In movies and books, clumsiness is always portrayed as a sweet, funny flaw. Oftentimes it’s downright charming. That’s because the writers have never had to live with clumsy people.
I’m not an exceptionally graceful person, but I possess average dexterity and mobility. My husband and daughter, however, are basically disabled. They don’t walk so much as they fling their bodies from room to room, never looking at what is in front of them, never changing their pace or regulating their limbs.
Their lack of propreoception is only matched by their lack of clutching ability. There is no object that remains in their hands for long, no glass that remains unshattered, no drink that remains unspilled as they fling their arms and legs around with wild abandon.
And, should an object of theirs remain miraculously intact, it will surely be lost within the hour, and I am constantly being recruited to locate lost shoes, toys, wallets, keys, pants and stuffed animals. They have a startling unawareness of their surroundings and the objects that fill them. It’s like living with blind people who are completely unaware that they’re blind.
At least twelve times a day (not an exaggeration) I’m called upon to minister to various injuries as they bump their heads, fall and bruise their legs, twist their ankles and generally fuck up their bodies in all ways imaginable. Every time we go to the gym, my husband leaves with a limp. Every time my child plays with a balloon, it ends in tears. They cut themselves on water bottles. They injure themselves with sand.
I’m sure I look like a monster as I ignore my child slipping and sliding and falling all over the grocery store, but people don’t understand, she does this all day. If I stopped whatever I was doing every time she fell, I would do nothing else with my life.
Our freezer is full of ice packs. Our medicine cabinet is full of neosporin and bandaids. I am amazed that my family has all their digits intact, because they don’t deserve them. They treat their appendages as if they were indestructible robot parts. They are heedless. They are reckless. They are utterly unconcerned with even the most basic forms of self-preservation.
If I die, someone, please, check on them.