50 Shades of Stupid.

How was your Labor Day holiday? Did everyone manage to stay out of the Emergency Room? Or am I the only one?

This is a picture of me after I ruptured my quadricep tendon by going for a personal best in the local Labor Day Triathelon  running up the stairs at my uncle’s cabin in upstate New York.  So you can say that I’ve had better holidays.

That’s why I’m going to tell you a story I call:

I’m Hip. Really. No, Really.

Once upon a time, last week, when it was sunny and hot and lucious — the last week of Summer . . .

I was running  errands  in the village, and since I was going out in public I’d pulled on a brown skirt so I’d look presentable (after all, I know people in this town).  OK, the skirt had an elastic waistband, and I had my worst-looking pair of sneakers on, and I thought that my sunglasses were dark enough that I wouldn’t have to put make-up on, but really: I thought I was decent enough for my public appearance.

Being out and about means that I have to cross a very busy main street in this village, which always makes me fearful. I’ve learned that you should always assume that Long Island streets are full of Long Island traffic with Long Island drivers who are: (1) busy texting, reading, doing their nails, or in such a goddam hurry that they WILL mow you down (2) drunk.

So I practice defensive walking accordingly.

I waited at the light, and on the other side on the busy main street I noticed two teenage girls also waiting to cross.  They were heartbreakingly lovely:  long glossy hair, tall and tanned,  wearing short shorts and teeny tops and giggling about something to each other. The light changed and I began my “Don’t Kill Me I’m Only Trying To Cross The Street” scurry.

I have bad knees, arthritis from all that pogoing to punk bands and various bar fights back in my hey day, and when I scurry across a busy main street I do not lope gracefully. I scurry like the crippled, barnacled, terrified-of-dying pedestrian that I am.  Only this time, I was scurrying with the soles of my sneakers and my brown skirt flapping in the breeze.  I must have looked like a horseshoe crab in a tutu.

The teenage girls on the other side of the street had not immediately noticed that the light had changed and I was  half way across the street before the teenage girls deigned to set  foot in the crosswalk, and I met them a few paces into their leisurely stroll across the road.

I had not planned to say anything at all to these girls, but before I knew it this came out of my mouth:

You better hurry!” I barked at them; “Or you won’t get across the street before the light changes!

Of course they looked at me with utter incomprehension (and a little bit of fear — who was this crazy lady barking at them in the road???) while  not breaking their stride one bit, and continued their slow amble across the road. I, from the safety of the sidewalk, had to turn back to watch how serenly those girls g-l-i-d-e-d to the other side, safely, even after the light had turned red. And then I started to laugh.

How could I have forgotten??  That  two heartbreakingly lovely teenage girls in short shorts and teeny tops with gleaming hair and tanned skin KNOW, in every cell of their beings, they KNOW that they never have to hurry to cross a busy street because traffic will ALWAYS stop — for them.

How could I have forgotten the power that beautiful girls wield?  These girls will grow up to be the beautiful girl in your college English class who can’t write a sentence — she connects all her phrases with dashes — like this — for pages at a time — which your besotted professor will hail as “epigrammatic”  while Sharla (yes, that will be her name) tosses her frosted blonde hair in insincere modesty.  They will grow up to be the beautiful co-workers who are allowed to skip a day of work when they call in “tired” (oh yes, this is true),  and the beautiful wife who gets to tear out the gorgeous French Rustic kitchen in the  mansion her husband bought for her so she could put in a new French Rustic kitchen because (as one such wife complained to me) “The old one was eleven years old!”

I had to laugh.  The only people who have to worry about getting across a busy street in one piece in life are us people who only have good personalities.


And what I was thinking, wearing that brown skirt. It’s like I was just begging to get hit by a bus.

19 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan September 7, 2012 @ 2:50 am

    Oh I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. I am a recent convert to your blog, I came here via Paris Breakfast, tempted by the beautiful cats and watercolours. I do hope you will get your referral and will be up and sprinting soon. Loved the archive blog! Very best wishes for a speedy recovery. =^..^=

  2. Tracey September 7, 2012 @ 6:23 am

    Vivian, speaking as someone with a nice personality but no looks, I think that was a brilliant post. These days, I assume (hope?)that kind of woman will become a “Real Housewife” and lead a hellish public existence.

    Take my advice – accidentally fall, recheck yourself back into a good LI hospital emergency room because you are afraid that you have worsened the rupture (and are in agonizing pain – demand painkillers), get readmitted, and then you will finally get the needed referral. You may need to spend Saturday in the emergency room, but I think we are supposed to have more rain. It will be worth it.

    Good luck. I hope the cats are providing support in your time of need.

  3. Monique September 7, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    Oh..take care..
    never pleasant to find out we are not invincible..
    Humbling..and not fun at all.
    Take care ..REST.

    I watched 2 young girls ..late teens….in jean jackets..and tan shorts and gleaming hair walk down the street for their bus, I guess at about 7.20 this AM..and thought: So beautiful..so young:)

    Just this morning I kid you not.
    It’s so true what you say about beauty.

    And so wrong.

  4. Mary September 7, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    This was my personal favorite from 20–(?).
    I read it out loud to my friend Dorothy, who went out and bought 6 Books of WWCTR.

    Put the phone on your lap and call every 15 minutes. Like a Long Island housewife who always gets her way.

    Go over to the Doctor’s office and show them pictures of your cats. ( Don’t wear the brown skirt). They’ll melt.

  5. Vicki in Michigan September 7, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    Ah, but those girls will end up embittered and sad, skin wrinkled from sun damage and nicotine poisoning, after their hubbies abandon them for younger models………

    Girl power is very potent, but very temporary.

