Navigating clumsy tendencies

It's not easy having butterfingers, two left feet and an uncanny ability to break irreplaceable items.

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I hate to admit it, considering I always strive to give the image that I am a delicate, graceful flower (ahem), but I have always been the clumsy type.

I'm both klutzy and accident-prone. I have butterfingers, two left feet and an uncanny ability to break the one thing in a room that is irreplaceable.

I'm the person who walks into a china shop and sends a delicate piece of crystal to its death, after the bag on my shoulder sweeps it off a shelf behind me.

I am the girl who managed to sprain her ankle annually five years in a row - and none of those times was I engaged in any form of exercise. Most of the time, I would be walking in a straight line on completely level ground, only to trip over my own feet. Once, I stepped off a bus into thin air, oblivious to the pavement right in front of me.

It became so bad that a simple accident while drying the dishes - chipping a plate or dropping a glass - would render me frozen in horror, anticipating the scolding from parents who were sick of saving their treasures from my graceless grips. Inevitably, I would hear about the antique rotary telephone that my mother inherited from her grandmother and that I turned into black shards on our living room floor. Or the Waterford crystal bowl and Rosenthal platter that my father carried half way around the world only to have his daughter break for him.

When I first got married, I'd dissolve into tears every time I broke something, stammering and apologetic. Mr T could never understand why I made such a big deal out of every item I'd drop, and I could never understand why he wasn't making a big deal out of it at all.

I learnt to relax. I didn't have to answer to anyone when I broke a favourite ornament. I could just clean up the mess and pretend it never happened. What a liberating way to live.

Only, that didn't last. After less than two years of marriage, I've sprained my ankle three times. The third time, Mr T threw out the heels I was wearing and sported a frown for a week.

After this past weekend, I think I will no longer get away with breaking everything we own without at least hearing a mild reproach from Mr T. We had paid a moving company to come pack every little thing we owned. They protected everything with bubble wrap and ensured that even if one of the boxes fell off a truck, all its contents would remain intact.

Then along came the world's clumsiest girl to unpack fragile items she had implored the packers to be careful with. After three of said items fell out of my clutches as I burrowed for them in what can only be described as way too much bubble wrap, Mr T ordered me to step away from the boxes.

"You have got to be more careful," he begged, as I cleaned up the plaster that fell from the wall when I banged our vacuum cleaner against it, leaving a gaping hole where pristine white once was.

He has finally accepted the truth. There will be no antiques in our future.

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