Tuesday, August 11


For the third time in two weeks, I've been asked if I have difficulty with balance. This time it was in relation to my sometimes involvement in gymnastic horseback riding, in which I've been known to stand on a moving horse.

The answer is, yes, of course I have difficulty with balance. Anybody trying to stand atop a trotting horse or climb on fabric hanging from the ceiling or just take a beginning ballet class is going to find themselves challenged by gravity.

Painting by Noam Lazarovitz
 But I am not being asked this question because I partake in certain disciplines that require balance, among which is also cycling with a dog attached to one side of my bike. People are asking because I've got one arm and they are curious if my asymmetry is an issue.

And the answer to that is no, not really.

I'm no PhD, but I've had a lifetime of balance practice. And if anything is true, I've been balancing as long as I can remember. For example, you may easily find me balancing a tray of food or a jug of milk (or a baby) on my raised thigh whilst opening a door.

"I'm going to write about balance," I told my new massage therapist. I was spurred on by what seems to be widespread ignorance of physics and physique.

"Oh, you mean actual balance," he said, "not like internal or spiritual balance."

No, that I have great difficulty with...

Physical balance is way easier. When a medical professional asked me this week about my potential imbalance, she was not talking mental. I sheepishly explained how each person must have their own midline based on individual physique, a sense of balance that develops over time.

She looked at me, nodding, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

But even if you cut someone's arm off, they aren't going to suddenly fall over. Not in my experience, anyway.

I dare say I may have superior balancing ability out of sheer necessity. Can I walk a high wire from one skyscraper to another, probably not. But it's a little offensive to have my balance called into question so frequently. I guess I could throw the question back at people while shoving them to test their balance...

But I suppose the pen is also mightier than the push.