Back in 2006, DreamWorks released “Flushed Away”, an animated movie about the adventures of a pampered society mouse who gets flushed down the toilet into the sewers of London. In that movie, there was a scene involving two slugs in the sewers, running for their lives to escape impending danger. (I use the term “running” very loosely here). At first, the slugs are seen to be crawling at great speed, but when the camera pans out, the audience sees that the slugs have barely moved an inch. I remember laughing when I saw it back then. (Again, I use the phrase “camera pans out” very loosely here, given that it is an animated movie).
Nowadays, I feel like those slugs. I limp and hobble my way around, and it takes forever to get anywhere. Limp, hobble, limp limp, hobble hobble. I take so many steps and yet I’m nowhere near my destination. Walking from the house to the tram stop used to take just three minutes, but now it takes anywhere between ten to twenty minutes, depending on weather conditions. I used to be able to have lunch in town, run errands and sneak in a bit of window shopping within a few hours, but these days I just hobble from the tram stop to where I need to go, and call it a day. It’s frustrating because I enjoy walking in town or along the fields in the neighbourhood. I enjoy walking because it clears my mind. I get to mull over certain ideas while enjoying the scenery, or just lose myself in an audiobook. On weekend mornings we would forego the tram and just walk into town for breakfast, enjoying the fresh air and building up an appetite along the way.
I can’t wait to be able to do that again. In the meantime, I shall just hobble my way through the streets of Basel.
So when I’m walking, I feel like those slugs in Flushed Away, but when I’m standing, I feel like a flamingo. Not because I’m pink and feathery and on the opening sequence of Miami Vice, but because I effectively stand on one leg, with the other leg bent. I can actually put weight on my left leg, but it can’t be straightened and is stuck at an awkward angle, so if I wanted to stand on both legs, I would have to do some form of unattractive and weird semi-squat. It’s more tiring than standing on one leg, it takes off several inches from my already non-existent height, and it’s just plain weird.
So I do things around the house on one leg, like a flamingo. I brush my teeth on one leg. I wash the dishes on one leg. I cook on one leg. I vacuum the house like a pirate flamingo with a wooden peg. Thank heavens I can sit on a chair like a human being, so reading the news, checking my email, studying, and writing are all activities performed like anyone else. Phew.
I don’t use my crutches anymore (unless it’s snowing or the streets are icy and slippery), but I still wear a knee brace when I’m out of the house. I don’t know whether it’s my limping, or the knee brace, or the combination of the two – but kids stare at me endlessly. They stare at me as I hobble past, and they stare at me when I’m sitting in the tram. I find this amusing – mainly because I have no idea what compels them to stare at me so intently. Is it out of fear – am I the physical manifestation of what their parents caution them about when they jump on the bed? Or is it out of curiosity – have they never met a person with a bad leg? Why, they must probably think to themselves, is this strange woman not walking properly? What is wrong with her?
Maybe next time I’ll pull my hood over my head, walk with an exaggerated hunch, and beckon the staring kids into my gingerbread house. *cackle*
Joking, guys. I’d never do that.
Because everyone knows it’s more efficient to just leave a trail of breadcrumbs muahahahahahaha.