Friday, 7 October 2011

Stifled Profanity


Such is the strength of the rules of one's upbringing that in the throws of falling and fracturing a bone, you might be able to suppress the need to swear, even if you are a fan of the inherent oomph in a well savoured swear word like I am. When I slipped and fractured my tibia whilst out walking with my parents a month ago, I managed to simply suck air through my teeth, saying things like "Ow, ow, ow!" and, "It can't be all that serious, I didn't even say the 'F' word." Quite impressive really, since recently I had thought it would be amusing to try and train myself to say, "Oh dear. I didn't mean to do that." However, when it became clear I was going to have to walk two miles to get out of the woods I did find it helpful to utter a couple of mild profanities through gritted teeth. To be an effective release of shock and pain a swear word should contain at least one strong or sibilant consonant.

I am aware that some people choose to be offended by certain words, and I suppose we all have our limits or lines we decide not to cross. However, I think the intention behind a word or phrase can be far more offensive. I definitely don't want someone spitting the dreaded "C" word in my face, but the word itself carries no outrage for me. I'd rather be sworn at than patronised, or hear some narrow-minded views on race, gender or sexuality. And that's probably why on my ill-fated walk a couple of well timed "tits" and "twats" wafted harmlessly into the trees and at the same time helped me not to throw up. If my Dad hadn't been there keeping me distracted and comforted  I would definitely have let rip and turned the green forest air blue.

Back to the broken leg and, four weeks later even my bright purple cast fails to keep me buoyant. I wish I could claim to embody a Zen-like acceptance, instead I feel useless and clumsy. The awkwardness of getting around the trailer with one leg solid and unbending at the ankle means that each simple, everyday task takes at least three times as long and involves newly learned adjustments and physical manoeuvrings. I am getting the hang of it but early on I literally felt nauseous with the effort. And as I set up for the job of taking a shower, once I've put on my waterproof leg covering thingy, I find that I pause, breathe and motivate myself to continue.

From a starting place seated on the loo lid I stand up, rotate 180 degrees, take all my weight on the two crutches, hop backwards over the shower ledge, stand on one leg whilst balancing the crutches in a handy place to reach them later, find dry and firm surfaces to grip while I sit myself back onto the shower seat, reach out the bathroom door to pull the stool into the bathroom and close enough to rest my outstretched leg on. Then I can commence my ablutions and the soaking of the bathroom floor. Of course by now I mostly remember to put the stool in place, within arm's reach, before I ensconce myself in the bathroom. I also mostly remember to heat the water sufficiently beforehand, and switch from the external tank to the internal, or whichever one is full at the time. Mostly, I remember, because the occasions where I have had to repeat the aforementioned sequence in reverse just to go and hop about the trailer, damp and half naked to flip a switch and then back again have taught me to plan ahead. All this sounds as though I'm coping alone. Far from it, but of course Pete will be outside doing water fetching and waste tank disposal and other outdoorsy chores. Which is why I also need to remember to take my mobile phone with me, just in case.


I am counting the days until the cast comes off (it's 11), and the recent late burst of warm weather did perk me up, as did a visit from Pete's parents. We had some lovely trips out to local historic and pastoral places. I would sit in the sunshine and exercise my brain with crosswords while the rest of the family exercised their tourist muscles looking at castles, churches and fortified houses (like Stokesay Castle picured above).

On a couple of balmy evenings we sat outside with Carl and Gaynor and the boys. We are still guests of their incredible hospitality in this beautiful piece of Shropshire. It is perfectly remote from any light pollution and we have been able to star gaze and spot satellites and shooting stars. As a happily relocated city girl I am always impressed by anyone who knows their constellations. Pete's Dad was telling me how they used to navigate when he was in the merchant navy. It's probably obvious but in this age of Sat Nav for all, it's extraordinary to think how recently one's position in relation to the stars was the way to navigate the vast seas.

How conducive to relaxed chatter is an evening under the stars, a glass of wine in hand and a blanket to snuggle under.

2 comments:

Bella said...

Tracy, having just spent the weekend in the tight space of our airstream I totally feel for you in your present predicament and wish you a very speedy recovery.

Caroline

Tracey said...

Thanks Caroline, I guess your Airstream is all packed away for winter now? Look forward to hearing about your winter projects.