I started this post a couple days ago, but it has become obvious to me that the topic is still bubbling in my thoughts, so I’ve decided to break it up into multiple posts. Here’s the set-up: 😉
The Precipitating Event
“Would you like help out with that?” the hardware store cashier asked me, eyeing my precariously balanced cart. “No, thanks. I think I can get it,” I said. The cashier shrugged and turned to the next customer.
Throwing my weight behind the effort, I pushed my cart through the exit doors. I had two long, heavy boxes stretched across the top of my cart, each containing all the parts for a five-shelf bookcase 71″ tall by 25″ wide. The boxes didn’t list a weight, but I had had all I could do to lift one and then the other from the store shelf to the top of my wiggly cart. Help wasn’t offered then, or even in view. I didn’t have the right kind of cart, either, for these long, heavy items, but I made do.
My heart sank when I realized I was parked on the far side of the parking lot from the exit door, but taking a deep breath, I tried to aim the cart in the right direction. The trouble started as soon as the cart wheels left the smooth, level sidewalk in front of the store and reached the sloping pavement of the parking lot. My boxes began to slide. I pushed faster, hoping to outrun disaster. My van was within clicking distance when one box reached the tipping point.
Seeing the inevitable begin, I ran around the front of the cart, hoping to, what? Catch it? I caught it alright–the entire box landed squarely on the big toe of my right foot, and then finished the dive to the pavement. Pain nearly blinded me, but then fueled anger and embarrassment as I maneuvered the better-behaved box into my trunk first. Seeing me wrestling the second box from the ground, a man pushing his own purchases came to help me hoist it in alongside the first. I thanked him, red-faced, and limped through the rest of my errands.
By the time I got home, my toe was throbbing with every heartbeat, and I wondered what kind of mangled mess I might ease out of my tennis shoe. Nothing bloody, but my toe was the embodiment of the old-fashioned cartoon thumb that has been hit with a hammer: swollen, red, throbbing–oh, so very painful for DAYS after the event.
The entire toenail has now turned the most incredible shade of blue, while the rest of the big toe showcases purple and scarlet, soon to mute into the older shades of green and yellow, I’m sure. I’ll spare you the gory photographic proof, but it is a thing to behold, with the nail all raised up from the bruising underneath. It is an effort to wear anything more substantial than flip-flops.
With every glance at my cartoon toe, every little twinge of discomfort, I remember: I didn’t have to try to load that heavy box myself. I had a very polite offer of help–why did I refuse it?
My distorted, faulty sense of independence has gotten me into trouble before, but I’m convinced I’m not the only one with this condition. Stay tuned as I explore this a little closer!