An accident waiting to happen.
“No,” I answer indignantly, “The wall did not jump out at me. It was the door.”
His parting words to me each day are not the generic “Have a good day” or even “I love you”, but “Don’t hurt yourself”.(Nie zrób sobie krzywdy”)
He knows me well.
I am a danger not only to myself, but also to the things around me. I just don’t know my own strength. I have a special acuity for breaking things especially handles, knobs, buttons and levers.
First, we must know 2 things. Toilets in America and toilets in Poland have a slightly different flushing mechanism. The amount of force needed to engage the flush is also slightly different. You may never have thought about it, but your body carries with it the memory of this (toilet-flushing, door-closing, etc.) force. For that reason, you tap on your computer keyboard and not pound. You close the fridge door lightly and not slam. You flush with the force necessary as found in your tactile memory to make the water come down, but not enough to rip the toilet from the wall.
So, I always flushed with just the right amount of force until the day I exited my parents-in-law’s bathroom, eyes looking guiltily at the floor, clutching the broken flusher in my hand. My father-in-law tried to fix it, several times in fact, but somehow I managed to break it again-the action in my hand always overriding the order from my brain, don’t break the toilet, don’t break the toilet, don’t break the toilet. In the end, they had to buy a new toilet…with a different flushing mechanism which remains to this day intact despite my many visits there.
The door handle to their bathroom has not been so lucky. First in my defense, in the US we mostly have door knobs and not handles. These handles have always caused me problems. Often I cannot get a door to close properly, and I usually let it open, except for the bathroom…at my parents-in-law’s. That’s a place I need to close the door. And with my closing, so went the door handle not once but twice, unto countless times. Fortunately, the door can be closed by grasping the lock lever (which I will never use for its intended purpose as I would surely become imprisoned in there) and pulling tightly.
Sigh, if only my accidents were limited to home. I recently removed the door handle from the bathroom at my gynecologist’s office to which he swore that it had been broken earlier that day and he hadn’t had time to fix it yet. Yeah right.
The most embarrassing of my accidents (so far) had to be in a bank. Well, not in the bank but in the offices of the holding company that owned the bank. Of course, the office was all very elegant, at that time located in a tastefully renovated brownstone, complete with a lot of sexy glass doors….with door handles. It’s funny how they always seem to come in pairs, doors and their handles.
Anyhow, I finished my lesson on the top floor and decided not to take the elevator down but to walk instead. I didn’t want to be lazy, and I also have problems with elevators. As I pulled on the door handle of the sexy, glass, floor-to-ceiling doors, a strange but familiar thing happened. The door stayed put, and the handle came with me. I knelt down and tried to put it back on giving quick glances behind me to check if anyone had seen me through all those damn glass doors. I tried and tried to put it back on, but jeez I’m not MacGyver. I had no choice, but to turn myself in.
I descended the staircase running through some possible explanations in my head. As I got to the bottom of the staircase, I was met by the security guard. I sheepishly showed him the handle in my hand. He asked me, “Co się stało?” as if I were his daughter showing him my empty ice cream cone with the ice cream melting at my feet on the sidewalk. I handed him the handle and said, “Nie znam swojej siły”, and then I escaped!
Know your own strength!
PS Door in Polish is plural. Doors are…Drzwi są even when you are talking about one door. My husband kept me quiet one whole evening by asking me how to say 10 doors in Polish. Dziesięć drzwi. Dzisięcioro drzwi. How about Dziesięć par drzwi….but wouldn’t that mean 20? Oh cholera, who cares?!?