I have never been considered graceful. Growing up, I never created dance routines in front of a full-length mirror to a Debbie Gibson song. (I was more of a look-thoughtfully-out-the-car-window-as-I-sing-like-Cyndi-Lauper-in-the-“Time After Time”-video kind of girl.) My hands and feet are disproportionately large for my frame and I am not the exception that proves the rule about white people and their lack of rhythm.
So it should come as no surprise that I am clumsy, but yesterday was especially bad. I found myself in a constant hurry and for me that equals bruises. I did one of those quick neck twists to check on something in the backseat of the van that resulted in a sore neck for the rest of the day. (You know you’re getting old when backing out of the garage is hazardous to your health.)
Later, I ran into the house to change out of a sweaty t-shirt before a parent/teacher conference. I was trying to navigate through the doorway of our bathroom with my shirt halfway off and my sight wholly obstructed. I was trapped inside my shirt like a bad Houdini escape attempt when I slammed my elbow on the doorframe. I couldn’t straighten out my arm for hours. It was swollen like Fred Flinstone hit it with a Stone Age hammer. It’s still sore today.
Why are some people so graceful and others have the physical presence of Quasimodo? Can gracefulness be taught? Think of Scarlett O’Hara gliding down the red velvet steps of her grand foyer when Rhett has finally decided to leave her. It’s like she’s riding a really fast escalator. Now imagine me doing that. I’d have tripped on my dressing gown and landed in a crumpled heap at Rhett’s feet faster than he could say, “Frankly, I don’t give a…”
I do have one fleeting period of gracefulness that I will cling to until I am tripping fellow old people with my walker at the nursing home: When I was in high school, a boy once wrote a song about me. It was completely based on his fictional analysis of me but it said (in sweet poetic language) that my movements were lovely and I walked as if no one was watching. (It also said I had honey-colored hair.) Maybe gracefulness is in the eye of the beholder. If it can’t be taught at least clumsiness can be overlooked.