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A very long story wherein I fall in a hole and miss my first con

August 28, 2011

Sometimes I get a little panicky before author events. The idea of mingling and talking to people is overwhelming for an introverted author with the resting heartbeat of a gerbil. I will often sit in my hotel room and stare in the mirror and give myself the Jack Donaghy pep talk (“You’re a lion! Take what’s yours!”). Sometimes, the events are in my hometown so I have to bar myself in my bedroom and do the pep talk while my kids scream in the hallway (“Who are you talking to?! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING UHHSSSS?!).

On Friday, I was giving myself this pep talk in my backyard while I wrangled the hose (to fill the kiddie pool to keep the aforementioned children from spontaneously combusting). I had several events at our local ArmadilloCon coming up and I was excited to see what the con was all about, but also nervous about being around, well, other people. There were a bunch of famous-y authors in town doing panels and I was looking forward to/panicking about fangirling and stammering on some panels with them.

BUT THEN…

Instead of pulling a Jack Donaghy and finishing my pep talk while I expertly filled the kiddie pool with lukewarm water, I pulled a Liz Lemon (story of my life) and fell in a hole.

Yes.

I fell in a hole.

Bam. My ankle made a terrific, disgusting pop pop pop pop sound as I landed ass over elbows in the grass.

Now you might be wondering, “Wait, what? Where did that hole come from? Is your backyard full of holes? Are they from ARMADILLOS?”

Well, I’ll tell you: the hole was not from armadillos, nor was it from my neighbor who routinely shoots his shotgun into the ground, aiming at bewildered rattlesnakes. This particular hole comes from a time in recent history when it would rain here and there in Texas. On those rainy afternoons my oldest son would go into the yard and work on making a mud puddle. He would dig and dig and then stomp and stomp and it was all glorious fun until we realized there could be dog poop mixing with the mud and then the hole was abandoned.

As time progressed (here I want you to imagine a timelapse movie of my backyard, all sped up and filmstrip looking), the mud in the hole dried to cracked dirt, the grass in the backyard died and came back as ugly desert-like weeds, and the opening to the hole was obscured by a cthulhu of dead St. Augustine grass and these wispy things that make you itch.

So, here I am, minding my own business, working up the courage to talk about zombie haiku in front of Paulo Bacigalupi and Rosemary Clement-Moore, and into the hole I go.

I knew immediately that the hole had won. My ankle got all wobbly and squishy and registered on this pain scale at about a 7. The children put on their firefighter jackets and ran around the house bringing me ice and random baby dolls to make me feel better. After hobbling around for a few hours I relented and went up to the urgent care behind the Wendy’s (the best urgent care around, and also the urgent care that is located on a road named Slaughter, which is pretty awesome) and had some x-rays taken.

Nothing broken. Hooray! But sprained, nonetheless. And required to be stuffed into an aircast (also called an air stirrup, which sounds sort of steampunk to me). This aircast requirment increased the pain immensely even though the nurse said “most people” experience immediate relief. Drugs were prescribed. I was sent on my way. And I knew my fretted over panels at ArmadilloCon would have to be forsaken. The idea of walking around a hotel to get to various conference rooms made me cry giant tears of anticipated agony.

So I had to email the organizers and cancel. And I was embarrassed and sad to do so. After all of that worrying and working up my nerve, to be taken down by a hole was unexpected and (while potentially hilarious if it had been caught on video) very irritating.

I’m sorry, ArmadilloCon, for missing your nerdy delights.

And I’m sorry, ankle, for ripping you in half by not paying attention to the cthulhu grass camouflaging the giant hole I should not have forgotten.

Alas and alack.

Lemon out.

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