I'd had free-floating anger all day, barked at my wife a couple times
out of nowhere, made amends. I think my anger had to do with a situation
where I believed I had not been properly praised & appreciated for the
wonderful things I'd done.
Later we were headed to a meeting. I was carrying a big blue glass
bowl full of fresh picked cherry tomatoes from our garden. I was
still impatient with her, with myself, with parking, with
carrying the tomatoes, with thinking about being late & not
getting my favorite seat. We were starting to cross the landscaped
middle strip of a four-lane road & the traffic was too thick, so I
started to rush up the middle strip until we could cross.
My left foot hit a sprinkler-head and my right foot hit my left
foot, so that suddenly I was falling straight down like a cut
sapling, holding this blue glass bowl in my hands, and the bowl
was right in front of my face as I fell, thinking, This does not
I landed with my face right in the bowl of tomatoes. The bowl
didn't break, or it would have been bad. Half the tomatoes were
smashed. There were two guys behind us who stopped to ask if I was
all right. When I said I was all right, they went ahead to the
meeting. It was a kind of twilight zone in-between time in the event
where I was embarrassed but not sure if I wasn't badly hurt or not.
The bowl had caught under my left ear & I kept checking to see if
my ear was there or cut or what--it was all right. My arm and chest
had also hit the bowl as I landed, and would bruise like hell the next
So, I wasn't seriously hurt. The two strangers who had stopped were
at the meeting but left right after my wife and I finally got there.
Nobody had ever seen them before. My wife thanked them for stopping
and they smiled. I was too embarrassed still, and shook up, to even
think about thanking them.
During the meeting I was disoriented, going back and forth between
the lingering free-floating anger, and a new strange calm, as if
something toxic had been knocked out of me by the fall, but I was
still trying to hold onto the angry place as protection, or the
delusion of protection.
Then in the meeting I shared about the fall, and it came out hilarious
in parts, to my amazement. How I had thought in the middle of the fall,
"This is going to be interesting," and how I said to my wife when I
finally stood after falling, "I'm not going to that meeting," as in
"I'll show them, or show somebody, or show something." And the whole
sensation of my face going into the tomatoes, and comparing it to
getting rotten tomatoes thrown at you for being phony, or stuffy, or
Then after the meeting I couldn't figure out why nobody was eating any
of the tomatoes.
Now, I don't know what the long-term effect will be, if any. But
three days later, I'm still wondering about it, about the glass not
breaking, at the tomatoes cushioning my fall, at the two strangers
who stopped, at the fact that all my anger came out in humor when
I told the story.
I believe it has something to do with taking myself too seriously,
and especially my anger, my impatience & resentments. I felt so totally in
charge when I stormed into that landscaping for that short-cut, and
in one-step everything was taken out of my control, as if it were ever
in my control. And there was a micro-second of non-verbalized awareness
where I knew I was falling just like a tree into hard dirt and there
was nothing in the world I could do about it but wait for impact, and the
only reason I kept holding onto the bowl of tomatoes was that I had
been holding onto it when I started the fall, and whatever I was doing
at the beginning of the fall I would be doing at the end of the fall.
Still thinking about it, wondering on it, grateful for it.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Posted by Richard Martin.... at 2:34 PM