The other day, I slipped on the sidewalk. I was the person you see fall from a distance and your eyes get real wide for a second and you audibly gasp because you are like, "holy crap that person just fell. so. hard." And if you are in a close enough radius to the person who fell, you are socially required to jog a couple of steps towards them because you probably should at least look like you have the intent of trying to help them and/or pick up all of their strewn belongings.
I REALLY fell. My body was upright at one second and entirely on the sidewalk in another. And I know that the blame for this extravagant fall lies with a pair of sandals that I love to wear that are just exceptionally smooth on the bottom. It's like the Steve Madden employee packing my order gave them a light spray of WD-40 before they sent them on their way to my doorstep. The sandals and I have had some close calls together, but they are so good looking that I keep wearing them. I've just learned to take corners nice and slow because there's a good chance my feet could slide right out from under me while wearing them. Like the time I slipped on the tiled floor of my office bathroom. Or when I rounded the corner to my bedroom too quickly and slid into the door jam with my head. I consider them a dastardly friend. Like the one that has a sense of sarcasm so dry and cutting that when it's directed at you it kind of hurts your feelings but the rest of the time they are so hilarious you overlook it? I've been overlooking the fact that these shoes might be a safety hazard. Because they are REALLY the perfect looking shoe. It's hard to be a slave to fashion. (That's my dry and cutting sarcasm).
So let me tell you about the fall. The circumstances preceding the fall were none too rare: the bus I was riding home from work was stalled for one mysterious MUNI reason or another. I would rather walk a mile than have to fidget around on public transit craning my neck to see what's causing the hold up (there is never anything to see) and continually refreshing my Instagram feed (where there is also never anything to see) while waiting for an undetermined amount of time. So I got off the god forsaken bus in a huff because that's what you do when you are a jaded San Franciscan whose MUNI bus has just stopped in the middle of the road for no readily apparent reason. You huff and you shake your figurative fist and make some sort of snide comment about how the entire mass transit system here "is so messed up" and you just fucking walk.
I was huffing away from the bus and about to step right into the crosswalk when I biffed it. I think the combination of my quick clip and the every so slight downhill decline of the sidewalk did me in. I should have known! I'm no Steve Madden WD-40 sandals rookie! But I did fall. My right foot went skittering forward and I went down very ungracefully on my left side. I'm sure it was exceedingly clear to all passersby that I had never taken one of those martial arts classes where they teach you how to fall "properly" (which is probably to prepare you for a physical altercation but might be handy for taking a tumble on the sidewalk). The large bruise on my thigh is proof. And while I remember very few things about the moments before the fall (because I was not expecting to be recounting my walk home from the bus in excruciating detail and thus was not taking notes for my keen journalistic monologue), I do remember all of the very lame things that happened afterward.
1. I fell into the gutter. The gutter is gross! It's full of dried leaves and gum and what I imagine to be matted rat fur and it's all caked together into a mash of yuck probably because its been peed upon 8 trillion times (which is the only logical conclusion because everything in SF smells vaguely of urine). So I took a nice dip into that.
2. Strangers came to help me. Three suited, middle-aged men who all had their ties tucked into their shirts (because that is something men do when it's windy out? I'm not positive about this but I do think it's silly looking so I definitely remembered it) came jogging from the crosswalk to make a series of polite remarks like "Are you okay?" and "Wow, really took a tumble there, huh?" I blacked out my responses to these questions because so much blood was rushing to my blushing face that none was actually circulating to my brain. I could have said a lot of things, I could have said nothing, I truly don't remember. Make up whatever you want here.
3. A strange array of items propelled themselves from the various impractical pockets of my backpack because of the force of my fall. The three helpful strangers picked them up for me while I sat on the curb collecting myself and hoping my ability to speak would soon return. The objects were as follows: three separate USB drives, one of which was shaped like a tiny rubber dog bone. A padlock. An ergonomically-shaped pink and purple wireless computer mouse with a pattern of carefree butterflies swirling around some flowers. The objects I am glad did not come springing off of my person into the dirty gutter for everyone to see: the 8 rotting bananas or the Old Spice men's deodorant I also was carrying in my backpack.
The whole thing was kind of like one of those "what's in your bag?" features they do of celebrities in People magazine or that bloggers post on Instagram. Except those are always by choice and are usually supposed to give you some sort of insight into a person. Like how much they loves their Burt's Bees chapstick or how they never leave home without their Moleskine notebook and the fancy fountain pen that their grandfather gave them for college graduation because you never know when inspiration may strike blah blah blah. My "what's in your bag?" moment was more ambush style because I was not really planning on having all of my belongs put on display in the gutter and obviously would have curated a much more intriguing and Instagram-able array of ephemera had I known I would be dumping them all out.
So I've thought about how these things would look to a stranger and how if I had been one of the suited men helping me collect my belongings I definitely would have thought I was a sweaty (Old Spice) computer hacker (why else would I have so many presumably data-filled USBs?) with carpal tunnel (hello, ergonomic mouse) who was off to do some nefarious work (walking very fast, has a padlock to lock up secrets) and has a strange penchant for only eating near-rotten bananas (because everyone knows computer hackers are quirky). It's the most obvious explanation, really.
However, I doubt any of the helpful suited strangers even let their imaginations get this far away from them because they didn't have to spend the next 17 minutes sweating and tiptoeing their way home in treacherous sandals. In fact, I know they didn't because you definitely don't wear suits and sandals if you're classy enough to tuck your tie into your shirt when there's a breeze.
4. The lamest thing of all? The bus that I disembarked from in a huff, and soon thereafter fell to the ground, passed me down the road approximately 10 minutes later. I shook my literal fist this time.