And That’s How I Injured the Only Other Knee I Have

I debated for a long time about whether or not I should write a blog post depicting this incident. First of all, it makes me look like an absolute moron. Perhaps worse, it also makes me look like an alcoholic. And finally, putting it into writing immortalizes it forever, thereby leaving a permanent record of my idiocy.

But, as a writer, actress and general madwoman, this is nothing new to me. Therefore, please enjoy the following account of one of the stupidest things I have done in a long, long time.

(Don’t try this at home, kids.)

On my second night in Mani, I bought myself a lovely bottle of local Peloponnisos rosé, in a delicately shaped bottle with a very pretty label. Since darkness had fallen and there was no more exploring to be done for the day, I planned to make a sandwich, have some wine, read for a bit, and round out the self-date by falling asleep watching “Greek Idol.”

Luckily for me, the hotel room had a wine opener. Humming to myself in good cheer and anticipation of delicious wine, I got the corkscrew in nice and straight. But when I went to use the lipped end for leverage and actually open the darn thing, the opener actually crumbled in my hands.

This left the corkscrew stuck fully inside the cork… and the cork stuck fully inside the wine.

For the first time in my life, I cursed in Greek on instinct. Usually, my Greek curse words are used for the purpose of entertaining the Greeks around me (“Say ‘malaka!’ Do it!” “…Malaka.” “Po po po, she did it! The amerikanaki said malaka!!”). By contrast, this one came from some deep, wine-deprived cavern within my soul. (Okay, I can’t actually imagine that there is any cavern within my soul that can be described as “wine-deprived” after all the shameless viticultural romping I’ve indulged in over the past nine months. But I really wanted that wine.)

I stood there in my sundress, staring at the corkscrew sticking up out of the cork. It was so damn smug in its shininess. My eyes narrowed. I would have rolled up my sleeves if my sundress had any. It was time to get serious.

My computer had been playing Belle & Sebastian, but I put on Rage Against the Machine instead. I marched back to the counter top where the wine sat helplessly, and spun the lone corkscrew up out of the cork. Unfortunately, the cork itself wasn’t made of traditional cork material: it was a solid block of new-fangled synthetic hoo-hah. I hated it with every fiber of my being. Especially the thirsty fibers, which are many in the bacchanal conglomeration of fibers that is Kate.

With these particular fibers egging me on, I began to dig. My plan was to get as much of the cork out of the mouth as possible, and then push the remainder into the wine. I’d be sacrificing my plan to have some more the next night, but it was that or nothing. And when “that” is wine, nothing just isn’t an option.

With furious intensity, I used the broken corkscrew, the lever off of the broken wine opener, and even a fork to dig out chunks of the synthetic cork, piece by piece. It was painfully slow. The synthetic material was a bit elastic, so every time I managed to dig out a chunk, the tiniest fragment possible would snap off and the rest would spring back into its original location.

Half an hour later (yes, half an hour), the debris looked like this.

Mere casualties of my determination.

But I wasn’t ready to surrender defeat just yet. Ohhh, no. As a redheaded Scorpio, I am destined to fulfill my role as a shamelessly hotheaded, stubborn temptress. And no piece of neoteric new-agery was going to stop me.

I dug on. The multi-lingual curse words flew from my mouth in swarms of appalling speed and variety. I had no idea my repertoire of filthy words was so extensive. I almost even offended myself.

Finally, an hour had gone by, and I had dug through about a half-inch of the cork. It was time for a new approach.

I looked at the glass opening of the bottle.

I looked at the marble windowsill.

I’m not an idiot, or an alcoholic. Really. I’m a very sensible person who always brushes her teeth and only wears clean socks.

But I really wanted that wine.

So, I gently tapped the neck of the bottle on the marble windowsill. Only I didn’t do it gently, so to speak. And when I say “tapped,” what I’m really trying to say is “struck,” or perhaps “flung.”

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when glass and wine flew everywhere. But somehow, I was. One last, great curse word thundered forth from my lungs, and I ran for paper towels. Miraculously, the wine didn’t get on my clothes; even more miraculously, the white curtains hanging just above the windowsill also remained unscathed, and the cream-colored suede of the seats nearby were stain-free as well. The floor was tile, and the wall was made of stones. It was easy to clean up, as long as I did it quickly and very carefully avoided the glass.

But on the second time I squatted down to clean up the puddle of spilled wine, I felt searing pain in my right knee. Faithful readers may recall that I had an injury in my left knee before running my first half-marathon in April. This injury was fine during the race, but has flared up since then, and I haven’t been running for weeks. But this time, it was the right knee, which supports my general belief that my knees are of the weakest and lamest variety of knees out there.

And that’s how I injured the only other knee I have.

Straining it carefully for chunks of glass first, I enjoyed the fruits of my victory. They helped to wash down the bitter taste of feeling appallingly stupid. In fact, I dare say they actually tasted better because I had fought so hard to win them.

But next time, I’m just going to go buy another freakin’ bottle of wine.

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About wrap me in phyllo dough

travel addict. greece-obsessed. grad student. bottomless pit.
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11 Responses to And That’s How I Injured the Only Other Knee I Have

  1. I truly loved reading this!! I’m glad I’m not the only non-alcoholic that has been so desperate for a bottle of wine alone. I will say, however, that you were forced to go to extreme measures compared me. I’m sorry for your disaster but happy you at least got to taste the loveliness of a win, in the end.

    • Yes, 2011 was a good year for the loveliness of a win; nice piquant after-dinner flavor, with a tinge of oh-my-gah-what-the-heck-was-I-thinking. Would pair nicely with brie and hindsight. 🙂

  2. Been there, done that. The moral to the story is always seek out a screw-top bottle. No cork, no problem. I agree that the knees are the weakest part of the body. Mine disappoint me on a daily basis. Hmm, maybe I just need more wine!

    • Yes, the next time I am buying a bottle of wine while traveling, I will definitely go for the screw-top! Though I think the moral to the story here is also “it’s probably not a good idea to hit a glass bottle full of dark-colored wine on a marble countertop.” Life lessons. I feel like I’m growing.

  3. frixos says:

    “I almost even offended myself” he, he; now, that’s funny!
    Keep it up, I – for one – like yr writing and will buy yr book on the Peloponnese!
    (Have you read Black Olives And Blue Skies?)

    • Not yet, but I am always looking for travel writing about Greece! Thanks for sharing. I’m planning on doing some reviews of books about Greece in the coming months, so it’s great to have more to add to the list! My favorites thus far have been “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell and “Roumeli” by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

  4. Passerby says:

    Exact same thing happened to my grandpa at a family reunion long time ago. Of course he wasn’t wearing a sundress at the time and he used his shotgun to shoot the bottleneck off while shouting extreme obscenities. He then slipped on the spilled wine and hurt his knee. Luckily no one else was harmed, just one of my uncles was grazed by the buckshot, fainted and someone managed to snatch his wallet while he was out. (It wasn’t me mom! Honest!)

  5. Jerry says:

    Your story had the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. As soon as you showed that picture of the wine bottle, I knew the story would have broken glass and wine spilled like blood.

    Any idiocy implied by the story is more than made up for by the deft and dextrous writing you use to describe it.

    • Jerry!! So nice to hear from you. It’s been a while. Thanks for your kind words. Actually, I just read the Shakespeare post you put up, and absolutely loved it; it took me right back to the nights I spent prancing around with a traffic cone strapped to my back to the tune of your narration. Those kids are lucky to have you. Keep us posted on next year’s adventure. 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular! | wrap me in phyllo dough

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