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Falling Hard

By Alison Henry

Posted: Monday, Apr. 27, 2009

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Photo by LGray Photography

In "Miles From the Aisle," former CB editor Alison Henry takes you on an irreverent trip down the often rocky road of relationships. She can be reached at alisonghenry@gmail.com.

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When I signed off from my previous post, firmly staking claim to the endless possibilities of singledom, I never expected to be writing the follow-up from my bed. But that is exactly where you’ll find me this Sunday, and where I have been for the past week.

What literally landed me in this mess was the purchase of a skateboard – a 38-inch longboard, to be exact, with wide-set wheels and a flexible deck that flowed with my every move. Now, you – much like the majority of my friends, family members and every nurse in the ER – may be wondering what in the world I was doing on a skateboard in the first place. “You’re too old!” they said. “Who do you think you are? Tony Hawk?” Nice.

The truth is, I’ve been wanting to learn to skateboard my entire life. One of my many regrets about my childhood is that Mom and Dad didn’t send me out the door fully-padded, board-in-hand around age 3. So I decided to embrace my belief that you’re never too old to do what you want to do, but seem to have disregarded that age brings with it a different set of consequences (such as reconstructive elbow surgery and having your roommate’s mother help you take a shower. But I digress.)

I bought said longboard at the end of an empowering week that included a newfound love of yoga and pilates, a stack of newly purchased reads from one of the area’s 19 Borders bookstores, and a brilliant Saturday afternoon Uptown dusting the cobwebs off my digital SLR. Energized by an entire week of exploring my hobbies, I thought I’d use the extra cash burning a hole in my bank account to invest in a new one. I had gotten on a skateboard a few times before – and even managed not to kill myself – so I, along with my inflated confidence, sought out some skate shops.

What should have been a quick purchase turned into a two-hour pursuit of the perfect board, which really just adds to the ridiculousness of the situation, given my clearly novice status. I finally settled on one and was almost late to dinner with some new girlfriends. They were shocked by my purchase, but excited for me to get out and use it the next day. Had I known this would be my last evening in the foreseeable future that I would be dining with both my right and left hand, I probably would have savored the moment – and my pizza – a bit longer.

I awoke to a dreary Sunday, and disappointingly ran some errands. I threw my board in the trunk of my car, hoping the rain would pass just long enough to get in a quick practice session on my way home from the grocery store. The skies cleared, and I headed to an office park up the street, where I weaved between streetlights with ease and dodged security cameras while cursing “The Man.”

Impressed with my new “abilities” and prematurely convinced I’d found a new calling in life, I decided I was ready to try the small hill on my street. Like all instances of foreboding doom, I had an eerie sense that every trip down the hill would be my last. But with each successful pass, the voices of reason were quieted to a low murmur by the 15-year-old thrill seeker that apparently lives inside my head.

On my third attempt, I placed the board at an even higher spot on the hill than my previous two runs. (If the neighborhood kids could go whizzing past me on their razor scooters, then surely I could handle this, right?) I put my left foot on the board, and as soon as my back foot followed, I knew. Three seconds and one very loud CRACK later, I was lying face-down in the street, board violently tumbling somewhere below me, shoes scattered somewhere above me, with my left arm bent oh-so-unnaturally under my body.

Two actual (read: not disillusioned) adults heard my screams, and five hours in the ER, one surgery, a few handfuls of Percocet, and one slightly bruised ego later, I can honestly say this is NOT how I intended to spend week one of my newly-claimed single life.

While learning how to straighten my hair with one hand and having people cut my food for me isn’t exactly how I planned on getting to know myself better, it sure is humbling. I am, however, optimistic, as I know all things – whether emotions after a breakup or broken bones – heal with time. And absolutely nothing will shake my belief that everything happens for a reason.

Who knows? Maybe now I’ll be better prepared to take care of someone else when they need me. Maybe this is all a lesson in how to laugh at yourself, especially when others are laughing at – I mean “with” – you too. Or maybe this is all just a sign that I should stick to writing and leave skateboarding to the pros.

Alison's blog will be continued on Monday, May 11.

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