Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Yesterday evening I did something rather daft. I was hurrying back from our local shops with a couple of bottles of Becks and a can of Heineken to catch the Champions League matches on telly when I slipped and fell down the steps to our flat.

(We live in a semi-basement flat. You have to go down steps to the front door but the back door leads out onto the garden without steps if you see what I mean.)

Just before I fell down the steps I glanced at the window of the house next door. This house is squatted and there are often weird (and scary) things happening. There is usually a dark blue sheet up over the window but, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the sheet had gone and someone was staring out at me. It's hard to say if this made me lose my footing or if I just slipped but the perception and the fall went together in my mind...I say perception because when I checked later the sheet was in place as usual. There was no face at the window...Or maybe there was when I fell but wasn't later. I wish I knew becasue it would answer an interesting question for me - did I see a face or not? And what is the difference between thinking I saw the face and falling down stairs and seeing a face and falling down stairs.

I managed to smash one of the bottles of beer and cut my finger on it. I also managed to slash open the can of beer with the broken bottle. And break my fall by landing on my elbow. Luckily it was cold and raining a bit so I had plenty of clothes on - otherwise I think there is a good chance I would have broken the elbow. Obviously I was covered in beer! Weirdly I also felt quite shocked. I had to ask Mary to check my bum and legs in case I had cut myself open but just couldn't feel it...

The incident made me feel quite vulnerable. I could have hit my head. Suddenly I understood the careful way that old people manoever down steps. You can't think of the world as a series of "what ifs" or you would become too scared ever to go out. In one of the Raymond Carver stories we just read for bookgroup (called The bath) there is the following - terrifying - sentence.

"At an intersection, without looking, the birthday boy stepped off the curb, and was promptly knocked down by a car."

Just like that. AAAARRRGGHH!!!!!

All in all not my finest hour. The football was worth watching though. Arsenal gave the world a lesson in how the game should be played. To make a team like Milan look so second-rate on their own patch is a pretty great achievement.

BTW before my mum phones or anything I am totally fine. Just a sore elbow. The cut turned out to be minute though it did bleed dramatically!


  1. Sure does sound painful. The face in the window will remain a mystery no doubt. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. A Jungian would say that there's no difference between seeing a face and thinking you saw a face ... the question she or he would ask you is what does that face mean to you? (Which of course leaves you right back where you started and is the reason for the joke about analysts and why they're so rich ... .)

    I hope all bruises and cuts heal soon.