Monday, March 26, 2012

Falling off the bike is Step One.

When you type the words "Epic Fail" into Google Image Search, you get literally thousands of images, ranging from people falling after drinking excessively, to groups of enthusiastic drivers running into each other or over pedestrians with various motorized vehicles, to panoramic photos of large bosomed women sporting an embarassing array of poorly placed tattoos, to videos of men modeling spectacularly inappropriate fashion choices, and perhaps most discouraging, to newly declassified government documents. I do, however, have to admit to a fondness for the epic fail of a "derp dog."

But I chose this image because of its simplicity and fundamental truth. No matter how well you plan, organize, or clearly outline your territory, the universe declares that there will be something to land on it and poop. It may be the Bluebird of Happiness, it may be the Robin Redbreast of a new spring, or, in my case, the Seagull of Vertigo knocking me off your wheels and landing me repeatedly on my own fat patootie.

The road bike known as Red Dragon sits patiently in the basement next to the other bikes, knowing full well it will be at least another year before I am even close to imagining the possibility of remaining upright on it.

I have been to neurologists, physical therapists, otolaryngologists, and countless medical websites in order to figure out what is going on. Is it medically possible for an otherwise healthy person to be so exquisitely ill coordinated?

Apparently, it is. I even had my tonsils removed this year, my sinuses surgically excised and reshaped and my turbinates (those weird little spirals of cartilage inside your nostrils) altered. Probably the most painful experience of my mortal life up to this point. The ENTs call it "the full meal deal." I called it "reasons to wish for death."

And still, I can't look to my imaginative upper left hand corner without my head spinning, so the bike remains in the basement, and the seagull stands contentedly on the "no seagulls" sign.

Things rarely happen as they should, even with appropriate planning and signage.

Which brings me to the realization that I had to fall off the bike enough times to realize that "Training Wheels" was never really about biking. Training Wheels is just the metaphor for those journeys in life that I do accomplish not very gracefully, or at least not with great confidence. I am definitely moving along with all the rest of my peers along the road of spiritual growth, mental maturity, emotional breadth and depth, and physical -- well, let's just put that one on the back burner of commentary for now. But unlike those who so beautifully glide into The Shining Realization Of Their Purpose In Life, I am toodling in concentric circles on my training wheels, slowly wobbling, breathing fast and hard, bobbing and swerving my way into middle age, frightened, graceless, glacially slow, and oddly triumphant.

I hope you will join me on the journey. It won't be elegant, but my guess is, it will be entertaining, with a fall or two to keep it truly interesting. Plop.


  1. Ahem. Karen, you are NOT merely toodling along the road to mental maturity, emotional depth, etc. You leave a Shining Path for others to follow, you're so far along already! But you're right--it's entertaining, too!

  2. I'm so glad you're blogging again! I love your writing! And I second Debbie. You may not feel you have found your purpose in life, but those of us around you are blessed, moved and delighted by your prodigious talents and mahvelous sense of humor on a regular basis.

  3. Yes, Karen, I agree with Debbie, and I would add inspiring and inspirational. I look forward to more.

  4. So many stellar thoughts and eloquent phrases that portray the condition of life--mine, too.

  5. Thanks, folks! Your encouragement is a gift!