My friend and I decided to take a trip to the beach the other day. We have both been craving saltwater and ocean breezes. We decided to hop to it when we saw a day that weather.com decreed would likely avoid rain.
We ran into a few snags as we made our way to Clearwater Beach, but we were having a good time and enjoying each other’s company. We stopped at a Christmas shop in route, which is always a plus in my book. We inched our way across the 10 miles or so of causeway to get to the beach area. Circling around several blocks several times, we finally found a parking structure. We drove up, up, and up before we found a place to park. The elevator did not work, so we climbed down, down, down four flights of stairs to the street level.
Maybe we should have stayed in the car.
We had not walked ten feet on the sidewalk, when my foot caught on a raised square of concrete. That was when I learned how to fly. I am convinced that I did fly. I was airborne for long enough to have the sensation of soaring across stopped time. It was like those commercials for paper towels when someone spills a drink. The film goes into slow motion. I was flying in slow motion. I even had enough hang time to realize what was happening, analyze whether I could right myself, and maneuver my body into the most viable, least harmful way to fall. What is weird is that I even felt kind of graceful. I am absolutely positive I did not look graceful.
Yes, I did learn to fly. The problem is that I did not learn how to land. Nobody told me where the landing gear lever was. I came down on my undercarriage with more force than a flying machine should. It took me a few minutes to figure out that I was still in one piece. Getting up was also a challenge. Several nice people stopped to see if I needed help. My friend also tried to help. All I could see was me pulling all these nice people down right along with me. I sat on the ground for a few moments and then I figured out a strategy for getting back on my feet. A few feet in front of me, there were some metal chairs cabled together. I crawled over to them on my battered knees and steadied myself on one of the chairs as I carefully moved myself into standing position.
We walked over to the beach. Before we even set our things down on the sand, it began to rain. Lesser women would have turned tail and gone back to the car. Not us. It is Florida and it is summer. We waited a few minutes and the rain stopped. I do not know if I decided to wait because of my fortitude or because I was afraid to face the scene of my unscheduled landing quite so soon.
Luckily, I did not sustain any significant damage. I attribute that to my general physique. Sometimes it is better to be shaped like Winnie the Pooh than like Tinker Bell. My fluffiness certainly saved me from serious injury.
I do have some impressive bruises on my thighs, elbows, knees, and toes. I did not do a lot of kneeling during the church service this week. Jack and Jill, the twin bruises on my left and right knees were not happy about putting themselves under that much pressure just yet. The bruises look way worse than they feel. There is very little tenderness now. I have been wearing a lot of navy blue to match the bruises. Now that they are starting to fade, I guess I am going to have to clash. Yellow is not my color.
I am going to try to avoid flying lessons in the future. Orville and Wilbur might have been Wright, but Terri LaBonte is definitely wrong!
What new skills have you learned since retirement? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an earth-bound day!