Twist And Shout

Pam’s ankle. I don’t have photographic evidence of my injury. No camera phones in those days.

One of the things that I love about Facebook is that if someone who was in your fifth grade class a few (ahem) years back goes into a clothing store to return a few things, twists her ankle, runs head-first into a jeans display, and knocks over two torso mannequins and a large pile of jeans, the next day I get to see her post with a picture of the aftermath, along with the full story. And then join her other friends in offering both sympathy and mockery.

I do hope Pam is recuperating nicely. At least she’s being a good sport about it. I do kind of wish she had some video of it, though. I wonder if it was caught on any security cameras. Ankle injuries are a bitch. In high school, my brother slid into third base and badly sprained his ankle, and usually all it took was a little alcohol and some stupidity for him to reaggravate it.

Until she got home and took off her boot, Pam didn’t realize how swollen hers was. I know how that works.

One summer in college, a group of friends and I were Friday night regulars at a bar called Charlie’s. It wasn’t in the heart of Aggieville, the main party place in Manhattan, Kansas, but adjacent to campus on kind of a quiet corner. The usual crowd was my roommate, Terri, and our friends Tina, Joe, Yui, and some other people I can’t remember. We met Tina because Terri didn’t like her and threatened to rip her head off one night. (Terri was about 5’3″ and 100 pounds.) Joe, an architecture student recently retired from the Navy, was old and wise at age 24, and smoothed things over between them, and Tina became part of our crowd. Yui was Joe’s roommate from Japan. Joe called him “Dave” because he couldn’t pronounce his full name. In retrospect, that may have been somewhat inappropriate.

One Friday night we were having a lot of fun. Later in the night I was dancing with someone. The dance floor was raised, which isn’t a particularly good idea. Thinking about it, I wonder if it’s too late to sue? Anyway, when you’ve had a drink or two, and it’s dark, and you forget that you have to step DOWN to get off the dance floor, you can do quite a number on your ankle. I recall that it hurt, but I don’t think I realized how much. I had a little alcohol-induced anesthetic going on.

After I sat down at our table it started to throb. I think someone made the decision that I needed to go home. I don’t know how I got out to the car. I don’t think I could walk. I do know that Yui drove me home because he asked an awkward question about whether “nationality” mattered to me when it came to dating someone. I don’t remember what I said. I do know that I woke up with a wicked hangover and my ankle was swollen to twice its normal size and varying colors of black, blue and green. It was grotesque.

I was scheduled to work the afternoon shift as a hostess at Bonanza, one of those family style steak joints with a massive salad bar. I hated that job, but had never called in sick before. But seeing as I couldn’t walk, I had no choice. I know I was on crutches for a few days, though I can’t remember how I acquired them. I think I skipped the dance floor the next weekend.

Charlie’s has the distinction of being the only bar I’ve ever been both carried out of and thrown out of. The latter happened a couple of years later in drunken episode fueled by pre-partying with cheap rum. All I did was lay down on a table. The spaz of a bartender acted as if I was passed out or something. I was just tired.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012


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