this makes it seven.

i like to think of myself as an adventerous girl who’s always game for a little excitement. while in mexico i jumped at the opportunity to get in the ring in flip-flops and a cape for a “faux-bullfight” (which turned out not to be faux at all), bungee jumped in cowboy boots for $20 and a t-shirt, i’ve raced (small) sailboats in rough water practically drowning us all, torn down mogul runs with the U.S. Ski team that should have ripped me in two, and i’ve white water rafted with ill-equipped companions and nothing but luck and life vests on my side.

and this last weekend, i’ve demonstrated yet again that some force in the universe is keeping me in one piece for some unknown future reason.

it all started with a road trip to palm springs with a couple of my favorite women to spend a few days in the sun, by the pool at the house of a friend from san francisco. he has a lovely place in indio with a pool, hot tub and generous helpings of good people and hospitality. he was participating in a polo tournament on sunday, so we were real excited about that.

unfortunately it rained most of the time we were there, so we spent our first evening drinking unnamed concotions of vodka, redbull, juice, tonic, subjecting us to totally inappropriate behavior by complete strangers involving hot tubs and high-velocity bananas. as the weather broke the next day, bill offered to take us for a nice leisurely ride on a few of his polo ponies. which sounded like an excellent idea. at the time.

i have a little experience growing up riding trail horses, as does my friend daniela. so we take off and fairly quickly realize the horses are pretty sensitive and are not all that excited about plodding along in the mud with a bunch of amateurs on their backs. after a few trots and inefficient turns, my horse made it stompingly clear that she didn’t have whole hell of a lot of respect for me.

as we head back to the stables the horses started getting a little jumpy and excitable at the sound of a nearby polo ball being whacked, and the idea of getting back to the stable–and rid of us.

but things seemed to be going along just fine, when my horse suddenly bolted. before i realized what was happening it became clear that i’m clinging to a horse in a flat-out run headed toward thick brush and a rebar fence. i pulled in hard on the reins and screamed WHOA! nothing. i tried it again. still nothing. she just didn’t care how hard i pulled. not one bit. as a matter of fact, i think it made her go a little faster. sort of a horsey fuck you i expect.

so barely clinging to the back of this horse, desperately trying to get her to stop, but also somewhat terrified that she WILL stop and send me flying into god knows what, we reached the bushes, she planted and made a hard right around a corner into the maze of stables filled with fences and rebar and golf carts and people and all kinds of other frightening and apparently deadly obstacles. by now it has become clear that i cannot stop this horse, and no one can help me. i begin to think that i may well not make it through this. it’s strange to have time to think about this. weighing your options for a few seconds seems like a real long time. at this point i’m not thinking about how to escape injury, but how to injure myself the least–in other words try not to kill myself.

clinging to the neck of the horse, with one foot in the stirrup and my heart pounding through my ribs, i leap off the horse as i’m passing a relatively clear spot as the horse is headed in a relatively straight line.

the hard landing on my ample ass audibly crunched the hell out of my back and sent me rolling into a neaby fence cracking my head in two places. however i can’t quite figure out the physics on that one.

lying quietly in the mud, i look up to see the hoofs pass by my face, i hear people running to over to me making all kinds of noise. while lying very still on my back, i realize that i’m only moderately injured, my arms and legs move just fine. my head and neck are banged, but not injured. i grin widely and think, okay…well that’s seven.

i’m starting to keep a running tally. those moments where i could have and in some cases should have simply not survived. at least the ones i know of.

at any rate, afer seven hours in the ER, which my fantastic friends turned into an event with wine, cheese, crackers and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition it turns out i have a compression fracture of my L3 vertebrae.

please forgive my rambling valium and lorcet-induced story, these painkillers aren’t all that conducive to clarity of thought. or judgement.

which clearly doesn’t factor strongly into my nature as it is.

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