Last week Mother Nature dumped about ten inches of snow on New York City. From my hotel window, I saw that few people were walking or driving. I turned on the news and the newscaster said that the blizzard conditions were deadly because a doorman had slipped while shoveling and had fallen through a window and died. They were warning people to stay off the streets. Though I was in New York to see my daughter, J, the news report made me think about falling on the ice, and I was apprehensive about leaving the hotel. I had already fallen twice in New York, and wine was not involved.
The first time, I was walking on a pretty day with J, and I tripped over a sidewalk crack and I was down on all fours. Ok, I really tripped over my own feet.
J had said, “Mother, get up before someone falls over you and hurts themselves, you’re fine.” Though I was shaken, I got up like nothing had happened.
The second time I had fallen, I was wearing boots with little tread and it was snowing. I was sliding all over the sidewalk like I was on greased ice. I resembled a three-year old that had never ice skated before, and I grasped my husband’s arm like it was the wall that child clung to as he encircled the ice rink.
When I almost pulled my husband down he said, “What’s wrong? No one else that is walking is acting like you. Let me see the bottom of your boots.”
I lifted my smooth-bottomed Ugg. He said, “We’re buying you boots.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get those boots fast enough, because within minutes, I slipped and fell on my back. Since I had already made a scene, my friends laughed because they thought that I fell on purpose. Did they really think that I would lie on the dirty New York street in my dress coat just to entertain them?
I was thinking about these previous trips, when J called and said that it was just slush and she insisted we go out. She is determined that I am not acting old no matter what, and she digs me out of my comfort zone.
She said, “My eighty-year-old superintendent is out shoveling snow, so if he can go out, you can too.”
J had come to get me, and I stepped outside and tentatively took a few steps on the sidewalk to determine if it was slippery.
“Mom, if you walk like that, it looks like you are trying to fall, so can you just walk like everyone else?”
I walked but watched the road for ice. J was ahead and she casually glanced back ensuring that I wasn’t sprawled on the ground. As we walked to J’s apartment, I told her that I was not relishing ascending the steps to her sixth-floor apartment, actually twelve-half flights, but who’s counting unless you are gasping for breath.
J said, ” There are 80 year olds that live up there, and they take the steps everyday and carry groceries, it just takes them a little longer. If they can do it, so can you.”
After visiting her apartment, we walked her neighborhood. I was glad that we had this time together and when I left, I thought about those snow-shoveling-eighty-year-olds. I know that I will live a fuller life if I listen to J, but I hope that she doesn’t kill me in the process.