Day Eleven - A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Riding horses near Red Lodge, MT, May 2003.
I have many insecurities, but today, let's address my lack of physical coordination.
I can't seem to find any pictures of me being a klutz (maybe because I'm usually the one taking pictures when I'm out with a group, or because any friend that does have a picture of me falling over has been kind enough not to show it to me), but good lord, I'm tripping & falling & knocking things over all the time - stumpy little legs & Tyrannosaurus Rex arms flailing every which way.
The day this picture was taken, the horse I was riding suddenly decided it wanted to lay down....while I was riding it. As the ground got closer, the reptilian sliver of my brain that was supposed to be covering basic survival instincts must've been jostled awake from its midday siesta (after napping through the portion of the day where I was allowed to get on a horse in the first place), because without consciously processing what was happening, just before the horse rolled over onto its back (again, with me still sitting on it) I leapt off and all the horse managed to crush was one of my shoes as I rolled away. Mary - 1, Horse - 0 (well, or whatever a slightly crushed shoe is worth).
Except, well, "leapt" is too graceful a term to describe what went down. Basically, I happened to fall off the horse at the same time I was trying to kick my legs free from the stirrups, so maybe it kind-of, sort-of looked like I jumped? Doubtful. When I hit the ground, I followed my first instinct, which was to run away from the horse (to quote my friend Will, "I'm a runner, not a fighter"), leaving my sorry shoe behind. And when I got a little ways up the hill and looked back, the horse was blissfully rolling around on its back like a cat with a ball of yarn, and my riding companions (including our stoic, up-until-that-point-virtually-nonverbal cowboy guides) were laughing their asses off. "I've never seen one do that before."
For my next trick, I had to get back on the horse. To get some idea of what this looked like, picture a hobbit trying to mount the Trojan Horse. My fat little legs couldn't swing over the back of that damn horse to save my life, and my chubby little t-rex arms lacked anything approaching enough upper-body strength to hoist me up. Over and over I'd put one foot in a stirrup and try to flop myself up onto that horrible animal, only to wind up kicking the horse in the side or losing my balance and falling off again.
Eventually, one of the cowboys took pity on me and came over to help. As my friends laughed so hard they were nearly crying, the cowboy maneuvered us so I'd use the natural incline of the slope beside us to get a little vertical advantage. After a few minutes of watching me hopping around the stirrups like a deranged kangaroo, it was clear we still weren't getting anywhere. Finally, the poor guy had to literally boost me up like I was a blobby little toddler, getting me just high enough so I could get a leg over the saddle.
It was humiliating and, yes, hilarious. If I'd been watching, I would've been laughing, too. Heck, I was laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, unless my memory's just making that part up so I don't feel so stupid about the whole thing. The thing about being a klutz is, it's a lot easier to get over looking like an idiot if you learn to laugh it off.