I was recently stunned to find myself speaking with someone who uttered the phrase, "I've never actually fallen down the stairs."
I mean, I suppose that I knew that such people existed, but I didn't think I would ever MEET any of them.
I am an old pro at falling down stairs (and, on occasion, up them). If falling down stairs was an Olympic sport? I would have gold medals. Many, many of them. Schoolchildren across the land would know my name. There would be books written about me. I'm sure I would have been on both Oprah AND Larry King. And possibly the Today Show, where Matt Lauer would have realized that he just couldn't live without my sparkling wit and frequenltly bruised shins.
But alas, falling down stairs is NOT an Olympic event.
It's just something I do. A lot.
You may be asking yourself, "How many times could one person actually take a header down a flight of stairs?" I don't actually know the answer to that question. I used to keep track, but after reaching about, oh I don't know, 25 times, it was just embarassing and nonsensical to keep counting.
It also occured to me that perhaps keeping track of my mishaps was part of the problem. Maybe, I thought, I should stop focusing on the part where I launched through the air and landed in a heap on the ground. Maybe instead I should give myself little pep talks. Something like "Look! Halfway down and we're still on our feet! This is amazing!"
Except that even with the MINDFUL walking, my affirmations often sounded more like this: "Look! Halfway down and we're still --- aaarrrghhh YAAAAAAAAARP OOOOOOOF" thud.
It's a problem.
It's a problem because I can't AVOID stairs. I live on the second floor of a elevator-less building. There are stairs in my mom's house. There are stairs in many of my favorite places. (Museums. Aquariums. Shopping places that I enjoy. Amusement parks.) Sometimes, the stairs ARE my favorite place. (Hello, Musical Stairs at the Boston Museum of Science! You're STAIRS! But I heart you! At least if I fall down YOU, it will sound cool!)
It's also a problem because -- well, because I have an overactive imagination and I've decided that the stairs are out to get me. It's not that I'm clumsy, graceless, and inattentive. OH NO. It's a stair conspiracy. And, unlike clowns, which are RIDICULOUSLY frightening and possibly more lethal than zombies (don't let the makeup fool you, kids), you can't tell someone that you're afraid of stairs because it sounds stupid. Stairs look innocent. They're not actively trying to eat your brains (like zombies) or juggle their way into your good graces so that they can kill you, skin you, and bury you in their backyards (like clowns). They're just hanging out in an architectural way. Looking like an efficient means of travel between floors. "Oh, you need me to go downstairs and get that book for you? No problem. I'll take the stairs."
And the next thing you know ...
Bam. You're on the floor and the stairs have viciously struck again.
That could TOTALLY be it.
Or, you know, I could just pay more attention to what I'm doing. There's that.