Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Falling Down { In Mexico and other places }

{ Runn-ing, runn-ing, we all -- fall -- down! }

Since my last post about my Paris marathon training buddy taking a spill during a run, I found out that 2 of the other 3 girls have fallen during their training as well...

B: within minutes of the start of a 14 miler, tripped over a railroad crossing, and did, as she calls it, a "sweet stunt woman type roll".

H: her words "a dang dog ran me down, and my girlfriend said she had never seen anyone fly up in the air like I did".

And although my sister hasn't yet fallen down while training, she did the Wii Fit fitness test over the holidays and it asked her if she often tripped when walking due to her balance. Hahahaha!

I love being able to laugh at ourselves with my girls! Our latest marathon safety motto: Beware of road gremlins.

Although I haven't fallen during my training, here is a short story I wrote this summer.


Trips to the grocery store are something I honesty love to do, and if it’s a foreign country where I’m in need of groceries I treat it as a full-on cultural highlight of the location. I was in Playa del Carmen the day before my birthday, and planned to stay a week. That first day was occupied with settling in, drinks by the pool, checking out the beach and my surroundings. Day 2 was my birthday, and I needed supplies in the form of snacks, water, alcohol for my room, and sunscreen. The front desk directed me to the neighborhood Wal-mart -- only a few blocks away, she said. I told her I preferred to shop somewhere local, and she gave me a frown and a tisk-tisk, saying it had the biggest selection and the best prices. Well, who’s to argue.

I had been out to the beach that birthday morning, welcomed with a breakfast amuse-bouche chocolate cake, fruit platter, tea, and a mimosa.

The days were sweltering hot, so I left for my walk to the store about mid-morning, hastily pulling on a sundress over my swimsuit. So what, it’s a beach town, sure.

The walk took me a few blocks the opposite direction of the beach and 5th Avenue, the bustling center of all things tourist. Not surprisingly, the further you get from the beach the more you encounter real people who live there - baking bread just inside their windows, taking kids to school, hauling bricks, whatever. I found the smells coming from the little doors amazing. I imagined empanadas, and drippy meaty tacos on tender tortillas with fresh cheese, cilantro, and jalapenos.

Oh well, on to the big box super store.

What happened next I remember as a quick succession of frozen visual moments. Coming to the corner of a street that seemed perhaps to be a four-way stop, I made eye-contact with a young local man who came quickly around the corner of the building. Startled a bit, I kept walking, noticing there was a substantial curb drop-off onto the street right in front of me. Perception told me it was a large step but easy enough, and there were no cars coming - just a few people milling about around the intersection. I didn’t hesitate and stepped out - sandal to the pavement ok, next sandal to the pavement not ok, SLIP! and the next thing I know I’m on my ass in the intersection. First thought? Glad I’ve got a swimsuit on under this sundress. I’ve somehow scraped my leg and my knee, which I don’t even notice until later because of my express need to GET UP and get out of the street. The weirdness to it was, with all the locals around, how no one acted startled, moved to help, angled to get a better view, or otherwise paid any attention to me whatsoever. Funny to think, we are the center of our own world.

I dusted myself off, and went to Wal-mart.

Wal-mart in Playa was divine, with aisles and aisles of fun foods, liquor, wine, beach-going necessities, packaged cookies and sweets of endlessly entertaining marketing spin, and produce. What I liked best was that by paying with a credit card there was no need for me to engage or otherwise interact with cashiers as I try hopelessly to interpret Spanish numbers and fumble with pesos for which I have no idea how much they are worth.

I called my mom from Wal-mart to tell her about my street incident and have her wish me a happy birthday. We laughed and laughed - as much for my fall as we did that somehow, in a foreign country, even a trip to Wal-mart can be a memorable time.

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