Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gravity, Thou Art a Heartless Bitch

The evil accomplice of Gravity
The villa where I live is surrounded by a six-foot-tall concrete wall. Because I live on the ground floor, I have my own gate to enter the villa with everyone else using a different gate that goes to the main foyer area.  The gate is wrought iron and tinted Plexiglas affair that is peaked at the top in the middle and then goes down lower on the sides. My gate is a double door that opens in the middle and is hinged on the side;  one panel is how I get in and out on a daily basis, the other panel has an additional lock that keeps it closed unless you specifically release it so that you can get a wide object through.  The public gate is just a single panel.

The way that you enter my gate from the outside is with the key. I am the only one who has that key, except for the housing office which is located in another part of town. Even my Haris does not have a key to my gate.  When you're on the inside going out, you push a blue button on the center of the gate and it releases an electronic lock which allows the door to open. The electronic lock is there to allow me to unlock the gate from inside the house if I've chosen to answer a knock on the door by using the intercom.  I have never used the intercom, choosing to just walk out my front door and open the gate to see whoever is ringing the doorbell.
All of this background is necessary to explain what happened around noon on Sunday.

The magic Blue Button
As I've mentioned before almost anything can be delivered in Kuwait, including services. It was time for Falkor to be groomed so I called the grooming place and they came by and picked him up to take him to their shop to do the deed. I'm not sure how much extra I actually pay for the pickup and delivery, but it is convenient. When the guy rang my doorbell I walked out the gate and handed the dog to him and signed the appropriate paperwork. When I turned to walk back into my house I found the gate closed and solidly locked. Since I did not plan on the gate being closed, I did not take my keys with me and therefore I was outside with no way to get back inside. Did I mention already that I am the only one with a key to that door? Aside from leaving my keys inside the house, I had also left my phone on my desk.
Not fretting over my situation too terribly, I had done this once before, I went across the street and retrieved my trashcan, and rolled it up to my gate.  Because of the height of the gate, I needed a boost from the trashcan in order to allow me the push myself over the top of the gate and lean in so that I could reach the blue button which would release the lock. Once the lock was released, I could push myself off of the top of the gate and then use the trashcan to step back down. This was a very un-complex and quick process.  Of course, that was the last time.
I positioned the trashcan to one side of the gate so that I could align myself with the lower portion of the gate.  I climbed up on the trashcan and thought momentarily about simply pulling myself up and over the wall itself realizing that because it had lights mounted in it I might accidentally kick the glass out of one of those or break it trying to scramble over. So I pushed myself up until my waist was even with the top of the gate and then leaned forward in order to reach down and push the blue button.  At this point, my entire weight is on the top of the gate as my feet no longer are no longer stabilized by the trashcan.  I pushed the button several times and it failed to release, so I shifted my weight so I would have a better angle to push the button and tried it again – – success.
The Gate taunting me
Because I had repositioned my weight, it also affected my balance and as the gate was no longer locked, it swung in with me on top of it.  As the gate began to swing open I could feel that I was losing balance and at any minute was going to come crashing over the top of the gate head first.  Perhaps I failed to mention this, but in front of the house is a span of the area with paving stones, and behind the six-foot wall is a wide walkway that is tiled. In other words, it is not a soft landing to fall on either side especially headfirst.  These thoughts occurred to me as I had a flashback to swinging on an open gate as a kid.
In an attempt to regain my balance, I shifted my weight back and lifted the upper part of my body up which caused me to start sliding off the top of the gate feet first. I expected to at some point feel the trashcan under my feet and did it momentarily as the trashcan decided it did not want to be what I landed on and slipped out of the way. As a result, I fell onto the small stoop that the gate was on and fell backward onto the paving stones giving me a terrific view of the gate as it slammed shut in front of me.
I could not help myself; I broke up laughing out loud. There are some things in life that are just so terrifically well-timed that you really wish a camera had been rolling – – this was one of them.  Regaining my composure, and hoping that none of my neighbors were watching, I stood up and made sure that everything worked.  Nothing felt broken, so I moved the trashcan back and attempted this once again.
I climbed up on the trashcan and pushed myself up on the gate – – balancing myself so that I could reach down and pushed the blue button, which I did. Nothing happened. I pushed the button several times and still, nothing happened.  Taking myself off the top of the gate, and then standing on the trashcan momentarily before I stepped off it and stood in front of the locked gate, I shook my head. I wondered if I had somehow broken the lock on the gate by it slamming so hard during the prior action. I stepped back and looked at the wall for a place that I might be able to climb over without taking out one of the security lights.
I reached down and grabbed the trashcan and pulled it upright and in the process banged it against the locked gate.  As I rolled the trashcan out of the way, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the gate opening on its own just a small crack.  It was taunting me. I quickly pushed the gate open wide and then released the lever on the other side so that both gates were swinging wide open and could not possibly relock themselves. Triumph!
I went inside and got my keys and then rolled the trashcan back across the street. I then entered the gate then closed and locked it up behind me making sure that the lock still worked. Finally, I went to the house and sat down in my recliner to laugh at myself again.
Sometimes things just happen.

Sir Isaac Newton, thy mistress Gravity is cruel
Post Script:  When I stood up from the recliner an hour or so later, I found it very difficult to walk due to the pain in my knee and leg.  It got worse as the day went on.  I took some Tylenol and tried to keep it off it for the rest of the day.  The following morning, I could not put any weight on my knee, so I went to the medical clinic to have it checked out.  It turns out that I sprained my ankle and tore the lateral meniscus [Link] in my knee (better than an ACL).  The doctor said it should be okay in about two weeks' time, but they took some x-rays to make sure I didn’t do anything else to me.

On the plus side, I did avoid getting a ticket for this whole thing.  After all, Gravity is the law – – you have to obey the law. (That line is funnier if you read it in the voice of Mr. Peabody [Link].)


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