It sounds like the beginning of a joke, I know. But what it is, in fact, is the pathetic tale of the damage I did to myself while in Newport News, Virginia this weekend. This is a dangerous tale to tell, so before I proceed, I should warn you: make sure you have no food in your mouth. Make sure you aren’t drinking anything that you may spit all over your computer/iPhone/iPad/Blackberry/Droid screen. And when you laugh, be kind, this could have been you.
So I had just woken up from a short nap after a day of walking the streets of Yorktown, VA. Kelly and Zach had gone down to the hotel swimming pool and I thought I’d join them. I got into my swimsuit, and headed downstairs. The pool at the Residence Inn was an indoor pool. I followed the signs down the hallway until a saw a sign pointing left toward the pool. Sure enough, there was an adjoining hallway that led to the pool room. At least, it looked like an adjoining hallway.
When I am walking by myself, I don’t dawdle. I walk briskly. I turned that corner at full speed and looked down the far end of the hallway toward the pool when all off the sudden, my entire body came to a shattering stop. I went nose-first into a virtually invisible glass door.
Detour: this isn’t the first time I’ve damaged my nose in some embarrassing manner. I broke it once before. It was just after I moved from Warwick, Rhode Island to Los Angeles, California. I was in 6th grade, and I had yet to make a new friend. My world had been turned upside down. Instead of the kids going around calling everything wicked-cool and wicked-decent and wicked-awesome, everyone was saying “rad”. What the hell was “rad?” (And I admit, I thought they were saying “rag”.) Well, there were some kids playing soccer and they were doing this wicked-awesome rad stunt whereby they leapt into the air, kicked the soccer ball over their shoulder–essentially behind them–and landed gracefully on their backs. So I thought I’d give it a try. I was wearing steal-toed boots at the time and I imagined that would add to the force with which I would send the ball into the net. I was right about the force. If only my aim were true. I sent that soccer ball right back into my face, my nose made an audible crack and I lay there stunned on the ground. So much so that by the time my sense came back, days had passed and whatever damage had been done to my nose was now permanent and not worth reporting. The humiliation was painful enough.
When I hit that glass, my nose made an audible crack and my whole body shuddered. I bounced off the glass and back into the intersecting hallway, grasping at my nose in pain. (The pain actually radiated into my cheekbones.) But the very first thing I did was look around to see if anyone saw what I’d done. I even looked to see if there was a closed circuit camera in the vicinity. There was no one around to laugh at me except the door and I swear I heard that glass door snicker.
When I got to the pool, still stunned, Kelly could tell almost instantly that all was not well in Denmark. (My nose is nicknamed Denmark.) For one thing, it was bleeding. For another, it had already swelled up.
48 hours later, it’s not as bad as it first seemed. I doubt I broke it a second time. It hurts a little when I sneeze or rub my eyes, but I think it looks like it is healing. So perhaps it is a case of an injured pride more than anything else. I just keep picturing myself flying around that corner and–BLAM! If I had seen someone else do that, I would have been on the floor, helpless with laughter. Holding a gun to my head would have been no use. I still would have laughed.
We look for excuses. In hotels, people are always cleaning things. That had to be some of the cleanest glass ever touched by Windex and a dust rag. It was invisible. One might argue that perhaps it should have been marked in some way to indicate that it was in face, a glass door. I suppose the hotel management, if questioned on the matter, would say that the door handle was probably the giveaway.
I’ve never been particularly observant of what is going on around me and this just proves that, I suppose. Still, how that glass didn’t manage to shatter around me or at the very least, crack slightly in acknowledgement of my meteoric impact somehow surprises me. I imagine if I had gently lobbed a baseball at the glass, it would have shattered instantly. But run into it top speed with the entire weight of my body concentrated at the tip of my nose–and nothing.
I’m reminded for some reason of that old Fruit Loops commercial slogan, “Follow your nose…”
Take heed. This could one day happen to you too.