Awkward fist bump

By Mir
November 15, 2012

So. Physical therapy continues to be… a mixed bag. On the one hand (hand! HA!), I absolutely see where my mobility is improving and by all accounts, my hand is healing (even if it’s a lot slower than I would like). On the other hand, I kind of hate going there. It takes a lot of time out of my day and it often frustrates me and I always feel crummy afterward.

Plus, I don’t think of myself as particularly vain—I stopped coloring my hair, I rarely wear makeup—but spending an hour or two staring at the big nasty scar on the back of my hand (and the associated swelling which is STILL making it impossible to wear my wedding rings, boohoo) isn’t exactly making me feel pretty. Not that I don’t love evoking giggling compliance from Monkey when he’s being ornery by intoning, “YOU WILL OBEY THE ZOMBIE HAND!” and grabbing his face (what, like you wouldn’t?), you understand, but still.

Basically, it’s a necessary evil, and I do it, and I yearn for the day when my hand therapist checks me over, measures my fingers (she is forever measuring the angles between my knuckles, ostensibly to chart mobility progress, but I suspect she’s building a duplicate hand out of gerbils in a basement lab somewhere), and says, “Good work. You’re done.”

The time before last when I went in, I ended up being there for almost two hours. The room was packed; apparently hand/arm injuries are popular this time of year. So this week when I went in, I brought my laptop just in case I ended up with a bunch of “sit here with this on your hand” time. We started off with the heat pack wrap, again, and I managed to get a little bit of work done, one-handed, while my gimpy hand warmed up. After that, though, it was time to Do Things, so I put my computer away and obediently crumpled up that same damn scarf twenty times, then headed over to a station where the goal is to roll a dowel seventy trillion times as it winds up a rope on one end.

[Supposedly this is about stretching your fingers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a hidden camera and somewhere there exists a highlight reel of Otherwise Normal People Rolling Up A Rope Over And Over Just Because We Told Them To.]

So I’m standing there at the dowel, rolling, and the station right in front of me is a thing that looks like an exercise bike, but it’s for your hands. And there’s a woman “pedaling” on that, and we smile at each other, the fellow-gimps-unite-while-we-do-stupid-therapeutic-things smile, and then she says to me, “How did you hurt your hand?”

“I broke it making apple crisp,” I replied, automatically, as I do. She raised her eyebrows and I launched into a brief description of the Dreaded Apple Peeler’s Flight, and she nodded.

“Woulda coulda shoulda?” she said. And I said something like “I guess so” thinking to myself Huh, interesting, how funny that she would use that phrase, right? And then because it must’ve been clear that I hadn’t gotten what she was trying to say—because I am dense—she continued, “My sister reads your blog. I’ve seen a picture of your x-ray! And when you wrote about physical therapy she called me up and said, ‘I wonder if you go to the same place.'”

Oh. Right. THAT’s why she said that, and I totally just thought she was making conversation. Because I am slow and shouldn’t be allowed to interact with other humans without a couple of computer screens between us.

Thankfully, she was a total sweetheart, and chatting made the rest of our torture routines go by a lot more quickly. We compared injuries—she’d broken her wrist in a car accident, which I assured her was MUCH more badass than breaking a hand on an apple—and I expressed jealousy over her titanium wrist plate because I have boring old stainless steel. (I feel certain that titanium is way more bionic.) Eventually we ended up sitting back at the tables where the therapists sit across from us and wrangle our limbs, and we chatted a little more, and then it was time for her to leave. Turns out it was her “graduation” day, so I congratulated her and totally considered offering a high-five, but given all of the hand and wrist injuries in the room, thought better of it. So I may or may not have offered up a pantomime of a fist bump, just in case the previous thirty minutes or so of my awkward, dorky babbling hadn’t made it clear that I am completely socially inept.

After she left, my therapist asked how we knew each other. “Oh,” I said, face reddening against my will. “We don’t. I mean, we just met. Crazy thing, I blogged about coming here? And her sister reads my blog, I guess, and so when I told her I broke my hand on an apple she recognized me. Isn’t that funny?”

“Oh, I want to read your blog!” she said. “You told me last time you blog and I didn’t write it down. Tell me again.”

“Sure,” I said, smiling. “It’s”



  1. Liz

    HAHAHAHAHA…. telling her about wantnot is practically giving her an early christmas present.

