“Amy, straighten your right elbow all the way,” the pint sized instructor called into the microphone.
Looking up from my position bent parallel to the floor, I froze mid-tricep extension and caught a glimpse in the mirror of my crooked elbow bent up to the sky. I smiled at her and shook my head no.
“That’s right!,” she mouthed enthusiastically and gave me a wink.
And right there I was snapped back. . .
Back to a time when I was a hot-headed nineteen-year-old who thought it was not important to be able to bend and straighten her right arm.
I was a freshmen in college and had just fallen and broken my elbow due to a toxic combination of chunky Steve Madden platforms and Natty Ice beer. (Throw in SAE late nights and a cute lacrosse player nursing it with ice, forget it, there was no going to the hospital promptly for me.)
By the time I’d started physical therapy, there was so much scar tissue that my arm was completely stiff like a Barbie’s. (Finally! Like a Barbie! Except our similarities stopped with freakish immobile limbs.)
I spent the summer between my freshmen and sophomore years being tied to a table like Frankenstein (to bend), being hung by a pole (to straighten), while literally crying and screaming in pain three days a week and popping pain pills when I got home. (Fun!)
“I’m not doing it anymore!” I would scream to Nanny. Yes, scream. And slam doors. Especially one time in particular when I wanted to skip my three sessions to go on a road trip with my friends back to the scene of the crime. (Smart!) “I’m fine! I don’t need it! Look!” And I would try to life my forearm with all of my might getting it up to, at most, a slight “c.” I was always slightly ambidextrous, I could eat with my left hand. I never wore a bra and was fine with a future of never snapping one. I was even getting used to my new life of party tricks, placing a red silo cup in my hand and trying to drink from it, a frat boy’s version of dangling a carrot.
. . . And there I was this morning at bar class. Able to do pushups. Able to bend and straighten my right elbow, mostly. I am able to hold you guys and carry you.
How stupid was I, I thought. Thank god I didn’t listen to me. . .
Outside in the parking lot I walked right up to a sparkling black Lexus RX and clicked on my key to open it. Nothing. Point click. Nothing. Point click. Nothing.
Then in a moment of shock and horror I realized, that’s not my car! I thought this stuff only happened in commercials!
I spun around with my eyes wide in disbelief looking for our banged up Mazda.
There it is.
When you are young you are dumb because you think you know everything, babies. Trust me, you do not.
When you are older, you are smart because you realize that you know so little. You approach life open, trying to figure it out, mindlessly walking up to cars that are light years nicer than yours in the parking lot, still hoping to learn.