December 20, 2006

Twist and Shout

Walking to the Tube station yesterday morning I twisted my ankle. Didn’t think much of it after about 30 seconds and continued on my journey. I was on the way to my first UK dental appointment and had a lot on my mind – like possibly saying goodbye to this toothy smile. Reaching the dentist’s tube stop I took a wrong turn and went quite a distance in the wrong direction. Realising I was lost I called their office and learned that I had to hike back about a mile in the opposite direction. So, I ran.

Remarkably I arrived only ten minutes late if a bit sweaty. The appointment went super well. Turns out I don’t have any problems with my teeth and don’t even need a cleaning. The only worrying thing was that when they took an x-ray they didn’t cover me with a protective lead bib like they do in the US. “Your flight over here exposed you to 100 times more radiation than this machine. Plus, the new technology ensures that there is very little radiation exposure.” explained the dentist when I expressed concern. Okay, I’ll just knock a few minutes off the end of my life for that one.

Feeling very good about my gold star dental appointment I walked to the office which was about a mile up the road. For the next few hours I sat at the computer and then headed off to lunch with an associate. But upon standing after lunch my ankle was very painful. Suddenly I remembered I had twisted it and then walked 152 stairs down the tube station, run to the dentist, and then walked to work. Maybe I should have taken a bit of care of this key joint.

After work I had a dinner date with Simone and her kids. Hobbling to the tube I made it to their stop and then of course had to do some window shopping. Clearly my priorities were blinded by that must-shop affliction associated with the holidays. Stepping down on the curb I twisted the darn ankle again. Now I was really in bad shape.

Late that evening, after numerous calls to various cab companies, we finally secured a ride back to my flat. Yet again I had learned the lesson of not having cash on hand and only a credit card. The cab driver had to stop at an ATM machine. After hobbling across the street and dodging several cars and buses I reached the cash point and of course it was broken. The next option was going into the grocery store to buy something and get cash back. Can of Heinz tomato soup in hand and £40 richer (or is it poorer) I hobbled back to the cab much to the driver’s relief.

Of this entire story the good news is that the ride from Simone’s cottage to our flat was only 20 minutes including the cash stop. I had never done the journey above ground. The tube trip is one hour. Cab fare was £11 plus £2 tip (to which the driver expressed concern for such a huge tip.) Frankly, it was cheap, fast and cheerful. Plus, I realised how close I live to Simone. This city feels so big when you travel by Tube but when you walk, take the bus or cab you realise it is not that large. Unless of course you’ve double twisted your ankle.