Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Curse of the Shades
Every time I take a nasty fall in a public place there is a common factor. It's not a certain gripless pair of shoes, or a tree-root shifted sidewalk square that "just gets me every time!". It's nothing logical. Nothing that would make my unfortunate diggers more understandable or at least a little bit less embarrassing. I'm not that kinda lucky.
The common factor?
I'm always wearing ridiculous, oversized, movie-star sunglasses.
While this has occurred numerous times, I'll just recount my favorite time and the incident which occurred this morning.
The Best Fall Ever
When I first moved to DC I was living in upper Northwest on Connecticut Avenue. This was not a "cool" neighborhood (unless you are an octogenarian), but I sure as hell thought it was cool. I had a great apartment and the state code "DC" on my mail. All was good. Perhaps it was this overinflated sense of self worth which lead to my (literal) downfall.
It was a beautiful spring day and I strutted to the metro in my favorite brown skirt, flip flops and denim jacket. Over my shoulder my green and orange Timbuk2 messenger bag was carefully slung, full of text books for my recently begun graduate studies. My ipod earbugs sprung from my ears as some popular band I probably didn't like that much but thought I should blared. My hair was as big as it can get.
Of course, perched on my nose are my giant, movie star sunglasses.
Strutting my stuff, looking soooo goooooood, I approach the entrance to the Metro, accelerating rapidly. Some invisible object, probably hubris, gets in my way and I trip. And boy do I trip. The weight from Langston Hughes and WEB DuBois sets my liberally propagandized Timbuk2 bag into motion. In the one short second I have to regain my balance and my dignity, the weight of the bag lurches me forward, somersaulting me into the crowd of commuters. My favorite skirt flips over my head, my ipod goes flying and I land like the Vitruvian Man. The only part of my appearance still in tact: the sunglasses.
As passersby stop to assist me, their mouths gaping open in concern (with a touch of schadenfreude), I swiftly gather my belongings and rush down the escalator as fast as I can, pushing my sunglasses up, breathing irregularly and shouting, at an abnormally high pitch, "I'm fine! Thanks though! I'm fine! Gotta run! Thanks!"
The train downtown (and away from my shame) departs just as my feet hit the platform and I am forced to wait 2 minutes for the next one. As I stand there, the entire crowd of people who tried to help me, who were left in my dust as I busted my ass down the escalator to escape them, come quietly down the moving stairs and pass me one by one, trying not to look at me. I hid behind my over-sized sunglasses.
As if that memory hasn't been burned into my tiny ego long enough, I constantly reignite old shame when I soberly eat dirt probably around twice monthly.
I think most people look like they are trying to be Vanilla Ice when they wear sunglasses, as if they also have their ragtop down so their hair can blow. But, honestly, there are only about six times a year in which sunglasses are really necessary.
Five of these times include driving due east or west on a highway, or playing volleyball on a beach in Cancun. They other time, my favorite time, is about wearing sunglasses for no reason whatsoever--when the sun is barely shining or you are maybe even indoors. Its about wearing sunglasses to feel cool. I love sunglasses.
Today's Slippery Slope
This December morning, I intentionally put my contacts in(instead of the usual carefree spectacle look I sport) so I can don my new sunglasses on the way to work. Sure, WJLA had already informed me that it would be a cloudy day today, but from the shaded window of my basement apartment, I judged it to be light enough outside that sunglasses were a necessity.
As I locked the external door and headed up the stairs (ipod, Timbuk2 and sunglasses in tow) I realized it was drizzling. I had no where to safely store the shades so on my face they remained, and on I walked. To cut to the chase, my metro escalator is mighty steep and primarily exposed to the elements. It was still raining on me as I decended the stairs at an "I live in Washington DC, I'm important, get out of my way!" manner. I passed by a few slower folks, cruising at what I'm sure was an unsafe speed, until there it was again, sliding under my loosely laced red converse sneaker--hubris.
As I slipped, an inadvertent, instinctual mom noise tore from my lips, "oooh!". I hit the hard escalator, its angry teeth biting both my calf and vulnerable muffin top.
Faster than everyone could turn around to witness the tragedy (well, I wish it had been faster, but in actuality it was just long enough for everyone to turn) I popped up miraculously, every joint aching from the whiplash, and continued my jaunt to the bottom. Sunglasses still on my face, like a total toolbox. Don't worry, there wasn't a James-Bond-convenient train waiting to whisk me away this time either; I stood on the platform waiting while all the witnesses paraded by, probably thinking "Maybe you wouldn't have fallen if you weren't wearing those ridiculous sunglasses in the rain at 7:30 in the morning."
Oh, sunglasses, you make me look so cool, but why do you bring such ill fortune?