It was Christmas night. The family festivities had died down, and a friend called to see if I wanted to grab a drink.Christmas was one of the few times old friends were all in the same town again, so I went out. The bar was packed, there was a live band, and the place wasn't closing until 4 AM. Apparently lots of people drink their feelings on Christmas night.
One drink turned into two, which turned into three. We decided to head downstairs, and instead of taking the back stairwell like dignified drunk people, we opted for the grand staircase that looked over the main bar area. Everyone in the whole place had a view of it from their seats. We linked arms in "let's do this!" solidarity and hobbled down the first half of the staircase. Suddenly I had an out of body experience. I'm not going to make it down these stairs without falling. I thought. Just then, the staircase came to life and moved like an erratic escalator. And I stumbled, in slow motion, feeling like I had skis on my feet. Our arms unlinked, and I landed on my butt. I can't believe this is happening. I heard applause. I looked out over the bar and saw that I was practically getting a standing ovation from the entire place. And even at the time, all I could do was laugh about what a great story this was going to make.
There was a bridge that connected my dorm to the rest of campus freshman year of college. On the end of the sidewalk was a rectangle of shiny metal. I'm not sure what purpose it served, but that patch was the most slippery rectangle I've ever encountered. One winter evening, Chris and I were walking across the bridge together, hand in hand, like two lovebirds at the end of a rom com. The patch was covered in a thin layer of slush, and as we stepped onto it, we both saw our lives flash before our eyes. Luckily, we were able to use each other as support to avoid completely falling down [insert rom com metaphor]. The next time I crossed the bridge, I made sure to tread carefully on the metal patch. Fool me twice, shame on me, I thought. Several years later, I was crossing the bridge in the winter once again. I had completely forgotten about the slippery rectangle. This time, my foot slipped out from under me, and I landed on my ass with a Whoa-wh-wh-whooooaaa!
My landlord senior year did not salt the concrete in front of my building's front doors. Instead, he poured water there and waited for it to freeze so that he could laugh at the people who slipped on it. (Note: for legal purposes, I must admit that this is a lie. Another note: I didn't consult any lawyers, so this disclaimer may not even be necessary.) One day, my roommate came home as I was leaving for class. "Be careful on the ice outside the door," she said. "I almost wiped out." Instead of being careful, I slipped and slid on that ice for a good ten minutes straight, the kind of sliding where you're about to fall, and then you catch yourself, and then you slip again, and then you catch yourself again, etc. with no end in sight. I finally caught my bearings and escaped the ice patch, but I'll never get those 10 minutes back.
I was in the car listening to an amazing song on the radio when I pulled into my driveway. It was raining outside, and between the rain and the amazing song, I had no motivation to exit the car. I decided to just quickly gather my things and race inside so I could turn the radio on the house and catch the end of the song. Did I mention that it was a friggin amazing song? So I turned the engine off, grabbed my purse, locked the door, and raced up the driveway and through the garage. The smooth garage floor was no match for my rain-covered flip flops, and I bit the dust. I have never, as an adult, cried involuntary tears in pain except at this moment. I've cried over injuries because I'm a baby or because I'm scared or because I don't like blood. But these tears were for the pure, searing pain I felt in my knees. I literally crawled into my house, flicked on the radio, and catapulted my limp carcass onto a chair. With the autotuned song playing in the background, I wailed as I rubbed my throbbing knees.
In high school I liked to wear mini skirts with platform sandals. I was pretty cool, basically. One time I dropped my shoe, like Cinderella, as I was climbing the stairs, and the guy behind me picked it up and handed it to me like Prince Charming. Walking in those shoes was as difficult as holding in a fart on a crowded subway. On this particular day, I was late to class. The hallways were nearly empty as I struggled to make my way down the stairs, clutching the railing like it was the only friend I had in the world. Suddenly, my sandal gave way, and I finished my descent with a somersault. That just happened. I thought when I reached the bottom. I picked myself up and looked up and down the hall to see if anyone was watching. There were a few people walking way on the other end of the hall but I wasn't sure if they had seen it happen. I wanted to yell out "I'm okay!" but no one was asking. If a girl falls down the stairs and no one's there to see it, did she still fall? That day I learned that the answer is yes, and it's even more awkward.