  2. Petunia

    You little stinker :)

  3. Damsel

    I laughed out loud all the way through this post!!!

  4. el-e-e

    Excellent. :)

  5. Diane

    You goof.

    Is there a handbook for meeting people in real life who “know” you from your blog? Outside of meeting other bloggers at a conference, where everyone understands.

    If there is a handbook, I think “awkward” should simply be part of the socially acceptable ettiquete – an expected, nay a welcome part of the whole process.

  6. Karen.

    Outstanding. :)

  7. Navhelowife

    Thanks for a good laugh on a grey and cold day!

  8. deva at deva by definition

    This entry made me smile and laugh. I am glad your hand is healing, even if it is slowly.

  9. Karen R

    Bad Mir. Bad, bad, bad Mir.


    That last sentence requires a beverage warning.

  10. dad

    Me thinks that this proves you would fail the “socially inept” licensing exam.

  11. Pat

    But if she searches she will find you. Took me only 2 minutes @ to dig it out. As always…Love your blog!!

  12. Angela S

    Mwaahahaha! That is great!

  13. kimmie

    All I keep thinking is….’Freakin apple…..’ LOL

  14. Headless Mom


    Literally laughed out loud.

  15. Dawn

    hahahahaha love it! And you!

    Thanks to a jerk driving the wrong way on the highway, I have had surgery, plates, bone grafts and all manner of PT for my gimpy foot. Instead of the scarf and dowel, I got to scrunch up a towel and pick up marbles off the floor with my toes. Now there’s a skill that will serve me well – maybe I should put it on my resume: “Able to transfer 30 marbles from the floor to a bowl with my toes in under 5 minutes.” ;)

  16. Elizabeth

    Dawn! I had foot surgery and will probably have to do PT soon. I’m scared now.

  17. Rachael Swain

    bahahaha!! That is AWESOME!!!

  18. brigitte

    Heh! she will still find THIS one, but hopefully get turned on to some shopping first!

  19. Tracy B

    And now, I feel, so….honored to have access to you and your blog! It’s not for just ANYone. :) I really hope your hand is better soon—got lots of presents to wrap and stuff…you know! :)

  20. My Kids Mom

    OK, you totally have to have a post now about proper etiquette for meeting you in real life. What would not feel weird? I mean, we know all about your divorce and marriage, good, sad and bad things that happen to you and your family, and we do feel like we know you. But you don’t know that much about most of us. So, what is appropriate?

    [Mir here: I would totally write that post if I had any idea what to say. I have no idea what’s appropriate. It’s weird because I’m awkward and I never expect someone to come up to me in “real life,” and I don’t know how that’s mitigated other than by me learning how to be less of a dork. So… yeah.]

  21. CuriousCat

    hmmm. since you talked business (i.e., during your PT, can you write that co-pay off as a business expense?

  22. karen

    LOLOL… My blog is itty bitty compared to yours, and only a few times here in town I’ve had people say to either myself or my husband… Hey, how’s it working out with the new Rescue dog? or…getting gas at the station, a man I don’t know looks at my credit card and says “My wife made those awesome oreo cupcakes you blogged about, they’re great!”. uh… ok then!… It’s weird, isn’t it? Small small world.

  23. Theresa

    Oh my gosh! I laughed so hard at the end, I almost spit coffee on my computer screen. (I think some went up my nose). The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking…”Oh no, oh no, oh no!” Thank goodness you had another place to send her.

    Tee hee hee!

  24. Karen in Michigan

    I sent my boss to your blog. He had autistic twins. I figured your experiences might help him and his wife. And maybe get a laugh at the same time.

  25. Berni

    I just had rotator cuff repair surgery done and I haven’t even graduated to physical therapy yet:( I did have some therapy before the surgery and learned very useful things like how to roll a spiderman ball on the wall!

  26. Corey

    Yeah, I met Heather Armstrong in a hotel pool on a tiny island in Mexico. And I was completely awkward (as always). Like, I can’t even make small talk with you because I know so much about your life. So embarrassing. So if I ever run into you in real life, it will be the most awkward thing ever.

