Accidents will happen

Monday, March 14th, 2005

I remember reading a long time ago that a bizarre proportion of accidents happen in the home.
Well I had a real humdinger on Saturday. I’d got up early and was having a nice relaxing day reading and listening to the radio, thinking about going shopping or to the gym, or maybe even (shock horror) tidying up.

I decided I’d make one more cup of tea (I am Arthur Dent, it seems) after which, I promised, I would clear up and get rid of all the cables and things on the floor that seem to grow like weeds. Heaven knows where they come from, or where they lead (which is ironic, given their other name as ‘leads’ – the number of cables that don’t seem to have another end is quite frightening, like the mystery hand in The Last Supper.)

Anyway, on my way to the kitchen I passed the ironing board which had been up for over a week, completely unused except as a place to put things I couldn’t put anywhere else. ‘I must put that away’ I thought to myself. Off I went into the kitchen to boil the kettle but then realised I’d left my mug in the living room, so went back to get it.

Immediately, I stepped on an upturned electric plug. For those of you not in the UK, our plugs have three prongs and sit flat to the wall which makes them harder to pull out accidentally. That’s the good thing about them. The bad thing is it means they have a habit of lying prongs-up, ready for feet to land on them. As indeed mine did. I stumbled and fell, putting my arms out in front of me. My fall was broken by the ironing board – which snapped in two. So I carried on falling, this time without anything to support me, on to the bare (but trendy) wooden floor boards. My knees took the brunt of it, and my wrists got the rest. I landed on the floor and then, as the pain caught up with me, lay flat and rolled over to look at the ceiling. Then the rest of the ironing board fell on me.

I shouted, partly in pain, partly in anger, but mostly in relief because I’d fallen in probably the safest spot – to my right was the desk (which isn’t screwed to the base so would’ve either caught me a nasty blow, or tipped spectacularly launching my Mac into the air to land, knowing my luck, right on my head) and to my left were my book cases and several other mystery plugs so either I’d have brought one bookcase crashing down or impaled myself on a plug.

All this happened in a split second but seeemed to happen in slow motion.

I keep thinking that I could have been lying there with broken bones or worse. My ultimate fate would have been as inspiration for a minor plot in a future episode of CSI as a peripheral character spends an episode on an apparent break-in and murder only to realise the flat hadn’t been ransacked, it was just extremely untidy and I’d died as a result of not tidying up more often.

When the pain subsided I went out to buy a new ironing board – £20, thank you very much. It’s actually not very good, but it’s metal meaning it won’t snap if I do that again.

So let this be a lesson to you all. Tidy up now rather than later or you might not live to regret it…

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