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Misstep and Mangled

I read as much as the next person. And the person next to that person and the next person over and the two hiding in the corner as well. So when the Limerick City Library decided to host a reading group, I thought I would check it out.The aim of the group is to introduce people to the classics. Over 23 weeks we will read Ulysses by James Joyce. Some assistance and lectures will be provided by the English Department at Mary Immaculate College. But mostly we are on our own. We are going to meet every two weeks or so.

From a mechanical view, just over 900 pages in 23 weeks is about 40 pages per week, around 6 pages per day. So six to ten minutes per day reading Ulysses . I'm already up to page 119 after my trip last week. Of course, mechanical reading defeats the purpose. I will read it in full in the next three to four weeks and then go back and reread sections as appropriate.

There are 12 people in the group, and I seem to be the youngest. Which I'm not thrilled about. The other under-30 person involved is an assistant librarian, and she said she won't be a regular.

Nine of the 12 people, and all the facilitating librarians, are women, which is similar to the 2 men and 28 women at yoga, and aerobics is 90 percent women. So while I am spending most of my day in a male-dominated environment, all my extracurricular activities involve lots of women.

Which, I suppose, is how it should be.

* * *

After a year of going to aerobics, I have never seen anyone have a nasty accident. Yesterday, Maria ended up a few rows behind the rest of us, and as I knew she thought she was coming down with a sore throat, I looked back to see how she was doing. She was sitting on the step, not looking very happy with herself. I thought, "Crap, she must be feeling tired or something," and gave her a quick thumbs-up, to which I received a negative response and a forlorn glance at her feet. "Ah! She must have twisted her ankle. I'm sure she will be fine." I looked back a few more times, but she wasn't getting up.

Early in the class it's hard to get the attention of an instructor or Richie, so it took some time before one of the instructors, Martin, went to help her. When I saw that, I was relieved. Until I noticed that Maria couldn't walk, even with Martin's assistance, and had to be carried off the court by Martin and another girl. I was rather worried, and it's hard to do aerobics when your mind is elsewhere.

At a convenient time I went over to see if Maria was okay. The lads had her seated on a chair with her foot elevated. She seemed fine, if a bit down. I told her that once she felt better and had collected her gear, she should wait for us outside. I would have Eoin give her a lift home after class. I could do this because (1) I knew that Eoin would give Maria a lift home if she was injured, and (2) it wasn't a situation where one asks, "If it would not be an awfully great inconvenience, then maybe you wouldn't mind possibly offering Maria a lift home after the class?" Eoin offered at once to drive Maria home, though he admitted later he hadn't noticed anything untoward happen to her -- he assumed I had gone to get water. Eoin can be oblivious sometimes.

During the class, Richie, Martin, another instructor, and some of the Arena people checked in with Maria and got ice for her ankle and bandaged it. During the break we were chatting with Maria, and she said that while she would be able to limp to the car, she probably wouldn't be able to collect her gear. So I approached Jackie, another aerobics regular, who we also know through yoga, filled her in on what was happening, and asked her if she would collect Maria's gear. Jackie was more than happy to help and volunteered to drive Maria home if she did not have a lift. A number of other aerobic regulars who noticed Maria's distress also came over to check on her.

Eoin and I went to change after the class. We commented that if Maria was still in distress more than an hour after the incident, then she may have some thing more serious than a twisted ankle. We thought that she was likely to be a stubborn patient and wouldn't want to go to the hospital. This proved to be the case.

Hilarity ensued as we tried to manage a hopping Maria out of the gym, up some steps, and into Eoin's car. We were able to bully Maria into letting us into her house, where we made tea, engaged in witty banter, and more or less kept her entertained until Maria's housemate Colin turned up.

This morning I rang Maria to see how she was. She still can't put weight on her foot, and the weight of the bedclothes caused her some distress last night. She is getting Colin to drive her to A&E to get everything checked out.

www.ul.ie/mgbarry/mgbblog.html

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