Some steps on Castro:


On the evening of Saturday the 5th of January, I rode the Segway over to a dinner party a few blocks away since parking at night is impossible, and I can’t walk well enough now to do it on foot. Alas, I was ignoring Mother’s admonition to look where I’m going and consequently discovered an unseen obstacle and took a hard fall – hurting my right hand, scraping my left leg, and utterly destroying my favorite pair of Dockers.

But of course it was unthinkable not to pick myself up and press on to dinner, where the hosts taped up my leg and I discovered that my hand wouldn’t operate a fork well enough to cut lasagna.

The hand changed color, swelled up, and was pretty much useless for the next several days, so I broke down and phoned my doctor’s office on Thursday. Since I insisted on seeing her rather than her colleague, I had to wait the following Monday morning. And then after she sent me for an x-ray, there was a delay until Wednesday evening in getting word back to me that I had sustained an oblique fracture of the second metacarpal in my right hand with moderate displacement, and, to get less technical, sprained the devil outta my thumb. The good news is that the orthopedist worked me in on Thursday.

As I was shuffling across Stockton street on the way to the orthopedist, I saw that I was running out of time in the crosswalk and broke into a trot. Now, I don’t know why I was thinking I could run when I can barely walk, but after the first couple of strides my legs failed, and as the lights turned, I fell in the crosswalk…in front of the cars.

They were generous.

Luckily, I had landed mainly on my left arm/hand and right knee…the previously undamaged and thus fresh extremities. Scraped the knee, but luckily, the hand was only bruised and the Calvins were unharmed, No no, the blue denim trousers.

The orthopedist and I decided that my hand might heal well enough just in a cast to get me through my remaining golden years without surgery to correct the displacement. He also gave me a cortisone shot in the thumb which was completely painless owing to my briefly blacking out when he whipped out this syringe with a three-inch needle on it that you could see down the barrel of, and I’m thinking, omigod! he’s gonna run it in from the tip of my thumb!

Sybil, very good at pointed questions after sixty years of managing Merrill and the kids, delicately asked whether my delay in getting treatment had caused problems. I told her not much – other than a week or so of extra pain, an eleven-day delay in the beginning of the healing process, and some possible additional displacement in the fracture. Hmmmm, should maybe think about this.

By highly ironic coincidence, my Dutch friend Rina, who’s coming to visit me in March, broke her hand the day before I broke mine. Of course being a woman, she sought medical help immediately and is by now halfway through her sentence in the cast. How boring! Or is there something to learn here?

Naw, my friends mutter, he’ll never learn, but to them I say, nonsense! I am now very clear that during unanticipated dismounts, I must immediately let go of the handlebars.

The old model Segways like mine are steered by twisting the left handle grip, which frees up the right hand for carrying things like large packages or small casts. The abrasion and bruising from yesterday morning’s pratfall on Stockton Street are not bad enough to ground me, so I zipped down to the barber this morning, brandishing my cast at the nay-sayers.

My friend Bob heaved a great sigh, “At least you’re consistent.”

“Well then,” I responded, “you may address me as Your Consistency.”

Since then, friends have suggested alternative forms: Your Obstinacy, Your Recalcitrance, and Your Incorrigibility…among others less kind.

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