Ever wonder what happens if you ignore the universe? Let’s just say that one minute life is seemingly quiet and the next thing you know you have peanut butter in your hair, you’re missing a shoe and you are crazy glued to a wall.
For the purpose of this story I am going to refer to the universe as “Alice”. If I am to give the universe a name, Alice seems oddly appropriate. I have come to realize that Alice always gets her way, that she is patient and has a wicked sense of humor. In the game of life, Alice is always at the top of the scoreboard. The score over the last few months for Alice and I is somewhere around Alice 13 - Patty 0.
Allow me to take you back several months. I was travelling about various countries rarely ever sitting still. It would be fair to say I had experienced some changes in recent months and I chose to take this time in my life to go travel. Sitting still and contemplating it all was not something I was interested in doing. Then the universe struck. I injured my right hand in an exciting outdoor event. Okay, maybe it wasn’t exciting. The doctor at the hospital referred to it as the “Garden injury.” Yes, it’s that lame. I hurt my hand while sitting on the grass. As much as it pains me to admit it, that is the story in its entirety. I sat down, I got up. I broke myself. I broke my painting hand! Alice 3 points. You see, Alice knows no boundaries. That breathtaking, physical activity resulted in five casts, one surgery and months of recovery. Alice waved her magic wand and turned me into a complete Klutz. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t travel, write, paint, or draw, let alone put on my mascara! Alice was saying "Okay sweetheart, you wouldn’t slow down when I told you too, so now I am going to mess with you to really get your attention". And so she did. I am not liking Alice much at this point.
My normal is no more. I am discovering a new normal, a bit like a toddler trying to figure out how to climb a fence for the first time. I get up a few inches, then I stumble back down. I get up and I fall flat. I get up and almost make it, then get my foot caught on the gate and end up hanging upside down until someone comes and saves me. One appreciates the determination, but can’t help but laugh at the comedy of it all. Here are a few of the “highlights” courtesy of Alice. Let’s begin with socializing. Girls night out is always fun and on this particular evening my good friend and I found ourselves seated at a small table in the heart of a nice lounge located in the main city on a tiny island in the the Irish Sea. My friend introduced me to some of her friends, one of whom she thought looked like a famous and handsome actor. We all chatted for a while and then I excused myself and went to the ladies room. As soon as I entered the cubicle I knew I was going to have a problem. Sporting a brand new cast on my right hand made various tasks difficult if not somewhat impossible. I could unbutton my slacks, this wasn’t an issue, but doing them up was going to be an entirely different matter. I had on the cutest pair of Italian trousers, but the button was extremely awkward to do up. I approached my friend back at the table and gave her a look. She furrowed her brow and said “What?” I lowered my eyes to my cast then down towards my undone button. She tried, ever so discreetly, to do up button, but was unsuccessful. Her attractive gentleman friend looked on while trying to conceal his amusement. I finally turned and looked at him, shrugged my shoulders and hoped she would just hurry up already. Finally, with frustration in her voice, she said “I can’t do it.” I felt like a small child. I looked at her friend and shrugged my shoulders once again. His eyes went to my button and back up to me. He then proceeded to do up my pants and hold back the grin on his face. We all laughed. And yes, you could say that I was embarrassed that George Clooney had to do up my pants in public. Alice 5 points I will say that George was a gentleman and we remain good friends to this day. Thank you George.
Then there’s domestic duties. Imagine trying to cut a loaf of hearty, thick crusted bread wiith one hand. ……………. Exactly. Don’t try it. Just don’t even try it. Alice 6 points. Ever try to operate a pepper grinder with one hand? It’s a little bit like trying to operate a jackhammer with a feather. Don’t try it. Did you know pepper corns can travel 12 feet in every direction? Alice 7 points.
Let’s not forget exercise. I decided to go for a hike. I couldn’t do much else so it seemed like a good idea. I grabbed my keys and headed to the car. (Yes, I was driving. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be driving!) Only when I got to my car I didn’t have my keys. I looked in my pockets, no, not there. I ran back up to the third floor, maybe I left them in the door? Sure enough, there, dangling from the door was my house key. Since when did I do that kind of thing? But that was only my house key, where were my car keys? I stood there with my eyes closed retracing my steps. I recall going downstairs, putting the garbage in the bin outside, and then going to my car. The Bin! Had I dropped my keys in the bin with my clumsy hand as I placed the bag inside? Maybe? Just then I heard the dreaded beeping sound of the garbage truck. I ran over to the window and looked down to see the truck slowly backing up in the direction of my bin! I flew down the three flights of stairs, at break neck speed, and darted out the door in the direction of the hungry iron jaws. I threw open the lid of my bin and began rifling through the garbage as the truck slowly made its approach. I spotted my keys halfway down the bin. I burst out laughing. Seriously? This is the new me? Alice 9 points! After dusting off the coffee grounds my eyes went up to the elderly neighbors that had apparently been watching me. I smiled sheepishly and once again shrugged my shoulders. But that wasn’t the end of it. By the time I returned from my hike I could barely walk. My back had gone out. Badly. It happens on occasion. And today Alice made it happen in a way that was not to be ignored. It would be months before my back would recover. Alice 13 points
So you see, Alice forced me to not just slow down, she forced me to stop everything. Okay Alice I get it. When we don’t listen to ourselves, to our hearts, heads, bodies, we get reminders that refuse to be ignored. Life is a work in progress for all of us. There are times when we just need to take care of ourselves. The end. That’s it. I can say Alice is my friend now. She no longer trips me when I am not looking, or hides my car keys. Now Alice blows gentle breezes on me and smiles down upon me as I meander, ever so slowly, to only Alice knows where. i listen now, or at least try to. The moral of the story. Don’t piss off Alice. Or maybe, it is more that we need to think of Alice as our big sister. And big sisters always know what’s best for us.