one day, when i was in preschool or kindergarten, i came home from school in intense pain. it was right around my hip, and it started during recess, right around the time we sang “you put your right foot in…” i came home and told my grandmother i had broken my leg. i hobbled, i cried, i wailed… i earned a trip to the hospital. in the end, it was a pulled muscle, but any observer would have thought i’d fractured my femur in seventeen places.
since i was a clumsy child, at almost every calamity after this i was met with oh-so-sympathetic utterances from my parents – things like, “oh, poor hokey pokey!” or, “did you pull a muscle, hokey pokey?”
today, hokey pokey struck again.
i was visiting the international market near my house for the first time. i was caught up in the moment of a new experience. i was surrounded by korean pears and melons. i was scooping baby bok choy into my cart. i was… i was… on the ground. in an instant, i stepped in what must have been a drop of water, my foot slid out from under me, and i dropped to my right knee. not in a “marry me” kind of way, either. i bit it. hard. i stood up almost immediately, but i felt the blood drain from my face, and then i broke into a cold sweat. then i was dizzy. and queasy, no, dizzy, no, queasy, no, thirsty. i didn’t think i would ever walk away from that spot, my back to the papayas and my little basket of bok choy at my feet.
well, all episodes of shock must come to an end, so i did walk away. after finishing my tour of the international market (potato noodles! eighty-pound bags of rice! red bean popsicles! coconut cookies! snacks of dried seaweed!), my friend dropped me off so that the knee-icing could begin. at the moment i tried to close my door, two jehovah’s witnesses came up the driveway. apparently, their saturday morning wasn’t spent as blissfully as mine, because at 10:15 am, they were trying to engage me in a dialogue about terrorism and the return of jesus and would i like their brochures? maybe it was the pain talking, but i answered honestly. i told the man to save his literature because i would take it straight to the trash if he handed it to me (no offense, i said, i just know what i believe already and it’s not that). then he proceeded to chide me for ignorance. yes. he called me ignorant on my own doorstep. he did eventually depart, thanking me for my hospitality. because, you know, it’s hospitable to glare people down when they’re on your doorstep because ok look sir i don’t want to cut you off or be disrespectful but i already believe in jesus but not the way you do and i’m not going to get into this with you right now and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY I JUST SHATTERED MY KNEECAP.
so i finally iced my knee. and chowed down about 900mg of ibuprofen. and ate baby bok choy and dried seaweed and coconut cookies. and i watched so many TV movies that i need to go back to college to regain my intelligence.
happy saturday, hokey pokey.