Thursday, January 03, 2008

It Happened

I've used a treadmill since I was eighteen. I'm not particularly clumsy. I'm not a newbie in a gym. Really, I'm not. I guess I was feeling confident in my skills last night when it happened.

My sixteen-year-old son and I went to the Y. He played basketball. I jumped on a treadmill and spread out my newspaper, my book, my ear piece, my water bottle, and my reading glasses, just like always. I followed my usual routine, kicking the incline up pretty high and got to walking a good pace. I opened the newspaper and assembled my things around me. I don't read the Sports page and it sailed down to the "pavement" of the treadmill. I bent to move it and that's when it happened.

I fell.

When you fall on a treadmill, you really don't have time to see it coming. Plus, I wasn't worried about falling. I thought nobody ever falls but really old people or people on funny commercials on TV. I came face-to-face with the pretend pavement, then was thrown to the floor. My hat came off and I had instant hat hair and instant worried-looking people gathered around me saying, "Are you okay?"

The guy on the treadmill next to me said, "We'd better stop her treadmill for her" like I'd died or something.

The manager rushed up. "I heard you fell. Here, sign this form that you don't need us to call anyone for medical help." By this time, I was back on the treadmill. He came back two more times to check on me.

Somebody handed me a paper towel and stared at my chin. Both of my knees were killing me but I was afraid to look at them right then. (Later, in the bathroom I looked. Chin and both knees have nice strawberries.) I got back on and started walking again.

But you know what stood out the most? What I'll never forget?

This one lady. She walked up and said, "The same thing has happened to me."

I wanted to give her a big hug (but I was a little shaky and already trying to act like I wasn't hurting--walking fast again and didn't want to fall twice).


"Yeah, it happens."

That's the lesson I took from falling off a treadmill. We all mess up in life. Either we get too cocky or we lose our focus, but it happens. Eventually, everybody falls. The kindest thing we can do is to go to someone who's fallen and say, "It's okay. I did the same thing once too. You're going to be okay."

Anybody who's down right now, it's okay. Don't worry. There are strong hands to help you up.


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