Low dives

Since starting an old folks’ exercise programme a few months ago, I have become more supple … perhaps.  At least it seems that way, as I can now bend over and pick things up off the floor without puffing and going red in the face.  Mind you, if I am trying to tie my shoelaces without putting my foot up on a stool, the creaking of the knee joints alarms all those within hearing distance.

Recently I accompanied my wife to a nearby town where she intended to go clothes shopping.  My patience in these matters is legendary and is one of the few occasions when I receive unstinting praise from a female.  I put my patience down to all those years when I sat for hours on end in courts of law waiting for cases to be called.  Sometimes I sat with my mind elsewhere for days at a time and was well paid for it.

Upon reaching the clothes shop, my wife found many more items to try on than was usual.  I suggested that I might pop around the corner for a coffee while she took her time.  She agreed and I went to a pleasant nearby establishment.  It was a fine sunny day but unfortunately, all the outside tables were occupied, so I couldn’t enjoy first-hand the aromatic diesel fumes wafting around the footpath where lucky coffee aficionados could inspect the passing traffic at close range.  Instead, I sat on a high stool at a counter just inside the shop, where windows opened out onto the footpath and one had an uninterrupted view of the back of other peoples’ heads.

restaurant-man-person-coffeeAs I sipped my coffee and ate the unnecessary but obligatory muffin – savoury in the belief that it was less fattening than the sweet ones, a zephyr of air thrown up by a passing concrete truck gently wafted my paper serviette off my plate and onto the floor.   Clearly, common sense dictated that to pick it up, I should climb down from my stool.  Instead, confident of my new suppleness, I decided to pick it up by bending over from the stool.   To be fair I did take a firm grasp of the counter with my right hand while bending to the left. My first grab was about 6 inches too high. Accordingly, I moved my backside about three quarters off the stool and with a small amount of cheek still anchored to the slippery leather surface, I again bent over as far as I could.  As my fingers touched the serviette the stool whisked off to the right departing contact with the remainder of my behind.  I frantically threw my feet towards the floor and with arms flailing went to the left.  I succeeded in not crashing to the floor by crashing into a nearby wall instead, taking down a baby’s highchair that stood alongside.  Fortunately, no baby was in residence.

My gymnastic abilities were well appreciated by the other patrons of the coffee shop.  No one applauded but a few laughed and one kind lady enquired solicitously whether I had hurt myself.  I left the coffee bar shortly afterwards with the little dignity I could still muster.  ‘Have a nice day,’ the proprietor called after me.

clothing, shop, storeBack at the dress shop, I looked for my wife.  She was nowhere to be seen and all the changing booths were occupied.  They had doors that were of a height where you could see the tops of the occupants’ heads and the occasional waving arm caught in a piece of clothing.  After forty plus years of marriage, I had no trouble identifying the top of my dear wife’s head and went over.  Standing outside the door, I said in a loud voice, ‘How are you getting on?  Do you need me to come in and assist you?’

My wife poked her head out of a cubicle several along from where I was standing. “Who are you talking to?’ she enquired.  ‘No, this idiot is my husband,’ she continued to the shop assistant, who was approaching at speed.  Having established that I was a customer’s misplaced husband rather than a random peeping pervert I was led firmly, but kindly, to the chair on the other side of the shop reserved for troublesome men.

My wife bought several items and told me she was having a successful day.’ Me too,’ I lied. I let her take me out for an uneventful lunch where we sat safely on low chairs.


By Terry Carson.

If you like Terry’s work, you can read more from him here.