(AKA — That Time Karma Kicked My Ass)
I’m a pretty graceful person.
People randomly complement my posture all the time. I can walk in high heels, I love to dance — which I think I do pretty well — and for more than ten years I was a competitive athlete. So, I have an excellent sense of balance.
My best friend does not. She falls all the time — even when she’s sober. In fact, I think that’s when she’s the worst. Perfect example — back in college when we were sharing a house I walked past her standing in the kitchen, just staring into the fridge trying to decide what to have for lunch. Twenty seconds later she had somehow managed to fall flat on her face, still right in front of the fridge. And on two separate occasions I have seen her fall into a bathtub from a sitting position.
I’ve spent at least ten years pointing and laughing, and then helping her up.
So it was only a matter of time before something terrible happened to me.
A few summers ago – I was at work, you know — working. It was a beautiful day in late May, and I was wearing an adorable knee-length dress, and an even more adorable pair of peep-toe wedges. Girlfriend looked good. That afternoon I had a committee meeting in our corporate building, which was about a five minute walk from the building I worked in.
I went to my meeting with my friend/co-worker Kate — and as we were leaving we stopped in the kitchen to get a drink. The corporate kitchen had a really nice ice machine — it makes that pseudo-crushed ice (like what they have at Sorrento’s, for those of you in the know) and I wanted to take a fresh cup of water/good ice back with me for the walk back to our building. All they had were styrofoam cups (tsk tsk) with lids, so I filled one — it must have been like 32 ounces.
One of our other co-workers was planning a wedding in Trinidad, and we were all standing around talking about her plans before heading back to our office. Some woman from the legal department who I had never met before started telling the most mundane Trinidadian wedding story, in the world. I mean, she just went on, and on, and on in this weird monotone voice. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
As we were (finally) leaving the building and walking down a flight of barely carpeted concrete stairs — I turned to Kate and said, “That woman shouldn’t be allowed to tell stories. If I never hear about a Trinidadian wedding again, it’ll be too soon.”
Then I tripped and fell face-first down the stairs.
At least, that’s what Kate saw.
For me, it was in slow motion.
My shoe caught on the carpet, which was what started the falling in the first place — right at the top of the stairs. I tried to grab onto the railing to catch myself, but I was falling really, really, fast — so naturally I reached out to grab on with my other hand.
But I was carrying 32 ounces of ice water in that hand, if you’ll recall. So when I grabbed the railing, I managed to punch completely through the cup (stupid styrofoam). I could see all the ice and water fly up into the air, over my head – and then come crashing down onto my face, and chest.
But that still didn’t stop the falling. And to my left, I could see Kate, screaming and running down the stairs next to my failing body trying to catch me — which in itself is hilarious, because I’m like twice her size.
Eventually I managed to grab onto the railing enough to stop myself. I had bloody knees and ankles, rug burn up both of my shins, and a bra full of mini ice cubes. Also, my super cute dress? Up around my waist.
And that was when I saw the guy at the top of the landing. Who sort of managed to ask if I was ok — you know, without making eye contact, and not really suppressing any laughter, at all. I think his name was John, and thankfully I never, ever saw him again.
Oh, also — three years before that — I fell down another flight of steps, btw. These steps.
Only that time my feet slipped out from underneath me, and I slid all the way down on my back – smacking my head on each step. At least that time it happened in the company of friends. And about 37 tourists. Right on the edge of a rocky cliff. Decidedly more deadly.