The Reluctant Acrobat

Friday was a professional development day.

I attended a reading conference at the Victoria Conference Centre which adjoins my favourite hotel in the world–the Fairmont Empress.

Since I hate driving downtown, I hitched a ride with my sailor on his way to work. Sailors start ridiculously early. I assumed he’d roll in late because he was dropping me off on his way to the office.

Never assume anything. He left me on Government Street almost two hours before my conference started.

His last words to me as he sped off into the darkness: “I’m sure you’ll find a Starbucks that’s open!”

Gee, thanks.

I’m going to blame later events on sleep deprivation (I had to get up at 5:00 to be ready to go with my sailor) and too much caffeine (the rent on a table at Starbucks is paid in big, strong lattes.)

The day progressed without incident until lunch.

I defied gravity and fell up the stairs.

Not a little slip, but an acrobatic tumble that left me on my hands and knees at the top of the steps, my bag sliding in one direction, my jacket another. No painful fall is complete without an audience. Mine was witnessed by about one hundred primary teachers.

Red faced and sore, I collected my bag and jacket and slunk away to my next lecture–in the large theatre. I considered sitting down near the front, but decided to hide in the back row. I was comfortably ensconsed in my seat, rubbing my aching knees and waiting for the presenter, when a woman suddenly loomed over me.

“I was sitting here this morning and I lost an earring. Can I look under your seat?”


I stood and moved into the aisle. She advanced towards me so I took a step back.

Walking backwards is rarely a good idea, especially on one of those theatre aisles that’s comprised of shallow steps leading down to the stage. My heel hit the step behind me and–you guessed it–I went down…hard. This happened moments before the speaker was about to begin, so the theatre was full, giving me an optimal audience for my second spectacular fall of the day.

I don’t remember much about the final session. I mostly thought about whether I should sneak out to find a glass of wine and an ice pack.

The day wasn’t a total loss.

An hour later I was sitting in Milestones with my sailor and our boy enjoying the view and that large glass of wine.