|William Lau (the Ottawa Citizen)|
The room was set up with small round tables, lit by candles in glass jars, and 4 chairs to a table; we arrived in time to get two tables near the back, which we thought would be good as the stage isn't very raised, and we had a 7 year old and a 9 year old, who might be able to stand up if the sight lines were poor. This was both fortuitous and non-fortuitous. Non-fortuitous because as the crowd increased, management put in single chairs against the wall, meaning that the girls couldn't stand.
It was fortuitous, but only for me, because it meant that we could have an "event" without being observed by everybody in the place.
The weather was hot and muggy that day and hadn't cleared by showtime. The room was crowded, which was great for the success of the event, but meant that everyone was steaming.
Luckily, the program had been printed on heavy 8 x 11 cardboard, which people were using as fans, but unluckily for me, we'd decided not to take one for each person at our tables. As I got hotter, and my hairline got damper, I decided I would use the cotton jacket I had brought with me as a towel to discreetly mop myself off.
I reached behind me to get it from the back of the chair, then noticed it was on the floor. I stood up, and in a sequence that could have come straight out of a silent movie, bent over, lost my balance and careened into the chair which gave me no support but instead folded up. I tried to catch myself but turned and landed extended and flat on the floor. laughing and winded, the folded chair securely in my arms and covering me like a shield. "Oh my God," I prayed, " just let me lie here till the show's over. I won't move." No such luck, of course.
People from our immediate area, raised me up, ungainly, unsteady and still laughing like a maniac, and helped me back to my now unfolded chair at the table where my glass of wine seemed to be bathed in neon light. Maybe that was just me. I wasn't hurt, just bruised, and the ruckus didn't last long, but I was wearing sequins, so I was probably noticeable to a few.
I felt so bad for my family, whose dignity far outshone mine, and especially for Sarah who kept sweetly urging me to sit straight in my chair. They are a stoic bunch, but they've had a fair amount of experience what with my falling out of the floaty tube on the Winding River at Canada's Wonderland one summer, and the graceless smashes into pedestrians that I've had while walking on downtown sidewalks with my daughters.
If only my kids weren't so graceful, beautiful and able to walk straight lines, I wouldn't have been so distraught. It's hard mothering your mother. I appreciate their sterling efforts and hereby forgive them for every public temper tantrum, for cursing on public transport and for screaming at each other in the car before they became so mannered.