Hiking In Heels

Imagine, for a moment, hiking in stiletto heels. Or tap dancing in flip-flops. Or playing ice hockey in ballet slippers. Common sense says the inappropriate footwear would be counter-productive and could invite accidents.

Now, imagine exiting a building in hiking boots, descending the first set of steps and, to avoid a second set, you take the shortcut to your car across the street, and boost yourself up a crotch-high wall. You’ve done it numerous times in tennis shoes, flexible shoes that bend as you step atop the wall, shoes that allow you to roll forward toward the car.

Boots, however, are problematic for the “boost.” You lift yourself atop the low wall, plant your feet, try to stand up and roll forward, but you can’t reach the necessary upright posture. The boots won’t bend and, with their weight in the heels, your center of gravity is thrown off.

You hop back to the landing, but you don’t fall. Momentum, instead, has you back-pedaling across the landing and you sail over it. You drop four feet. You manage to semi-rotate in the air so you won’t land on your back. You crash onto the bricks below with a thud.

And a broken wrist. The right one, of course.

This happened to me. Now, I could continue telling the tale, detailing the immediate commotion, seemingly endless ambulance ride, and the miscommunications at the hospital. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll explain how I adapted, in my twisted way, to the discomfort and inconvenience of six weeks in a cast.

Personal hygiene immediately became an issue. Brushing my teeth with my left hand was a challenge. But I conquered it. As a result, I now have a plaque-free left nostril. Likewise, shampooing tested my ambidexterity and the long hairs protruding from my left ear soon smelled like coconut. My nasal hair, on the other hand…oh, don’t get me started on the problems I had with my nose hair trimmer. Thank God, I still have some eyebrows.

Washing my underarms and applying deodorant was difficult. I could reach my right underarm with my left hand. But my cast and excruciating pain made reaching the left armpit unthinkable. So I didn’t do it. For six weeks. I heard reports that people in line at Walmart complained about the left armpit stench. People at the Walmart in Fargo, North Dakota.

I managed to feed myself during my hellish six weeks. But it wasn’t easy. Spreading anything…jelly, peanut butter, cream cheese, caviar…on a bagel, muffin, or matzoh elicited countless anguished tears, which turned the bagel, muffin, or matzoh into a soggy, marsh-like mush.

Changing bed linens, particularly pillowcases was impossible. So, I rationalized, “Why bother? I haven’t changed them since I moved to Mexico in 2015. Why start now?”

The most difficult task I faced with an inoperable right hand, however, was starting my car’s ignition. The steering wheel made access to the key slot difficult and, once there, the turning motion triggered a pain in my hand and forearm so strong my cast screamed. But once I got the car started, I was able to drive. Awkwardly, but I could drive and do important errands.

My first necessary errand was to Dairy Queen. But upon my arrival, I realized I would have to park the car and tug the key out of the ignition. Then I would have to endure the ignition agony again when I left the eatery, after devouring three Blizzards, and again upon arriving home. How, I thought, could I avoid repeatedly going through this masochistic practice? I found a solution.

However, it was at about this time that the trauma and pain of breaking my wrist and cramming a manly forearm into a junior-petite cast was beginning to impact my sanity and muddle my mind. Decisions I made were not always rational. Take, for example, my just-referenced solution for avoiding the car’s ignition.

I decided that I simply wouldn’t shut off the engine. I’d let it idle. Of course, I couldn’t let my car idle unguarded on the street, so I nosed my car up to my apartment building, secured the steering wheel with my just-purchased The Club, left the key in the ignition, and locked the car with my spare key. Of course, I realized the continuous noxious fumes would blow into the neighborhood where they possibly would make a few people—OK, maybe hundreds of people—slightly nauseous. But at least I didn’t have to endure the torture of that awkward ignition twist.

I thought I had freed myself of one of the situation’s most agonizing challenges. I could return to living a relatively normal, pain-free life. Unless, of course, I chose to practice personal hygiene again…or spread caviar on Doritos.

I got rid of the cast weeks ago and have survived a brutal physical therapy program that would make an onion cry. The lesson I learned through this experience, I suppose, is always wear proper foot wear. Boots may be appropriate for hiking, but apparently aren’t for scaling minor walls.

Stiletto heels aren’t appropriate for hiking either. I alluded to that earlier. Ah, that’s another lesson I learned the hard way. Have I ever told you about the time I went on a hike in stiletto heels and broke a boa?

September 2022 Issue

El Ojo del Lago – Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com


Tom Nussbaum
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