Things have a way of sneaking up on us, don’t they? Birthdays and deadlines do it all the time, surprise! They catch you unaware, sure, but they don’t knock you to the ground and hold you there. The wind will. It’s a mean, sneaky bastard. I know this because it came after me a couple days ago.
I was skipping merrily along, minding my own business, when the wind came out of nowhere and sucker punched me with a body slam — whooomp! — four blocks from the main library. It was an invisible 60 mph blast from the north I did not see coming. And I went sideways, against my better judgment and best intentions, straight into a parked car. Hard.
Remember bop bags, those inflatable plastic clowns you’d beat up, but couldn’t knock down? That’s what I turned into: a staggering, skittering, reeling bop bag. My backpack acted like a sail, catching the wind and buffeting me, sending me caroming from parking meter to street light to mailbox to wall. At high-speed and off-balance. I’m certain it made for entertaining street ballet, my stumbling, graceless performance.
How does a person fight back against this quixotic, malevolent force? Me, I clung like death to anything upright: including the aforementioned fixtures, plus flagpole, cement planter, bus bench, and doorknobs. I scuttled like a crab, hunched and furtive, for two scary blocks. Then I came to a broad intersection or, more accurately, a giant freaking wind tunnel and met my Waterloo.
The prospect of venturing across traffic in such gale-force conditions — where I’d have only bumpers to grab, the ones on moving cars — was far too daunting. I turned around and scuttled home. I had discovered my inner wuss. My role models, Olive Oyl (Popeye’s girlfriend) and Granny Clampett (from the Hills of Bever-lee), they would have soldiered on. Why didn’t I?
Well, at this late stage in my life, I think it dawned on me that I’m not animated nor do I have a stunt double. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m breakable, a hateful and disturbing thought if ever I had one. I’m hoping it passes quickly, like the wind’s been doing. Wish me luck.
*Translation from the original Pig Latin: nix on the wind.
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