Childhood meant falling over a lot. I remember constantly having scabs on my knees (and the enjoyment of picking them). I still have scars from inside each of my elbows, from falling over at school while running during playtime.
You don't fall over very often as an adult (unless you're a footballer or some other kind of athlete - which I'm not!) I've fallen off my bike a few times, mostly for embarrassingly simple errors of balance but once when I was hit by a van.
In the past decade, I've fallen a few times while walking or running.
Two of those times involved tripping over a dog. Once I tripped over a jagged bit of the footpath, completely unexpectedly while walking Olle to school. I felt ridiculous.
The thing about falling as an adult is that you're further away from the ground so there's further to fall. And you're much much heavier, so there's more of you to hit the ground.
All of that occurs to you with a sickening feeling as you are actually falling.
I fell over this afternoon, while walking with a group of friends on a cement footpath.
It was a boiling hot day. I was walking at the front of the group. Olle was to my rear. What happened couldn't have been scripted better for a slapstick comedy. He had a football (soccer ball), which he must have been kicking along the ground (I had no idea he was doing that - I was in front of him). Somehow the ball got out of his control and rolled over to me, coming from behind directly under my right foot just as I was taking a fast purposeful step. I had no warning and no time to save myself. I put my foot down directly onto the ball, which of course moved under me and I lost my balance completely. I somehow did a complete turn in the air, fell to my right and landed on the palm of my right hand, then bounced onto first my right then my left buttock and was lying flat on my back on the pavement.
My palm, which hurt the most at first, has a deep but small graze which has already formed an oozy scab. I feel as if I have a mild version of whiplash and a crick in my neck, which must have twisted as I went down. But by far the worst injury is invisible - I have very sore buttocks. Well, it must be muscle damage, bruising of some kind, I don't know that part of the anatomy very well. Thank goodness it's not my coccyx. No, it's not related to my spine, but instead is related to the tops of my legs, the thigh muscles or gluteal muscles, in some way. Climbing stairs and bending over is very painful. I'm a wreck, moving around very slowly.
Poor Olle was very upset, which wasn't helped by the fact that the moment I fell I shouted his name reproachfully (how many times - including about an hour beforehand - have I told him not to kick or throw a ball when he's out in the street? Always with his safety in mind, not my own, ironically.) When I finally opened my eyes, he was kneeling beside me shaking with tears. He's been downcast all evening (we went out to dinner with some other friends.) I explained that I shouldn't have blamed him, that I'm okay and will get better and it was truly an accident. He's told me he is upset from seeing me fall (it must have given him a shock) and because he thinks it was his fault.
When I was 14, my mother fell over while I was out shopping with her. As was discovered not long afterwards, she had a spinal tumour. But we didn't know that at the time. She fell over and was helped up by me and passers-by. She was very emotionally shaken and I was too - it's an awful thing for a child - even one of 14 - to see an adult, especially their parent, fall over.
Even though my bottom is hurting (even as I sit here and type this), I'm very glad I didn't fall onto either knee or my hips, all of which have been giving me slight trouble lately, so I wouldn't have been happy to have that compounded by injury.