Falling Down in Public; Or, the Story of My Spiritual De-Pantsing

Before I begin, let me tell you about the last time I fell down.

It was a regular workday morning, and I was riding the Blue Line downtown to the Clark/Lake stop. Right before that stop, the tracks curve sharply to the left, and if you’re not paying attention… it can catch you by surprise.

Well, this prior time, I wasn’t prepared.

I was holding on to a pole with my right hand, standing in the middle of the car. But I didn’t have myself set properly, and my weight distribution was uneven. Once the curve kicked in, I began to fall backwards. Having a firm grip on the pole with my right hand, my left hand swung out, fingers spread, and I began to systematiically smack all the people standing to my left.

In essence, I was doing this big, slow-motion show choir move, where my left hand was sweeping out as though to say “How about a nice round of applause for all these backup dancers here?”

I finally stopped spinning in this manner when I fell into some guy, who caught me. The remaining thirty seconds to the platform was uncomfortable, to say the slightest.

Fast forward to today.

This morning, I decide I’m going to wear a pair of sandals to work. Yeah, I hear you snickering already. Shaddup.

Ok. Sandals. I’m standing a bit away from the car doors, again holding on to a pole with my right hand. The train hits the curve (and I swear to Christ the fucking driver has been hitting this curve WAY faster in the past three months), and I’m braced for it. I take this train every day, and I know to prepare myself for the turn.

I look up, and a few folks are stumbling some. I see one guy grab for a pole, just catching it before he falls completely backwards. I laugh to myself, chiding him for being unprepared.

Next thing I know, there’s another burst and suddenly I’m falling backwards and to my right. I thought my feet had been planted, but the sandals are slippery. I totally fall into this dude’s lap, almost elbowing him in the face with my right arm. I’m laughing a bit, and say “Sorry,” and as I look at this guy, he’s got this utter look of contempt on his face. His brows are furrowed, and his eyes say to me “You and all your un-coordinated friends represent everything wrong with this city. Get off of me. You make me want to vomit in disgust.”

He pushes me off, as I’m struggling to fight against the centrifugal force. I consider apologizing again, but he’s back to reading his book. I brush myself off, and try to remain standing for the remainder of the ride.

Again, those uncomfortable 30 seconds.

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