I was walking down the street in a hurry.
A couple was walking more slowly in front of me, so I moved over to cross the street.
As I stepped into the street, I hit the slickest of ice and took a good tumble.
I quickly stood up, embarrassed, making sure everyone that saw it knew I was okay before I sped off towards my destination.
This is a course of events that has repeated itself many times in my life, and I know I am not alone. I think the standard response to such a tumble is to look around and hope no one noticed, or to run away if they did.
What makes this a common response?
I suspect we get embarrassed that we weren’t more careful. But mistakes happen. It was above freezing, or so I thought. I didn’t except ice, much less that slick. Maybe I should have been more careful, but sometimes we fall. Shouldn’t I be happy that I’m out taking risks? Okay, that’s a bit silly to put it in that frame, but what if I acted proud. Or simply acted with ‘oops…but it’s okay!’.
Maybe it is the attention we don’t like. I was a nobody until I fall flat on my rear end. Now everyone sees me. Maybe our actions are telling people to stop looking, ‘nothing to see here’.
Maybe then, we can just be happy that people around care enough to notice what is going on. We could calmly thank them instead of running away.