|Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about the time I broke my leg?
Well, shortly after Chris and I opened our old massage business; we got a call from a colleague one day asking if we could come out to do some onsite work with her. You see she had a contract set up with The Gorge Amphitheater in George, WA. Needing to work as much as possible, we quickly agreed. We were to meet her at the Green Lake Starbucks so that we could follow her to the site in my truck.
It was a beautiful morning and we enjoyed the leisurely drive, with Chris showing me his old familiar camping spots as we traveled. Upon arrival our friend, Renee showed us where to set up and then left to go provide massage in the backstage area. Renee is a very sweet woman and a proficient therapist. In fact, she worked on Paul Simon one year. The next year he remembered her and invited him to stop by if she was ever in New York. Lo and behold, a few months later, there she sat having dinner with Paul and Edie. What a crazy life, eh?
But back to us. Where we’d set up shop was directly next to the one little store for people to buy snacks, beverages, cigarettes, etc. And apparently the prices were quite outrageous. We know this because, upon exiting, no one had any money left over for massage. We probably made about $50.00 between us, but we had a lot of fun hanging out talking to people. And we honestly weren’t too put out about it anyway since we had a free pair of tickets to go into the show.
One of my personal favorites, The Beta Band, was opening for Radiohead. So we closed up shop early, met up with some of our friends, and headed into the concert. There was a spectacular sunset framing the stage that evening, but once that sun went down, so did the temperature. I told Chris that I was going to go walk around for a minute or so to warm up and meandered across the grass to the aisle. Stepping down, I barely had time to register that I’d twisted my ankle before I heard the snap. Now, you know that if you can hear your bone snap over the volume achieved at most concerts, that it’s going to hurt.
But I didn’t feel much of anything, yet…except cold.
“NO. I’ve broken my leg! My boyfriend is about 10 feet that way. He’s a large guy with a long goatee. Please get him for me.”
Chris arrived in pretty short order. A friend of ours ran to get some ice, but by the time he’d gotten back two security guards had me in a basket hold and were traipsing across the concert with me. As they carried me, the guy on my right kept saying, “I don’t think I got a good hold. I think my hand’s gonna slip.”
Meanwhile, some woman who I can only assume was employed by The Gorge was running ahead of us shoving innocent concert goers. Yes, shoving. And not only the ones in the walkway; she was heartily shoving anyone who happened to be anywhere near the path…all the while yelling that we were coming through. Had I not been in a great deal of pain, it would have likely been quite amusing. According to Chris who was walking behind me, it was.
Eventually we made it up the hill and across the entire amphitheater to the exit where an ambulance was waiting. Finally, thought I. But no. This was the amphitheater’s first aid station. I was placed upon a gurney where someone quickly shoved papers into my hand. Wait, let me preface that by stating that I was shaking like a leaf at this point. When Chris put a blanket around me, I replied, “No it’s OK. I’m not cold. I’m just in shock.” He reassured me that this was, indeed, the reason for the blanket. So, yeah, I was a little out of it.
Anyway, back to the paper. What I thought was a permission to treat document was actually a waiver from The Gorge Inc. releasing them of liability. A waiver which I, in my great state of cognoscence, had to sign twice because I had placed my John Hancock in the wrong place. Yep, I was really able to sign away my rights there. Now don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely NOT the suing type. But it’s the principal of the thing that riles me up.
Well there I was, stripped of my ability for retribution, when a man in a nifty little lab coat started wrapping my ankle with an ace bandage. (AN ACE BANDAGE!) He slowly, loosely coiled the material up my leg and then couldn’t figure out how to affix the fabric to itself. So he started over. I looked at Chris. Chris looked at lab coat guy. Lab coat guy chatted it up.
“So what do you do?”
“We’re Massage Therapists.”
“Oh, wow. You could probably do this way better than I can.”
“Yeah, I work at a garage in Ballard. I’m just here on the weekends to make some extra money.”
Great. I was having my broken ankle wrapped in an ace bandage by an auto mechanic. My day was getting better all the time.
Well, after this delightfully inept and chatty first aide guy finished with my ankle, he hopped into the front of the ambulance and drove us to my truck, where we were hastily deposited, never to hear from any member of The Gorge staff again.
My truck. My lovely four-wheel-drive -gotta-use-both-feet truck. It looked like Chris was going to have to drive. Now we’d been avoiding this because Chris about a month before had been the recipient of a ticket for driving without current tabs – which was, ironically, part of why we were trying to make money at this venue. He had been one block from the DMV (to which he was headed) when stopped. This has been a running theme for him.
So anyway, we eventually figured out a way to get me into the passenger side and away we went. While leaving the amphitheater, Chris pulled up to the stop sign, came to a full and complete stop, and pulled out. Lights flashed behind us. We were just glad that I kept my paperwork in the truck. We had been stopped because the front license plate which I had obtained for the truck last week, had been riding around in the front window.
Now have you ever gone to put your plate on, only to have the bolt fall down into that nowhere space within the bumper? That is precisely what had happened to me. Thus the plate riding on the dashboard. Once Chris explained this to the police officer (as I writhed about trying not to lose my head) he let us go. We pulled away.
Again, there were flashing lights.
“Yes, it appears that you have an unpaid ticket which has led to the suspension of your driver’s license. You’re going to have to let the lady drive.”
“Her leg is broken. We’re going to the hospital.”
“I don’t think so. She looks drunk to me.”
No I was not intoxicated. But one can certainly see how hysterical might be confused for inebriated, right?
“She broke her leg. Look at it. Her ankle looks like a grapefruit.”
“Sir. If she cannot drive this vehicle, I will have to have it impounded.”
And that is what happened. We stood on the side of the highway as they impounded my truck. Then Officer Friendly gave us a ride back to where we had parked, in hopes of finding our friends once the concert let out.
More than an hour later people began to mill out from the gates, and we told those we knew, of our adventure. Someone gave us a ride to an ATM, where we pulled out $200 to get the truck out of hock. Two hours after impound, the lot attendant released the car to Chris, who drove us back to Seattle, rather than the Gorge hospital. We just wanted to put that town behind us.
I went, the next morning, to a clinic near our house, where I was informed that I did in fact have a spiral fracture of my fibula. I had to wear a walking cast for the next six weeks and couldn’t get up our office steps to work. So, I spent that summer sweating in the living room.
We went to Chris’ family gathering at the cabin that summer, where I enjoyed both crawling around in tents and peeing in the woods. Because I couldn’t run down to the dock with everyone, I got to sit next to the fireplace and hear the old stories as told by Chris’ grandmother and her brother, Chris. I watched as Great-uncle Chris and his wife of so many years, Dee, flirted like the nineteen year olds that they were when they married. I heard all about the old times when they were all kids eighty years ago. I got to cuddle with nieces and play card games with Maya. I had a very different reunion than the other family members my age. But it was rich, and it was a once in a lifetime experience.
I will never go to another concert at The Gorge. Since that summer, my left leg’s always been the week one. And I’ve rarely been so happy to get back to work. But I did get a pretty decent story or two out of the whole experience.
Links to other Monday Memories
Trackbacks, pings, and comment links are accepted and encouraged!
View More Monday Memories Participants