Heavy Hands #sorrynotsorry

I can still remember the moment when, after yet another breakage my Gran told me I was heavy handed. I’d have been about seven, I suppose. Her frustration at my habitual clumsiness had tripped some switch and she’d said something – understandable as it was – that had a significant impact. I realised that if my beloved Gran could say such a thing in a tone of voice that indicated it wasn’t welcome then (a) it must be true and (b) I must be disabled in some way.

my gran proving the Archaeologist also needed help holding up his hands…

As she walked away I looked down at my hands hanging limply where they had always been at the end of my wrists and wondered if I would be able to lift them again.

still heavy handed aged 25

My mum understood my concern when I asked her if I was heavy handed. I expect, with the benefit of adult hindsight she might have been about to confirm the diagnosis but, wise woman that she was, she could see my fear and worry, or maybe hear it in my voice.   She put my mind at rest but the concern lingered. Did my tendency to reduce china back to its molecular base materials in the slip of a finger mean something? Today I might well be gifted an ism or an osis or an xyia; back in the enlightened 1960s I was clumsy, costly and a bit of a liability.

And I’ve apologized for this for, well, forever. It even led to my thoughtful, insightful mother, on being offered another apology for another rubble-rendered set of dinnerware to tell me: ‘don’t say sorry, just don’t do it’.

We have no crystal glasses from our wedding – originally there were twelve. I have been responsible for eleven of those destructions. The twelfth came as a result of a guest laughing so loudly at my regaling some dinner party with how I had destroyed numbers one to seven that they lost control of their glass. So, even indirectly I can weave my magic.

I’ve damaged myself, too, usually in stupid ways, just to even things up with the endangered world of inanimate objects around our home. My head is especially likely to clatter into things. Were I ever to shave it clean of hair the mosaic of cuts might make it look like an alien Rosetta stone or a yellow hammer’s egg.

My family’s most common facial expression, when they see me approaching something solid and at head height is the preemptive wince.

When the Textiliste and I moved into a house for the first time, from a small flat, the master bedroom was huge, stretching right across the front of the Victorian terrace we had bought. Our bed, which had had to fit a pokey back room sat in the middle with what appeared to be an acre of empty floor either side. Not long after we moved in, I had to get up in the dark and set off early. Not wanting to disturb my sleeping partner, I sought to put on my trousers only for one foot to get snagged in the leg material. Trying and failing to free myself I managed, unknowingly to hop all the way across the room to the rather magnificent marble fireplace. At the same moment my tugging freed itself I stood upright abruptly, and clattered my forehead into the mantle-piece.

Fireplace 1, forehead 0.

I grabbed my bruised bonce and swore, doing exactly what I didn’t want to do; wake up the Textiliste. She was instantly solicitous as she inquired as to the reason for my unmanly yowling. She put the light on, and, somehow suppressing a giggle at my stupidity, offered to check me over for signs of damage.

Having seen a few stars and a couple of as yet undiscovered planets I accepted and staggered back to the bed, offering the tenderised spot for her triageing.

‘Oh my, will you look at that?’ she said in a voice that, while attempting sympathy managed merely to convey surprise with a side of glee.

‘What?’ I know I sounded anxious; at the best of times my courage hovers around the Brave Brave Sir Robin level.

‘It’s like an egg.’

Understand, please that she is the kindest, most caring person, but when someone’s head has sprouted, in seconds, a fully formed and exact replica of a hen’s egg there is a level of temptation that is beyond saints let alone mere mortals and that is to press it and see if it disappears or, better still, pops out somewhere else.

As the recipient of such egregious if understandable experimentation, let me confirm what you all suspect. It does not move and it is effing agony.

Still, we married later that year so her apologies must have been both effusive and credible.

Perhaps the Olympic standard width and depth of my ability to destroy home-ware was really first understood by me, and my apologies as sincere as ever I could make them, when Mum bought, at large expensive a set of plates and cups made of what was then a new plastic called melamine. It was sold on the basis it was unbreakable. Mum was ever the optimist.

Of course, inside a fortnight the Archaeologist was delightedly explaining to Mum that ‘Geoff’s broken an unbreakable cup.’

Mum, naturally was incredulous; the advert had been so convincing. ‘How?’

So I showed her.

That didn’t end well, but it was the beginning  of a life time of ‘I’m sorry…’

This post is inspired by Irene Waters ‘Times Past’ post asking for memories of the first moment you remembered feeling sorry. Probably at birth since I was some ten pounds eight ounces and a natural delivery. That has to test anyone’s maternal instincts….

 

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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42 Responses to Heavy Hands #sorrynotsorry

  1. barbtaub says:

    Hilarious, but I especially loved the unbreakable cup. My sympathies to your family…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Smith says:

    I thought the DH was the clumsiest person on the planet but you might – just – have beaten him. We don’t have any crystal glasses. We inherited some rather lovely glasses from his mum and I kept them locked in a cupboard. Then I thought that was silly as what’s the point of having lovely things if you don’t use them. The remaining glass is now back in the cupboard. He doesn’t bash his head as often as you but he trips over things – usually things he left on the floor in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. From one clumsy to another. I enjoyed this story as it reminded me of my own youth and adulthood. My finest moment was placing twelve Baccarat champagne flutes in the dishwasher. You guessed it. Without lifting a finger except to hit the start button, I wiped them all out. Would have been more fun tossing them into the fireplace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ritu says:

    Oh that is funny!

    Im not so much heavy handed as a Little Miss Bump!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Geez Geoff, I gave birth to a mere ten pounder. And that hurt!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JT Twissel says:

    Interesting. In the states the term heavy-handed means someone who is too forceful in his dealing with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I have a constant bruise on my upper thigh from bumping into the corner of our bed while trying to quietly creep through the night to the bathroom. After all these years I ought to know where the bed is. NOT!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It might be a man-thing, Geoff. My husband is a bull in the china shop. When I inherited my grandmother’s china, I packed it up, and it’s been in storage for 25 years. That’s where it will stay until I can pass it on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha. I enjoyed reading your memories Geoff. I can see that seven year old you. They say that if you tell someone they are something such as dumb, stupid or in your case heavy handed the person will live up to the labelling. It seems you have proved that theory to be correct, in your case at least. If you ever visit I’ll put away the crystal wine glasses. Thanks for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: I’m Sorry!: Times Past Challenge | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  11. Hilarious as ever. When staying in Tudor cottages, I’ve found a sheet of newspaper taped to the lintels is quite useful

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Really ?? An unbreakable cup…
    Sounds like a dare to me.
    Here, hold my stainless steel bottle for me and lets have a go at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. willowdot21 says:

    I am pretty much the same…
    One advantage I don’t often get asked to wash up.💜

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Charli Mills says:

    Recently the Hub broke a plate and it quartered into perfect wedges, thus he announced that he made us “pie plates.” Heavy-handedness is perhaps a common trait, but you make it seem fun and endearing!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Haha, Geoff, a most excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Obey gravity. It’s the law. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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