Don't ask how it happened, because I honestly don't know. I was running with my husband in Troyes on Sunday morning when we rounded a corner and suddenly gravity got the better of me.
As I fell, I saw the phone I'd been holding go hurtling out into the street just in front of a passing car. Then, in the moment of helpless clarity that accompanies my stupidest accidents, I knew my face was headed for the pavement. I had enough time to think with dismay "not the head, oh no, not the head..." but no time to order my limbs to do anything about it.
Boom. Ouch. I pulled myself up to my knees, my husband retrieved the telephone from the street (in three separate pieces but otherwise working -- those Blackberries are tough) and came back to look at me with a gasp. I looked terrible, but I was doing pretty well for someone who had just been hit over the head with a section of sidewalk. My husband called the medics, and several passersby stopped to help as I sat on the curb, a Kleenex pressed between my eyes and a ring of stars circling my head.
In no time at all an ambulance arrived and three handsome firefighters solicitously helped me inside. I was thankful I'd made a slight effort to put on nice-looking running clothes that morning, and decided to tell my single girlfriends that a minor sports injury may be a very good way to meet attractive men.
"Where are you from?" they each asked in turn.
"See-ah-tul," I said, making sure to pronounce my hometown à la française. One of the men's faces lit up, for he knew the city well from watching Gray's Anatomy. I didn't tell him that my knowledge of American pop culture has so suffered in six years of living in Paris that I didn't even know the series was set back home. It turned out that he played American football, too, and had named the Troyen team the French equivalent of "Seahawks" in honor of his favorite American city.
I was whisked through the streets of Troyes, the siren sounding at each intersection, to be led minutes later into the ER. One of the firefighters pulled up a rolling chair for me while the others chatted with the hospital staff about the wait. "I hope you don't have any plans this afternoon," one joked. As suspected, I'd been rushed across town just to wait for hours to see a doctor.
Three hours, two x-rays, some surgical glue and a short list of prescriptions later, I was free to go. My nose is slightly broken, but other than a very bad headache that miraculously disappeared overnight, I'm OK. I was warned that as the swelling on my forehead went down, the blood would drain to the area around my eyes and give me an attractive double black eye. Sure enough, this morning I came to work with two yeux au beurre noir, earning the pity, disbelief and amusement of my colleagues in equal measure.