Warning - This post is vintage Jen. The Exuberantly Verbose Version. If you are not a fan of the odd long post stop reading now. By the way, WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING READING THIS BLOG??!!??
I have a client. He is an elderly man who doesn’t appear to enjoy the best health and often wheezes his way through our meetings. When I ring to talk to him and ask how he’s doing, he invariably answers, “I’m not dead yet, young lady,” in the beautifully lyrical remnants of the Italian accent of his youth.
It’s a bit disconcerting until you realise he’s joking and has probably used that same response for the last 50 years. I mean, it sounds as though his laboured breathing might stop in the near foreseeable, but obviously he’s not expecting it any time soon.
Today it so happens that I’m a bit closer to the end of my life than I am to the beginning.
Yes, I know that’s true for everyday, but it so happens that the odometer clicks over another year as of about 6pm this evening. And according to my Dad, I’m now middle aged. Yep. If I’m headed for three-score years and ten, I’m half-way. Thanks, Dad.
So I was very heartened to find out that I still have youth and vitality.
How did I find out that I still have youth and vitality, you ask?
Well… (and this is where it gets long)
Sometimes I have to go down to my Beloved’s business to mind the phones and the counter because both of the boys have to be out doing installations or quotes and someone needs to “shed-sit”. I take my work down and mind the phone for a few hours.
Today the phone rang and it was someone who is getting work done by the business in the shed next door. They are closed for a few days, but I know that the two businesses help each other out often (sometimes they mind the phone when our boys are out, for example), so I was happy to do what I could to help.
It was quite simple. It involved going and getting the VIN off a trailer for some paperwork the new owners are filling out and needs to be finalised as soon as possible.
Not so much.
You see, between the trailer and where I was standing is a six foot high chain mesh fence. The gate was padlocked.
Now, neither of the boys would have had any difficulty in scaling the fence, reading the VIN, and letting the lady know.
I, on the other hand, am a klutz. A ten-tonne weakling who has no gross motor coordination. At all. Whatsoever.
And I’ve never made a habit of scaling fences. I’ve always been a law abiding citizen who avoids breaking into industrial premises. Or any premises at all, really.
But, I am also a bit of a people pleaser, so of course I will give it a go.
I put the phone down between the gates and used the hinges as a toe hold to get started. Only one toe slip on the way up. Fortunately the panel beside the gate had a top-rail, and I swung my leg over just like riding a horse (except backwards – wrong leg) onto the cross brace that was cleverly placed on the far side for just such a situation.
I was very proud of myself for getting there, and it was easy getting down because I simply shuffled down the cross-brace until it was low enough to jump.
I picked up the phone and read off the necessary number (thankfully the trailer was not locked), then farewelled the lady and headed back to the fence. One issue remained - now that I was in the back yard I had to get out.
Actually, it was a bit easier to get up from this side. My friendly cross-brace allowed me to get up on the top of the fence with ease. The only problem was that the top hinge had a padlock chain around it, and securing a toe hold on the other side was not easy. It was also an awfully long way from the ground and the bottom hinge was not going to be easy to seek by feel.
So I drew on my horse riding past to remember that I’ve jumped off heights two footed many times in the past when I was much shorter than I am now, therefore possibly the equivalent of the fence to the ground compared to my size now.
Or so I hoped.
I got my toe hold, swung my leg back across, rested a little on my tum and then swung both legs out together and jumped.
Perfect two-footed landing. Unfortunately it is now about 10 years since I last rode a horse and I was a little unprepared for the momentum a woman’s body can accumulate during the process of dropping.
The recesses of my brain seem to be saying that the rate of acceleration is 9.8 seconds per second, but firstly I’m not certain that my brain would accurately remember Maths II from more than 15 years ago, and secondly I can’t remember what I should do with that fact once I’ve ascertained the accuracy of it.
Nevermind – whatever the mathematical reasons for it, my legs couldn’t hold my weight at that speed and so I fell back onto my bottom and rolled over onto my back in a surprisingly restrained, loose but controlled way. I used to do much the same thing when I achieved an ‘accidental dismount’ from a horse.
Unfortunately, another reminder of my horse riding days is that there is inevitably a prickle patch wherever you happen to end up coming off.
I was wearing a thin cotton top (which has no protection from prickles at all) and suede pants (which are not the easiest things to get prickles out of).
But dodgy landing aside, I was incredibly proud of myself. I still have it. I am strong. I am not ancient and incapable. I can do ANYTHING! (insert loud, triumphant music here)
This story could have finished here, except that there was one other thing.
One other thing that makes the whole rigmarole hilarious.
One other thing that makes it so that it could only happen to me.
My Beloved came back and I told him the story and how proud of myself I was. He looked at me oddly before telling me the truth.
You see, the land with his and the other businesses on it and the land belonging to the shop next door are part of the same property, despite the fence between them. The backyard area where the trailer is sitting is common to both.
And whilst the gate from this side to the back yard is locked because the neighbours are not open today, the gate from the shop next door is not.
The chance that it occurred to me to walk out to the street, then down the neighbour’s fence and into the back yard through their gate?
… Approximately None
(But would I have felt as ALIVE!?!)
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