Gravity is a force of nature that is absolutely unavoidable. It acts on us all in some way or another, whether we notice it in the way of an apple dropping onto our heads, physical exhaustion, or the bits and pieces of human anatomy that tend to head further south the longer gravity has been working on them. For me, it is most apparent in my nearly daily stumbles and tumbles as I make my way from one place to another, and the plethora of scars that I bear as a record of all these mishaps. As a person who has spent essentially my entire life in some sort of physical training, this seems a little bizarre. I began taking dance and gymnastics lessons from the tender age of 3, and transitioned directly from my life as a dancer to that of a yoga student, so what went wrong along the way? Why can't I seem to put one foot in front of the other without losing bits of my skin and acquiring bumps and bruises? Some of my most natural and effortless moments of physical prowess have come to me while I am championing an extraordinarily difficult yoga posture, or flying through the air in the grand allegro portion of a ballet class (take THAT gravity!), yet something as simple as walking up a flight of stairs will more often than not, lead to catastrophe. I have earned the highly apt nickname "Smashley" for these frequent and less than elegant mishaps, and I lived up to it entirely earlier this week.
Walking from EF to the busy Depok terminal to catch an Angkot home from work is usually a fairly safe and uneventful venture, however, this past Thursday it had been raining heavily and this set the scene for a rather dramatic episode of gravity vs. Ashley. I was wearing my comfiest sandals that I have been wearing almost non-stop for the last two years, and needless to say, they are lacking in traction at this point in their lives. I was shuffling along the slick sidewalk in front of ITC, a busy mall, and realizing the precarious nature of my journey, was taking great care with each small step. Before I knew it, something had gone terribly wrong, and I was flying horizontally through the air, umbrella in hand, like a cross between Superman and Mary Poppins. I landed gracelessly in a heap on the sidewalk, noticing that at some point during this highly embarrassing event, my headband had gone flying from my head to land in an unknown location. I scrambled to my feet amid gasps from onlookers, grateful that I was wearing pants and not a skirt, and shuffled away trying to calculate the injury to my aching body. I miraculously landed on a packet of cookies that were in my purse, and having completely obliterated them into a packet of cookie dust, I managed to save my hip from what could have been serious damage. Unfortunately I did come away from this event with scrapes and bruises and aching muscles, and a vivid sense of mortification. One big point for gravity in the ongoing battle I suppose, but really in the grand scheme of things, this could have been much much worse, and I will be sure to get even in a moment of sublime weightlessness while practicing yoga or on my next surf adventure. Now I suppose the only thing to do is to dust off my wounded ego, buy some new sandals, and hope for this force of nature to present itself to me in gentler manifestations... :P