Grace & Charm
Nobody can take a fall better than this girl right here, that’s for sure. You see, growing up, I spent my fair share of time in the hospital’s emergency room getting stitches, mending broken bones, and nursing concussions. After all those quick, uninvited encounters with the ground, you bet I learned how to throw my body in mid-air so as to land in a way that creates the least impact! It’s not that I got in fights or was an insatiable daredevil or anything, I’ve just always seemed to lack the grace & charm necessary to keep oneself intact at all times.
Today was evidence of that.
We had just received our meals at a local street vendor’s shop (similar to the photo above, but with more tables). Having frequented this particular location over the past 5 months, the owners usually know what we would like to order before we even say it. We are familiar with one another, and each time we appear, we try to speak with them in Thai just a little bit more. Today was a day just like any other – walk in, smile, greet one another, and confirm their suspicion as to what we would like to eat. Next, we chose one of two regular tables, sat down and ordered our beverages. Wait another 5 minutes or so, and our plates with a piping hot Thai meal are served to us with the traditional bowl of broth and cilantro. Yum. But wait, they forgot the sauce… that’s ok, because there’s usually a bottle on the table right behind us. Scoot the stool back a couple of inches, turn around, reach and grab the bottle. Proceed to deliver it to Brook, and all is well.
That’s how it usually happens. But, today? Oh, today!
This is what I was sitting on, as I do in almost every single street shop or market stall we dine at (though mine was actually royal blue, and lacked those spiffy horizontal reinforcement bars). Usually, they do their job in keeping one seated at the table, rather than under it, but today my stool failed me. As I scooted ever so gently backwards, everything went wrong. You know how people sometimes say that disasters seem to happen in slow motion? Well, this disaster actually did, and there was nothing at all I could do about it! As I scooted, the back 2 legs of this rickety old seat buckled inward beneath me, causing me to go straight down to the floor – thankfully, since they bent, I didn’t go totally backwards though! I felt them bending, could tell I was going down, and was utterly helpless as I watched Brook’s face go into a sudden half shock – half laugh sort of look.
The bustling shop went silent.
So, what does this taller-than-the-average-Thai, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned foreigner dressed in a flowing black skirt and beads do in such a situation (not to mention in a very face-saving culture)? Stand up quickly, silently, and gracefully (of course to compensate for the lack of earlier charm). Then proceed to quickly brush off my skirt, turn around to face the people, put up my hands and say “whoopsie” to release them all to laugh freely. And they did. One of the ladies that worked there came and took my old stool to the back of the shop, supplying me with a new one so I could return to my meal safely.
And what do I find Brook doing as I finally collect myself once more and take my seat? Typing on his iPhone. Yep, he was tweeting about his wife, the one who is a master at being inconspicuous. Oh wait.
I couldn’t help but continue laughing as I ate my lunch as I thought about how every person in there would likely go home tonight and tell everyone about the “farang” who fell out of her chair reaching for the chili sauce on another table.