Being Mr. Bean

I was thinking about Mr. Bean the other day while pouring myself a glass of water. I’d taken the carafe from the fridge and was filling up a glass when suddenly, it overflowed all over the kitchen floor. I also make a mess watering my house plants. And at those moments I always think, just stop it. Because, I don’t like the Mr. Bean side of myself. The one that can occasionally miss her mouth while taking a sip. But the uncoordinated of the world often misjudge the size of the glass, or the situation.

Like Mr. Bean, there are moments when no foot is too big for my mouth. I travel through life with the same goofy, good humor, but also with the tendency to say the wrong thing from time to time. Like Lady Catherine de Bourg from Pride and Prejudice, I can raise thoughtlessness to a whole new level. 

But there is something that saves me from my role as the crass, uncoordinated being bouncing off the walls in my own house. And that’s spending time outside. I believe this is true for everyone, especially those struggling with Mr. Bean syndrome. ie: Feeling like a loser. 

When I’m kayaking in the summer, or skiing, walking or snowshoeing in the winter, I feel very differently. It’s not that I’m particularly good at those things. But being outdoors is like receiving a back pat from God in the self esteem department. Even on the occasion when I’ve turned too quickly while lifting my kayak, thus bashing a dent into my car, I still feel okay. Because overall, I’ve had a successful outing. I didn’t drown, fall in, or even worse, stay home. I went, I saw, I paddled. It’s the same in the winter. However slowly you move, as long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other and taking in the view, you’re one hell of a success story. That feeling goes a long way toward thwarting the ‘turkey on the head’ feeling of being Mr. Bean. 

There are those of you who go through life smoothly. You are the Cary Grants of the world…suave, coordinated, well spoken. Then there’s the rest of us. The ones who fear that dementia in old age is the fallout from all the times we banged our heads on something. You know you’re being Mr. Bean when you haul too many things at once up the stairs or in from the car, and all that’s missing is a banana peel to slip on. You try to hammer a nail in the wall but miss, creating a dent. Which you cover with a picture, of course. As you go through life, you tend to say things to yourself like, ‘Slowly, now. Careful. And the ever popular, ‘Don’t die.’ 

So, go on. Get outside. Show the world the real you, the ‘Not quite athletic but knows how to appreciate the great outdoors’ person. I’ll meet you there at the corner of ‘There’s ice under the snow and I wore the wrong boots.’ We can have a chat while we brush ourselves off. 

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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