I Am No Usain Bolt

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Journal excerpt: For the record, and a note to myself for future reference: I am not Usain Bolt.

Mr Bolt is a Jamaican and very capable word-class sprinter, and is recorded as ‘the fastest person ever recorded’. His nickname, not surprisingly, is ‘Lightning Bolt’. And he’s fast, light on his feet, well-balanced and never falls over at great speed. He’s quite balletic to watch. I’ve seen him on tv. It’s true!

I am not Usain Bolt.

How do I know this? Because I ran. It wasn’t a fast run. Not as fast as Mr Bolt, but fast enough to fall. Why, oh why did I run? There was no traffic to dodge, no pressing engagement, no urgency at all. But, I ran and I tripped. Whilst in the air, I believe I could have had the potential to have been as graceful as a swan flying. ‘9.5, 9.5, 9.6’, the celestial judges might have announced.

But then gravity took over. And, these same judges may have let out a collective sigh, as I landed with as much grace as a swan landing on water, that is, none at all. ‘0.1, 0.1, 0.2’, they might have concluded, as I ‘kissed’ the tarmac.

Two roads diverged, and I ran along the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.
To misquote Robert Frost

But, trip I did. I saw the road coming up to meet me. My, what an interesting angle! Acute, I think. And, obtuse, too! But, it was all over in a second, and yet time seemed to go so slowly. And then, ‘crunch’. I picked myself up within a few seconds; and, I don’t know if it’s me, but it took yet another few seconds for the pain to register.

I inhaled, but it wasn’t as ‘free and easy’ as before, but now rather an effort – like someone had put a steel belt around my chest and tightened one notch too much. Breathing, albeit painful, returned to its normal frequency very soon, but not without some effort, and with a few temporary visual ‘sparklies’ in the peripheral vision. Elementals? Angels? Or just a lack of oxygen and/or shock? I think the latter. Within the next few seconds I took stock.

As a child I used to love playing cricket, and for some reason the school I went to didn’t have safety gear. Nowadays, anyone playing cricket would wear head gear with a ‘face grid’, maybe a chest protector, shin protectors, and other safety-wear to protect other bodily ‘bits’. But, when I was at school it seems we had none of that. It’s not long, then, that one gets hit on the shin with a cricket bat or ball, and boy, is that ever painful. Other places, are more painful, but that’s my most painful memory of playing cricket I can remember, or indeed of experiencing the most pain, ever, until now (with maybe one exception)!

Why the reference to cricket? As I picked myself up off that piece of road, the pain set in. Someone, somehow, maybe an invisible protagonist, had seemingly attacked me with an invisible cricket bat on the way down. And, several days later, I know the phantom-cricketer had centred his ‘attack’ on my left shoulder, sternum, my left ribs, my left hip bone, left thigh bone, and left knee cap. How can so much be assaulted from one fall and in so little time?

Red and yellow and pink and green,
Purple and orange and blue…
From ‘I can sing a rainbow’ song. And some of the colours of my bruises.

I really don’t know how it happened?

There was nothing to trip over in the road, I wasn’t under the influence (‘honest!’), and my shoe-laces were tied correctly.

Could I put it down to being born on a low gravity planet and temporarily forgetting that I was on Earth? Not really.

Or, maybe it was an attack by a boggart? The boggart, you know, those invisible ghost-like creatures that inhabit mines in Wales and England, and pull you ‘in’ when you least expect it, should you walk on the surface of a mine. These creatures are called the boggart in England, in Scotland they’re called the boggle or bogle, and it all comes from the Welsh word bwg (meaning ‘ghost’ and which is pronounced ‘boe-g’; like the first part of bogeyman, which is probably where that word comes from and which is used in America). But, somehow I don’t think it was a boggart. I was in town, and there are no mineshafts. And, they are only a myth. Unless, like foxes, their are now city-boggarts?

No, I have to put it down to ‘age’, and the fact that I should not have run. If you’ve got this far, I would value your prayers and well-wishes. I’ve had it checked – thankyou NHS – and there are no broken bones, just huge bruises, pain when I inhale, and maybe a dent in my ego. I’m told it will heal itself in time – a few weeks. Meanwhile, that steel belt around my chest still feels half a notch too tight, but I guess that, too, is progress.

Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.
Victor Kiam

But, I’ve learned something. I am not Usain Bolt, and I don’t feel like playing cricket right now. And, I’m not going to run. Why, oh why did I run?

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