Friday, September 07, 2007

Blind Confidence

I came home to a darkened house a little late last night, having spent several hours enjoying conversation over cigars and Hefeweizen at our local cigar shop. The conversation and company was the sort that arises out of shared passions and experiences, and ends with new found friends and a desire to pick up again sometime soon.

Arms loaded with my purchases, I was met at the door by my wife who sternly but playfully reminded me that I still had to go to work in the morning, which was distressingly coming too soon. Determined to find myself in bed as quickly as possible, I headed to the kitchen to store away my spoils.

There was no need to turn on any lights. I know the layout of my house with my eyes closed as surely as if it were brightly lit. In fact, I like to occasionally amuse myself by testing my ability to walk through the complex living room arrangement without any lights to guide me. The goal is to see how confidently I can navigate the layout without touching any of the furniture. 

So it was last night, confidence buoyed by the lingering pleasure of an enjoyable evening, that I moved swiftly through the maze with sure-footed precision. However, it was at the entrance to the kitchen where my self-satisfaction came to an abrupt end. As I took my first step through the entryway, my foot found something new, unexpectedly yielding and very noisy.   For some inexplicable reason, our dog had decided to bed down for the night directly across the approach to the kitchen, and I had rewarded this change in his routine with the full weight of my right foot. 

I wish I had a video of the dance that ensued.

Naturally, old Gus screamed at being awakened suddenly by my nearly 200 pounds on his hind-end. Old though he may be, we both discovered to our surprise how quickly he can move when sufficiently motivated. Unfortunately, his dodge and my suddenly-hesitant left foot chose the same spot in the now-unwelcome dark and we met again for another round of yelping. Reeling from the succession of blows to my balance and footing, I tucked my packages and prepared to take the fall, rather than risk stepping on Gus again. 

Care to guess where he positioned himself? 

Now disoriented and keeling over hard in the darkness, I tried to envision how I needed to adjust my fall to the right to avoid the hard edges of the baker's rack I knew was there just inside the entryway, when I again felt that same warm softness of fur, panicking and pushing now, against the side of the leg that even now threatened to finally crush him. 

No help for it, I spun back hard to the left, doubtless looking like a contorted contestant in a game of Twister. Sparks erupted from behind my tightly-clenched eyelids as the back my left hand found the corner of the rack, taking the full weight of my fall, even while cradling my packages against damage. My wife, having heard the ongoing commotion, arrived on the scene to turn on the lights just as my momentum finally came to a halt. Concerned, but looking slightly amused, she gently slipped my unscathed packages out from under my arm and helped rock me back onto my feet, before storing away my purchases herself.  She returned with a look on her face that carried a reproachful, "see what happens when you stay out too late?"

A little ice for the bruised hand and sleep for the bruised confidence will heal all, and I'll certainly have a new story to add to my next evening of conversation.


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