Position in space

Image of an open drink bottleIn a former, and much younger life, I sat in a lecture theatre with about 150 other undergrads learning about body awareness and how it develops in children. In short, body awareness is the sense of where your body parts are both in space and in relation to other objects. Children notoriously suck at it when they're little. That's why they fall over things, and get themselves jammed in things so often. Body awareness improves with age.

For most people.

I developed a good deal of body awareness in the only aerobics class I have ever attended in my life. I made the mistake of standing in the room where I could see myself in the mirrors.

I am reasonably tall, and have quite long limbs. It was during this hour of humiliation that it dawned on me: people who are really good at aerobics are generally the opposite. They are compact. I am gangly. I could not grapevine. I could not strip the willow. I could not cherry blossom, climbing bean, apple tree or do any number of complicated fruit and vegetable manoeuvers. I looked like an orangutan. But one doing aerobics.

I left the gym and did not go back.

Fast forward a few years and I assume I'm cured. Until I discovered I wasn't. I was driving in my little car, in the middle of summer. It was one of those vehicles in which you could wind the airconditioning down, and then wind it up again if you got too cold. The sun visors sat very low.

Reaching for my drink bottle, I took a swig. After a large gulp, and keeping my eyes on the road, I tried to lower my drink bottle. It didn't move. I kept gulping. I wriggled it, wondering how on earth a person could be unable to stop drinking. At that point I had two choices. I could keep drinking, or experience driving a car while sitting under a waterfall.

The problem stemmed back to my issues with spatial awareness. I had somehow managed to wedge my drink bottle behind the sun visor.

The problem did get fixed. I did not gain an improved sense of my body in space. I did drink 600 mls of water in one swig.