    It’s critical, for lasting comfort and satisfaction with life to have other strengths to rely on. And most of those beautiful girls, drunk on their temporary dominance, don’t bother to develop any other qualities.

  6. Vicki in Michigan September 7, 2012 @ 8:33 am


    Go up the chain. If you can’t get a call-back from the doc, go to the head of orthopedics. If that doesn’t work, go to the head of the hospital. Call the marketing department of the hospital.

    I remember when my better half was on the school board. He learned that the first response from the school district was always “no,” because that was the least work for anyone. But if people persevered, dealing with their annoyingness became more trouble than doing what they wanted, so the answer became “yes,” a lot of the time…..

    Have you got an attorney? Perhaps if you have them call for you? (Thinking in veiled threats, here……)

  7. Carol September 7, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    Ouch! Vivian!! I hope by the time you have posted this, you have gotten a response! And I hope your recovery is VERY quick and you feel better than you did before. Is Penelope helping any at all? Probably not! These cats!! Pumpkin does send you immediate good wishes for your health!

  8. parisbreakfast September 7, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    I gotta say I’m still writing sentences with dashes in between – so I must be good looking no?
    The 911 call sounds like a good idea.
    Adorable firemen show up if the weather is bad – or they did when I got sciatica – but it was snowing…ahem.
    I so wish I had something much better to suggest…hmmm.

  9. Deborah September 7, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    Well, you should just be glad you live in the U.S., where you never have to wait for medical treatment, like they do in Canada!

    But seriously, sorry to hear of such a painful injury, and the continuing insult of dealing with bureaucratic idiots! After years of living in a state that required referrals, it’s nice to be in a state (Indiana) that doesn’t. It took me several years to realize I don’t have to ask for permission to see a specialist.

    My husband also injured his knee, although not nearly as badly, just walking down the stairs.

    Wishing a speedy resolution for you!

  10. Margaret September 7, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    I do hope you are now getting the treatment you need and that you are feeling much better.
    When my grandchildren comment on my aging looks or elderly body, I tell them I look like this because I am old and that one day, if they are lucky enough to get to be old, they will look like this too. I can see in their eyes that they do not belive me, but it makes me feel better…!!

  11. Nadine September 7, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Time to name names and shame the PCP into action. Name your insurance provider, too.

    The American health insurance system has no incentive to actually provide CARE because that’s a expense and companies in America are all about maximizing profit. Never forget that the most important people in the American health insurance company are the CEO, followed by the Board of Directors, then the shareholders, then the executives, then the employees . . . and the premium paying customer is last. The system is rigged against the low man on the totem pole.

  12. Rachel September 7, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    Oh, rats. I am so sorry. It does sound like your PCP is on the case, but having problems from higher up. And the return to the ER does indeed sound like a good plan. Be sure to take lots to read. Meanwhile, holding you in healing light, for whatever good that will do.

  13. Jeannie September 8, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    Ouch!!! I hope the fire has charred someone’s behind and you are getting quality treatment. Your post made me laugh. I live in the laid back West and make up is for parties, not a run to the grocery. However, I see the young things in their little outfits and Priscilla Presely make up and notice how they can walk across the road, 10 feet from the crosswalk, and cars stop. It is like watching Moses parting the sea. I know that I, in my sneakers, baggy tee and jeans would be squished like the slow moving squirrel. Heal and feel better! Perhaps the champagne snow meter could be implemented as a healing barometer?

  14. janet bellusci September 8, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    sorry to hear of your accident.
    as your spine gets wonky because you’re favoring one leg, be sure to get MASSAGES every week, in addition to whatever PT they give you. the massages really help healing, and can help ease the stress on your spine. not to mention they feel REAL good! it helped me during my less than graceful period.

  15. Joan September 8, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    OH NO! What a bummer to have to spend the holiday in the ER…yes, I would whine, whine, whine…the squeaky wheel gets the grease. A new visit to the ER sounds good too. Tell them you tripped over your cat(s). Anything to get attention.

    Hope you’re better soon. The archived post was priceless.

  16. Eileen September 9, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    Eight years ago while walking to my bedroom in the dark, so as not to disturb anyone, I turned too soon and instead of going into the bedroom I stepped head first down fifteen stairs. I fractured my wrist and a bone in my neck. The pain medicine made me so sick that I did without it, and barely slept for three weeks. My philosopher son came to visit and help out and wanted to talk about my ordeal. “What have you learned from being in so much pain for so long?” he asked. I told him I learned that I hate being in pain. So much for enlightenment! Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your ordeal.

  17. Bobbi September 10, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    Oh la pauvre! I have a redhead named Mcculloch I can send over to wait on you. For you he will wear a kilt. Speedy recovery Madame!

  18. erica September 13, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    OH NO VIVIAN! I am so sorry to hear about your accident – what a debacle.
    If it makes you feel any better – I am just recovering from shingles AND on Tuesday I was diagnosed with severe arthritis in my ankle. I am looking at my 3rd surgery in 3 years. Keep your head up and smiling – orthopedic injuries can be tough so a sense of humor is really, really important. It WILL help your healing. And, if things get bad, reach for a Motrin Cocktail. Motrin chased by a vodka and cranberry. I would send you a big tray of lasagna if I could!!!! Lasagna (and wine), for everyone!

  19. Gitana September 13, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    Maybe we, your many fans, should start sending e-mails and/or making phone calls! I liked Tracey’s idea. Indeed, having worked in healthcare I have agree that’ll get their attention. Anything that might seem like negligence their their part (read: possible lawsuit) will get their attention. And, yes good PT and massages are essential for recovery. (Take it from someone who didn’t and is still paying for it.)

    Bonne chance with your Kafkaesque experience.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *