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I am so lame

No, really. Literally.

There were peace marches nationwide today. One of them was in Portland, and for the first time in my life I made up my mind to march--to do something progressive, instead of just writing about it.

So what do I do? I fall down.

"A thousand people in the street," and I'm the one whose foot finds the big divot next to the manhole cover in the middle of 4th Avenue at Main--you know the one: the one that makes you fall down and sprain your damn ankle.

It was pouring rain this morning and I told myself that I didn't have to go to the march, even though I said I was gonna. Nobody else from my group was going. It was therefore okay for me to settle in for a cozy afternoon of Battlestar Galactica.

But my conscience would not lie down. At the last possible minute I grabbed my raincoat and camera and headed out the door.

I stopped at my sister's house to see if anyone wanted to come along. They dropped everything, bundled up against the rain, and dashed with me to the bus.

By the time we caught up to it, the demonstration had built some steam. People were converging on it from several different directions. "It's huge! Look!" one fellow marcher shouted to her friends as we all rounded the corner. There was drumming and chanting and flashing police car lights.

We mingled into the trailing end of the parade. A leader--unseen two blocks ahead--chanted "Bring. Them. Home" into a bullhorn, along with the classic, "What do we want? Peace! When do want it? Now!"

The police walked or cycled alongside the crowd, more of an escort than a control. The atmosphere was cordial. I got my camera out.

And then, wham. My ass and my camera both hit the street.

It's one of those falls where you just know the answer to "Are you okay" is "No" and that your day is ruined. Left ankle, right knee, right wrist, all the worse for it. Jeans: soaked. Dignity: shot.

Several marchers offer hands to help me up. My niece rescues the camera (which has fared better than the ankle), and three different cops offer to drive me home.

I can't imagine arriving home in a cop car. And as it happens, I've taken my street-dive just a few yards from a handy bus stop. So I assure the nice officers that I'll be fine. My sister and nieces give up their chance to march for peace so they can ride Tri-Met home with me.

And thus ends my first experience of taking it to the streets.

Total time at the march? Oh, maybe three minutes. I guess this is my way of easing gradually into my new political life: a little activism, followed by a lot of...inactivism.

I'm firing up the Battlestar Galactica now.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2005 03:05 am (UTC)
you poor thing! yikes. if it helps, I got food poisoning from my 1st political march. spent hours throwing up and on the toilet in a most unpleasant fashion...in a coed bathroom with guys tapping on the door asking if I was okay, no less.

Mar. 20th, 2005 03:12 am (UTC)
Aw thanks!

And shared political activism stories--yay! Dare I ask what they fed you off the salmonella tray?
Mar. 20th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)
heh. no. that would be chinese food from a street vendor. very, very, very bad idea. oy.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 20th, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind thoughts!

The minor trauma of the afternoon has triggered a sort of mild mental-health relapse that I've been thinking of blogging about. Because I know this is an area of interest for you, I hope you won't mind my using your comment as a place to start.

In the bad old days I was subject to a toxic cocktail of strident, shaming voices in my head that, in turn, gave rise to extreme and secret self-loathing. In that state I was easily frightened, often filled with dread. Despair was very common. I had no way of knowing that these were body-states. They felt like external reality. Anxiety and depression, not surprisingly, followed. The cycle would get longer and longer, until it was pretty much a constant.

A mild echo of these symptoms began for me within an hour of my fall today, and I realized how very closely linked physical trauma is to depression. I was able to recognize that my pessimism and feelings of shame this afternoon were part of a body state arising from shock and pain, and NOT a new reality in which all hope is gone and I don't deserve to live. I was able to keep myself from diving into it as if it were reality.

It's less than twelve hours later now, and I can feel my mental elasticity returning.

I guess I'll always be a little susceptible to re-bruising. My tools to combat the return of depression are perhaps prosthetic. But they work! It's fascinating to have proof like this.
Mar. 20th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
My word! you gave yourself to the cause. I'm so sorry for your pain! (And why do I feel a twinge of guilt? )
Mar. 20th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
Ack, you poor thing.
Mar. 20th, 2005 08:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! I actually laughed quite a bit about it. I'd been planning to blog the march, and as soon as I fell, I thought, "well, this'll make a funnier story anyway."
Mar. 20th, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
you poor thing! ...but that was indeed an adventure!
Mar. 20th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
It was! And even though I didn't really get to experience my first peace march, I've been. Next one will be easier. And I'll watch where I'm walking, too.
Mar. 20th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
EEEK! *cuddles you*

Been there, done that (without the march). At least you didn't do it on flat, dry pavement.
Mar. 20th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
No--my extreme klutziness is marginally excused by wet, uneven asphalt.

Mar. 20th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
Wet ANYthing excuses clumsiness. (I take any excuse I can get)
Mar. 21st, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)
Man, that sucks, dude. If it makes you feel any better, my mom says I ralphed all over a cop at my first march. In other news, lukewarm gyros, 95 degree heat, and a three year-old's metabolism do not a happy combination make.
Mar. 21st, 2005 05:51 am (UTC)
Heh. At least I didn't ralph at my first march. On the other hand, at least you weren't 49 years old at yours.

Your activist cred is unimpeachable.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )



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