This situation, briefly, was this: earlier this evening, I went to enter the bathroom, the door of which (for sound architectural reasons I won’t bother you with now) opens outwards. I was also barefoot.
By mischance, I managed to catch the smallest toe on my right foot with the edge of the door as I opened it. No real harm done, but painful and unexpected – and while my brain was fully occupied going “OW”, it seems my reflexes took over, and proved themselves not to be as finely-honed as I’d like them to be.
The first thing they did was move my right foot sharply up and backwards, away from the door, while at the same time moving the door quickly away from my foot. The problem with moving my foot was that it was the one I had my weight on at the time – which meant that the second thing my reflexes did was bring my left leg briskly forwards in an attempt to retain my balance. Directly into the path of the rapidly closing door, as it turned out, resulting in further painful blows to my left big toe and shin.
My reflexive reaction to that (as I’ve reconstructed the events afterwards – I think I became a little distracted at this point) was a repeat of the first reaction: fling the injured limb up and back, and move the door away from it.
If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll immediately see the problem: there are only so many feet you can lift off the floor at any one time before you run out of things to stand on, and since I only have two in total, I fell over.
Perhaps my reflexes are a little cat-like after all, come to think of it, because they actually managed to get both feet under me as I hit the floor, so that I found myself poised, crouching panther-like on my toes, ready to spring in any direction at the next sign of danger. Of course, these were the very toes I’d just cracked with a heavy wood-panel door, so I didn’t spring anywhere; I yelped softly and toppled over on my arse, just as my wife came through to ask me what I was playing at.
For some reason, she didn’t seem happy with my answer.