Being a fitness instructor keeps me on a fairly short leash. Anything requiring any kind of risk is pretty much out for me. Crappy health insurance, no disability plan, zero sick days, single mom, big mortgage payment...need I say more?
About this time of year, I start turning down invitations to ski (I've never been good at falling - someone once remarked that my falls resembled yard sales...skis, boots, clothes, and body parts everywhere!).
Then there's bicycling. The training wheels came off when I was about 16 and I've never had any balance improvement. Cycling down the American River Parkway sounds like great fun, not to mention a super way to meet fit and fabulous guys, but I wouldn't last a mile without tipping the bike and taking out someone else in the process.
My beloved roller blading ended, sadly, in 1999 when a nasty fall in SF landed me in bed for two months with a double-fracture pelvis.
Funny sideline on this one. When my mom heard the news, the first question out of her mouth was NOT, "Are you OK?" Instead, it was: "Can you still have children???"
And then there's Half Dome, an out of this world experience that I love to do with my dad. I've bowed out in recent years, given the fact that the whole cable system is just too darn antiquated for my comfort level.
I won't even go into the number of guys who have tried to persuade me to ride on a motorcycle. No f---ing way on that on one. Even more important than my career and ability to make money is my responsibility to be around for my kid which immediately eliminates all Harley enthusiasts and gosh, there are a lot of them out there.
So getting around to the title of this post. Finally. Here I am in church last week going through the stand up, sit down, share the peace - all the rituals associated with the Episcopal church. We do this every week, same thing, and I'm almost to the point where I don't need to cling to my "instruction sheet," also known as the weekly bulletin, as my lifeline. Then we get to the Confessions part of the program. My personal favorite. I love to have a clean slate with God, particularly when it only takes 30 seconds (give or take) of reciting.
The person next to me pulls down the kneeling pad (there must be a name for this but I am a new Episcopalian so I haven't learned it yet), I adjust my skirt, I start to bend, I land, "CRACK" goes my right knee as it makes contact with the pad.
"God is punishing me this week," I think, as my knee throbs. Could it be that unkind word to my mother? Or the swear word that just happened to slip out when B threw his play dough at me? Or maybe, I'm being reminded that this month's offering to the church was slightly lower due to the fact that I've contributed more to my other holy institution, known as Starbucks. Whatever the case, my knee is not happy.
After confessing, I wait my turn to hobble down the aisle and receive communion. Here we go again: adjust skirt, bend, but this time, I angle my right knee back so I'm kind of in a lunge at the front altar. Like a "low lunge" in yoga. Skirt and all. I eat the body of Christ, drink His blood, go through the Eucharist motions, limp back to my seat and vow to never return to church.
Just kidding. We actually have two more opportunities to kneel during the service which I choose not to do. I go home, ice my knee, and reflect back on my Baptist upbringing and the physical rituals involved in that church: stand up, sit down, a little swaying, possibly some arm waving. I'd bet that no knee cartilage was ever jeopardized in the Baptist church.
This entire week I've had to explain to my students and clients exactly why I can't demonstrate exercises on my right knee. Which has been pretty darn embarrassing. And so, if you happen to see me in church wearing knee pads, you'll now know why.