I ventured out this evening for Photo-Synthesis, an exhibition of graduate work by photoimaging students from the Southbank Institute of Technology, and featuring a very fine collection by my friend Aurelie.
I had helped Aurelie out by writing up a media release for the group, and forwarding it on to a few contacts in an attempt to drum up publicity. I don't know if it did much good, but I was nonetheless rewarded for my efforts on arrival with a basket containing chocolates and a bottle of red wine.
But I was not three minutes into my perusal of the ground floor folios in West End's Flipbook Gallery when something happened - and the bottle went crashing to the concrete floor. It tumbled down in slow motion, before shattering, and oozing its blood-red cab-sav contents right underneath a folio containing a big photo of a cute blonde flowergirl throwing rose petals to the ground.
It was my very own, very embarrassing art installation.
Now I was quite tired (it's been a busy week on little sleep), and the carrier bucket was probably not the safest of containers for glass bottles. It was also busy in the gallery, and I may have been bumped, or trying to avoid being bumped into when "The Droppening" occurred.
But let's not forget the primary reason that things like this happen to me - I am Girl Clumsy. The nickname exists for a very good reason. I am a hulking, lumbering maladroit completely lacking in spatial awareness and balance. Of course I smashed the bottle.
This knowledge of my own destiny to be the bearer of broken vino vessels didn't stop me feeling horribly embarrassed. I frantically attempted to scoop up all the broken glass and errant Cadbury Favourites into the bucket. I had shoved my handbag into the arms of my friend Wade, who was looking at the mess beneath him with some confusion, and mild distaste (Wade does distaste beautifully. He can sour your hopes and dreams with a look. I can write that here because Wade doesn't read this blog. It's become a game for me. The more I egg him to read it; the more other things he has to do. He'll even come and watch performance art with me; but he won't read my articles. He is indeed a conundrum, wrapped in a riddle, and clad in a distressed The Presets t-shirt).
Luckily Wade's partner Susan is an Action Babe, and rushed to get help - napkins, mops, buckets, oh my. She tried to get me to stop picking up glass for fear of injury. But I was so terribly self-conscious, I just wanted to get it cleaned up as quickly as possible. Sure enough, I eventually realised that my right hand was covered in a different shade of red liquid, and with a girl on scene with a mop, I figured it was a good time to hit the bathroom to run my hand under the water. I eventually cleaned out most of the nicks and Susan helped me put band-aids on my teeny wounds (I had the band-aids in my handbag. Clumsiness eventually begets Preparedness).
Honestly, I wish I could be more graceful. Grace would have enabled me to safely carry that bottle all night. As it was, I felt like I'd spoiled all the good work I'd done, and wasted a lovely present the students got me Everyone moved on, and no one was angry with me, but I couldn't shake the feeling of frustration with myself.
Later in the evening, I was chatting to one of the other girls graduating and displaying their work. I relayed the story of how I'd smashed the bottle. A bit later again, I gave her one of my business cards, which lists this here blog as my web presence.
"Hah, Girl Clumsy," she said, looking at details on my card. "Are you very clumsy then?"
I looked at her. "I just dropped a bottle of wine at a public art event, then cut myself trying to clean it up," I said. "Of course I'm bloody clumsy!"
I wonder if there's some sort of insurance policy I could take out to cover injuries to myself and others incurred by my gross ineptitude at everyday activities such as walking and standing.