Monday, 14 November 2011


While I was out walking this afternoon, I passed one of the houses I usually pass.  It is an ordinary looking cottage with a tiny front yard.  The verandah is cluttered with ornaments, furniture and potted plants.  Wind chimes hang at regular intervals, their music ringing out in response to the wind.  The front door is painted a vivid, glossy red, in contrast to the pale blue of the rest of the house.

There was a woman in the front yard.  She looked to be about 60 years old and was Asian.  I assume Chinese because of the red front door.  She was in the front yard playing with a yo-yo!  She was grinning wildly as she left the routine of up and down and tried for an around the world loop.

I said hello and she greeted me enthusiastically.

She was well dressed for her afternoon yo-yo work out:  neat tracksuit pants, teamed with coordinated polo shirt, tennis visor and bright white running shoes.  On her face she wore what appeared to be safety glasses, like these but with a lime green frame, instead of the black.

Safety when playing with a yo-yo hadn't been a big consideration for me in the past.  My main focus then had been not suffering punishment for inadvertently breaking the Royal Doulton with a wayward trick when doing the forbidden and playing inside, or being walloped by a sibling's yo-yo when they were doing something crazy, or having the loop on the string too loose and hitting myself in the face when the yo-yo flew off.

As I contemplated these hazards, the 60 year old Chinese woman looked like she had failed to consider deeply enough her safety when dressing for her yo-yo session.  She needed a full face shield, not just safety glasses.  Elbow pads and knee guards would be a good idea too.  They would save her joints when she had to dive to get out of the way of her own yo-yo.  And you never know when someone else could turn up and want to play, but just not be at the same skill level.  I couldn't see if she was wearing a mouth guard, but I think she should.  Teeth are not to be taken for granted and a yo-yo travelling at average velocity and trajectory could leave you looking like someone on the public dental waiting list.  She heard me say hello, so she must not have been wearing ear plugs and she certainly wasn't wearing ear muffs.  The whirring sound of the yo-yo on the string can crank up the decibels.  We need to protect our hearing - once it's gone, it's gone.  Depending on her core strength, I'd also add a hernia belt and some strapping for her ankles.

Lastly, I'd add sunscreen and a full sun hat - a visor just doesn't protect the tops of the ears.

She looked like she was having such fun.  It was lovely to come across her.  But that's when someone will have an eye out and there will be tears before bedtime.  Safety first!

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