for me to finally be the victim of one of these cute-boy-related debacles.

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