  27. Another Dawn

    I get the reluctance to reveal the blog to people you know in real life. At least you were friendly. The one time I ran into a “known” blogger in real life, she looked at me as if she expected I would pull a gun on her and stared at me with unbridled, hostile GO AWAY vibes. She lives in the US but was born and raised here and mentions it, and her father, who is locally very well known, frequently on the blog. What did she expect would happen when she came ‘home’ for Christmas? And I approached her all Canadian-like and quietly and politely asked if she was ‘her’ and said I really liked her blog. I didn’t ask for her first-born, or sit down and try to have a cozy chat. It was just a drive-by (walk-by?) compliment. What does she do to people who tell her they don’t like it?

    But I have no issues. Oh, no. Not me.

  28. Nancy

    I had forgotten all about wantnot! How could this happen? So many years of reading and I lost track. Anyway, I bought my boyfriend’s Christmas presents in the last 2 minutes! The dremmel – which we should have bought but borrowed for the kitchen and bath re-dos, and the bike hangy thingys – perfect for the garage! Or for the storage unit when we move and have no garage! Thanks to you I’m at least 1/2 way done shopping.

  29. Jeanie


  30. Sara

    It never occurred to me to do the blog equivalent of the fake phone number. Hmm…I may need to start a second blog…

    This post has left me with a question: Is there a market for prosthetic hands made from gerbils? Ooohhh…fuzzy! And rodent-y!

  31. Stephanie ODea

    so so funny. love it. I hate it that your hand still hurts, though.

  32. Jessica

    I’m so inept with people I “know” but don’t really know (famous people, blog people) that I just nudge my husband and say, “Hey! That’s so-and-so!” And then I hide, even though they don’t know who I am and probably wonder why I’m lurking around corners, but then I realize that the only thing we really have in common is their fame (or their personal lives blog, for bloggers, which ends up being even weirder), and how do you even begin to make conversation with “Hey! You’re famous [a blogger]!” ? I’m sure they know that about themselves already. And I have this favorite singer that I’ve been within extremely close distance on many occasions, but I haven’t even spoken to him in person. My husband says that’s odd, but I am not a fan-girl, so I don’t fawn, so…what DO you talk to with someone you know a lot about, but they know nothing about you? It’s just…weird.

  33. Nancy R

    I’d be jealous of the titanium too. She now has reason to belt out “I AM TIIIITAAANIIIIIUUMMMM!”

  34. elz

    Bwah ha ha. Glad to see that the apple crisp did not take any of your humor away!

  35. liv

    lol! love! :)

  36. Stimey

    This post makes me love you a lot.

  37. Aimee

    LOL. That’s awesome.

  38. elinor may

    I just found your blog and started reading through your different posts and the links to other spots on the web where you write. It will take a while to make my way through, but thus far I really like your style. It’s funny and very personal, as if you were talking to your friend over coffee or a cocktail. Very easy going.

    In regard to this post (and the sister post on…for me, I find running into someone I don’t know well – and since your readers “know” you but you don’t know them, I put your ‘relationship’ with them into the category of “those you don’t know well” – at a doctor’s office, the dentist, PT, or frankly anywhere when I have something I need to do just awkward. Period. I just have other things on my mind – medical exams, blood tests, contact lenses, etc. So you are not awkward at all. It’s just an awkward situation. It may not feel awkward for everyone, but I bet there are many folks out there who would agree with me. Some people are comfortable in all situations, and the rest of us aren’t!

    Thank you for putting yourself out there and I look forward to more.


  39. Lulu

    I think you’ll know you’re nearly ready to graduate from PT when they start making you do sit-ups. All PT roads lead to sit-ups. Seriously.

    I can be socially awkward even with people I know pretty well, and I’ve mortified myself in blog comments and interacting with authors at writing conferences. It’s best if I just keep quiet…

  40. JennyA

    I’m so cluelessly bad about putting faces with names that if we were ever in the same place at the same time, I’d probably be that weirdo staring at you covertly (and likely failing miserably at the “covertly” part and just giving you the wiggins instead) and thinking “HOW do I KNOW her????” And if it did ever actually dawn on me, I would be too socially inept to say anything, so after staring creepily at you, I would probably turn red and scuttle away guiltily. Why guiltily? I don’t know. I am way too meek. But hey, at least I’m going to inherit the earth, right?

    (I think you need to acquire Gerbil Hand. Gerbil Hand might be obeyed more assiduously than Zombie Hand. Or… ZOMBIE GERBIL HAND.)

  41. Brigid

    Heh. Just wait until she figures you out. THAT next appointment will be torture. Plain and simple. :)

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