Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grace on Her Face

I got a lesson in the kindness of strangers over the weekend.
I went to the theater to see Harry Potter 7 (which was quite good) and was making my customary trek to the very back row where I have to sit to avoid a headache. As I reached the necessary summit, I went to step into the row toward the seat, unaware that it was a step down, not just across. Imagine my shock and horror when I pitched forward, tumbling headlong into the lower rows. I am thankful for the vacant seat back which served as a barricade when it came in contact with my thigh. Sadly, this was excruciatingly painful, but happily it did stop the forward and downward motion. When I came up for air and re-righted myself I was greeted with a profound demonstration of the milk of human kindness.

The people seated around my pratfall jumped to my aid. They asked if I was ok. They picked up my purse and handed it over. They offered assistance. And most surprisingly they did not laugh. I confess, were I in their shoes, I would not have been able to contain myself. Truth be told, I am one of those arguably sick people who guffaw when people fall down--not Gracious, I know, but I simply can't help it. I was laughing at myself even in my agony. I felt a bit sorry that my family did not witness my swan dive (they were in the rest room), since they would undoubtedly have found my stunt riotous.

So, I salute those kindly folks at the theatre and will strive to emulate them in the future. I should state for the record that even when I laugh at someone's clumsiness, I do offer whatever assistance seems necessary: band-aids; a cell phone to call the paramedics; shout wipes to remove errant spills. But I admit that these gestures would be better received without the chuckle. And as I ponder the upcoming observance of gratitude, I express my thanks to the Good Samaritans who helped me in my hour of need and didn't even snicker once.

The punch line? A grapefruit of a bruise, multi-hued in purples, blues and greens that is both painful and unsightly. But I consider myself lucky. Had my momentum continued, I would be in a body cast right now.

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