Entertainment

Friday 2 December 2016

Let's face it, I'll never be a tightrope walker

Published 14/09/2015 | 02:30

When I was a kid I used to do a lot of handstands. In fact, I spent a fair bit of time upside down. I remember one teacher coming into the classroom clapping her hands and screaming about the whole school seeing my knickers. Handstands, headstands, balancing tricks.

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I watch The Cube, and when it comes to the balancing games I think to myself how easy it looks. Then again I think that about Wimbledon too, and I haven't played tennis in years.

My Dad used to walk around the house on his hands and open doors with his feet. Not all the time, of course. That would have been weird even by our standards, but I do remember him doing it. He was double-jointed and I'm double-jointed. So balance was never an issue. Until recently that is. My balance is going. And wine doesn't help. There are times when I feel fine. Perfectly sober. Just a few glasses. And my legs start to go in opposite directions. I'm speaking perfectly (I think) and my brain is functioning perfectly (I think) but the legs are a law unto themselves. Ladies who lurch.

In my Pilates class, I'm the worst ever. "Stand on one leg" the instructor says. I try, but find myself veering off to one side. I look around and they are all standing like flamingos. "Now close your eyes" he says. Now I'm heading for the mat next to me and the people nearby are beginning to look terrified. I can see the instructor looking pityingly at me and smiling in a 'she's a lost cause' sort of way.

I was on a rib going over to an island in West Cork recently and we had to step from rib to rib to get to the correct one. The fear that came over me was overwhelming. Before, I would have just hopped like everyone else but on this occasion I became like a bumbling child. Summoning up all my strength to find my balance and in the end having to be helped. Pathetic sight. It's not that I want to join the circus or anything, but just stay upright and endeavour to be vaguely elegant. Maybe those days are over and everyone will start to see my knickers.

Sunday Independent

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