Last Wednesday, I came a bit closer to dying a daft death than was comfortable.
Because her car’s off the road, I dropped my wife off at the Art class that she teaches in Didsbury. I had an hour to kill, so thought I’d go for a little stroll, buy a paper, have a coffee and then go and pick her up.
I ambled down the main street in Didsbury, stopped off in the newsagents and then carried on walking. It was a sunny afternoon and time was on my side so I wanted to select my brew location carefully. Not too empty, but not too full (of prams or loud people). When I came to the end of the row of shops, I was daydreaming a bit and didn’t notice that the kerb dropped away. I stepped into three inches of space and went down like a sack of spuds.
Before I knew it, I was performing a primary-school-level forward roll into a busy road. It was my good fortune that I didn’t time my Luis Suarez dive at the same moment that a bus was passing, as I’d have been simply flattened, the bus driver would have been traumatised and one or two people on the bus would have took their Ipod earplugs out and said,
“Ooh, what was that?”
I quickly jumped up and experienced a quick snapshot of reaction to my tumble. As I got out of the puddle that I’d fallen into, a lad walking past gave me a quick glance and clearly thought,
“Uh-oh, pisscan alert!!”
He studiously avoided eye contact and kept walking.
Two old blokes in a van, waiting in traffic on the other side of the road were pointing at me and howling with laughter.
To be fair, I was in a bit of a state and must have looked a right nana. I fully defend their right to take the piss and would have joined in, had I not just had a brief flirtation with the Grim Reaper.
Another guy came out of a restaurant, concern etched deep in his face.
“Are you alright, mate?”
I gave the standard British Male response to his enquiry, despite all evidence to the contrary.
“I’m absolutely fine, thanks.”
I picked my newspaper up out of a puddle and threw it in the bin. Exposure to my own mortality hadn’t subsumed the skinflint in me, as I chucked it, thinking
“One pound twenty down the swanny!”
Through the power of Google Earth, I can show you the exact location of my mishap. It’s that bit between the two bollards and the lamp-post.
It’s hardly the Grand Canyon is it?
When I’d had time to think about it over a brew later, I cringed at the thought of my wife having to explain the circumstances of my downfall at my funeral.
With the embarrassment increasing slightly with each telling, she’d say to concerned relatives and friends, who were clearly trying not to laugh.
“Well… he fell off a kerb.”
“Oh! Was it a big kerb?”
“No, the problem was more with the bus than the kerb.”