Left, right: The beat goes marching (and slipping and stumbling) on

August 8, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 8, 2015

After a nearly two-week-long trip that included a few dips in the Atlantic Ocean, I returned to Durham, N.C., around midnight on Thursday.

That night, I experienced an extended, detailed dream about working as a newspaper reporter. Things seemed to go pretty well over all, but near the end of the dream, I started to worry about whether a certain interaction with a colleague was going well or not. (I don’t recall the details.)

As my anxiety peaked, I felt like kicking my legs to relieve tension. And indeed, I awoke feeling as if I’d done just that.

In fact, I was experiencing a major charley horse — a muscle spasm — in my left calf. I briefly cried out in pain and terror before calming myself.

It was early, perhaps 7:30 in the morning. I made a brief visit to the toilet and then fell back asleep.

But I felt soreness from the charley horse the rest of the day — into Saturday, in fact. It diminished with the hours, but at times I treated my left leg tenderly.

This was the worst thing that happened to me on Friday. Fortunately.

In the early afternoon, as is my wont, I walked to a local coffee shop and spent some time blogging — in this case, on my visit to Ocean City.

Afterward, as is my wont, I walked back to my house. I made it, but not without incident.

As I walked along one of the quiet residential streets, I came upon a man and a boy — father and son, I surmised. The man seemed to be a contractor doing some kind of work on a local home. His son may have been helping out; otherwise, he was just fiddling with his dad’s equipment.

I looked at them as I approached and then passed, but not too closely, because sometimes that gets pretty awkward. People occasionally think I’m staring at them, and I don’t wish to be rude, or to be thought of as such.

When I had almost walked entirely past the house, I was looking around.

It had rained at some point on Thursday, and this particular street does not drain well, especially on the side where I usually walk. Puddles and mud patches often linger on the sidewalk long after rain has ceased.

There were no puddles at the moment, but as I strolled, the heel of my right foot skidded on a thin, triangle-shaped patch of mud. I lost my footing (just for a second!), crying out as I did so.

But almost as soon as I started to fall, I somehow caught myself.

I looked around in embarrassment and then proceeded with my journey.

Soreness from my dream-related muscle spasms lingered, as previously stated, but no other leg-, ankle- or foot-related incidents were recorded that day.


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