This happened in the 80’s when we still had landline telephony. It was Sunday and I would, as usual, vacuum my apartment for it to be clean and nice during the week. I put on the vacuum cleaner and it started to hum. I’ve always wondered why a vacuum cleaner must sound like an airplane engine every time you clean. Therefore, initially I did not hear that the phone rang. I thought it had probably rung a couple of signals already, so I’d have to hurry to answer before they hung up on the other end. Admittedly, I had an answering machine, but I was curious by nature and wondered who it was, calling on a Sunday afternoon.
I turned the vacuum cleaner off, put away the vacuum cleaner nozzle and directed myself to go towards the phone. In my eagerness to catch up to the phone, I happened to trip over the vacuum cleaner and fell forward, while I managed to step on my big toe. It hurt immensely and I couldn’t stand on my foot. Now I understood that it is the big toe that allows the foot to keep the balance, and if you cannot support the big toe you have to walk on your heel.
I called the hospital and they told me that I’d probably broken my toe. Unfortunately, it is not possible to plaster the big toe, as it must heal itself while walking on the heel. I also couldn’t call in sick due to a broken big toe, so I had to hobble to my job in the video store. Sometimes I stumbled on the heel and ended up on the big toe, which hurt immensely. It felt like someone hit the toe with a hammer, with full force. Since that day, I have full respect for the vacuum cleaner and therefore still have an unbroken big toe. Who was calling me on that Sunday? I don’t remember.