It’s a risky business, living alone. Danger lurks round every corner and down every stair, the fact of which I am daily aware as I cautiously descend the concrete steps from garden to basement. What if I were to tumble down, ungainly planting my head in the woodpile at the bottom? What if the pocket of my laundry-day dress catches on the banister (as it is wont to do), tripping my feet from under me and causing me to break my head on the landing? What if, while ever so adeptly preparing a meal for one, I slice a finger off, severing whatever conveyance of blood resides there, and, lightheaded from blood loss, I fall, hitting my head on the stove, catching my hair alight on the way down to the floor?
Yes, it’s all very Edward Gorey and The Gashlycrumb Tinies (A is for Alice who fell down the stairs) It really is not likely that the neighbours would find me one day, on the living room floor, eaten by wild dogs. And while I am a card-carrying clutz, I don’t tend to impale myself on the wood pile when the family is here, so it is improbable I would do so now while they’re gone.
And yet. I’m eating cherries with my head tilted forward so I won’t inadvertently swallow a pit and choke; I walk across the kitchen floor with the knife held well out in front of me so if I were to trip I wouldn’t stab myself in some vital place; I enter the tub with all the caution of a roller-skater carrying nitro glycerine.
It’s much better to be safe than Gorey.