This isn’t just a teacher thing, is it? At the end of the day today the principal made a PA announcement that, despite the custodians’ valiant efforts to stay ahead of the snow and cold, the parking lots and sidewalks around the school weren’t as ice-free as they wanted, and reminded everyone that we should be careful while walking to our buses, or our cars, or wherever else we might be walking at the end of the day. A few minutes later, as I was walking to my car, I started musing on how many days off from work I could plausibly take if I slipped and, say, broke a leg or something while on school property. By the time I got to my car the musing had evolved to the point where because I had written an (at the time, nonexistent) blog post describing precisely this scenario work had somehow found it and determined that I broke my leg on purpose, and I was wondering what the consequences of such a thing might be and whether those consequences might mean I got to stay home from work even more.

Back to the original question; this is a standard tired-of-being-at-work thing, right? “How can I hurt myself so I don’t have to come back here” wonderings aren’t just a teacher thing? It wasn’t even that bad of a day, honestly. I’d call it mediocre at worst. It’s just that this is where my brain goes when walking out of work.

And then I got home, parked, went to the mailbox, got the mail, and was greeted at the door by my wife, who asked me to take the trash out to the foot of the driveway, and a minute or two later I was ass over teakettle in the middle of my fucking driveway and yelling words that I typically do not yell at the top of my lungs while outside, and a minute or two after that said wife came running out, not having actually heard me, but having looked out the front window of our house and noticed me crumpled and not moving much with the trash can partially on top of me.

Nothing’s broken. I landed on my left leg and my left hip; I don’t actually remember how I fell, but I don’t think I hit my head and I don’t seem to have any significant bruising or scrapes or anything. I’m not limping when I walk, although my ankle, my toes, my knee and my hip all hurt. It could have been much worse; I had a shot glass in my right coat pocket (don’t ask) and landing on that would probably have been bad.

And, truth be told, my first thought upon regaining my feet and ascertaining that I wasn’t broken was I probably can’t reasonably take tomorrow off because of this, and I was disappointed, because when one makes a fool of oneself in public, one ought to get something out of it other than pain and humiliation.

The chair again, and a question

I admit it: I’m kind of achy. This chair has so many different ways to tweak it that I’ve spent all day fiddling and changing things, and I haven’t figured out an optimal way to sit in it. Part of this is my desk’s fault; the front of my desk is lipped in such a way that getting my legs underneath my desk while still reaching my keyboard comfortably isn’t exactly impossible, but requires some precise settings from my chair. At any rate, I’m not worried that I’m going to turn on it or anything– I just need to figure out how I want everything set and I’ll be fine.

That said: look at that image. The chair can actually recline back farther than that; I don’t think that guy is at full recline.

Is there anyone out there who thinks they could do that in a desk chair without freaking the fuck out? Because one of my major peeves with desk chairs (and even recliners, sometimes) is Sudden Unexpected Rocking. I react very poorly to unexpectedly feeling like I’m going to fall(*), and leaning backwards that far in a desk chair– or, truly, even close to that far– is simply not possible for me. My wife tried it last night and got maybe to 110 degrees before she decided she’d had enough. But you see these people in the videos about these chairs just leaning all the way back without a care in the world, and I want to have whatever magical ability they have that’s allowing them to do that. Because I seriously can’t.

(*) I have said many times before that I’m not afraid of heights, but I’m afraid of falling. People react like this is contradictory, and it’s not. I don’t care how high off the ground I am so long as my feet are planted securely, but I can and have very recently had serious panic moments from a brief involuntary shift in my center of gravity while sitting in a chair. I have never had a problem in an actual rocking chair, though, something I sit in all the time, and if you can give me some insight into why a desk chair or a recliner might trigger my lizard brain and a rocker doesn’t, I’d genuinely love to hear it.

In which I fail, at least at first

This post is going to get filed under “idiocy,” in case you were wondering at all.

I am– and I don’t know how common this combination is– not afraid of heights. Like, at all. That glass floor on the skyscraper the kid is on? I’d have no problem with that. So long as my feet are planted firmly and what I’m standing on is stable, I don’t care how far off the ground I am.

What I am afraid of, and I’m coming to realize just how debilitating it’s becoming– is falling. Falling literally any distance. I have had recliners or chairs shift suddenly underneath me and had a fit. I’m not bothered by skyscrapers but you put me a foot off the ground on anything rickety and I turn into a shuddery mess.

So, the bike.

I said this yesterday, but I have officially confirmed that it is possible to forget how to ride a bike. It is even possible to forget how to get on to a bike. I literally looked it up on YouTube last night. I had three problems yesterday: one, general not wanting to fall, because I really do have to relearn this skill from scratch, and two, a general paranoia about the possibility that anyone could see me while I am getting over this ridiculous fear.

I managed to get on the bike and make it move twice. The first time I made it about six feet and then realized right away that I didn’t have the seat tightened enough, because it was changing angles underneath me. So I stopped and fixed that.

The second time, I made it almost to the foot of the driveway, which is on a very slight slope, before HOLY SHIT TOO FAST NOT IN CONTROL kicked in and I had to stop again, and at that point I was done for the night. I need to go around and tell all my neighbors to leave town for a couple of days while I straighten this out; I don’t need my fat ass showing up on TikTok because the teenagers next door noticed me panicking in my own Goddamned driveway.

(If your first impulse is to be nice to me about this, feel free to squash it. This is ridiculous. I am a grown man and I need to get over my bullshit and learn how to ride this bike, and I will continue to mock myself in public until my morale improves.)

11:11 AM, Thursday June 4: 1,854,476 confirmed cases and 107,235 Americans dead. I figure we’ll be at two million cases in, what? A week? Less?