The Escalator Story

“Shit! I’m late again!”  I turned over and briefly cursed my clock as I changed into my clothes, preparing for what would soon become a momentous day.  It was a chilly spring morning and I was late yet again for my ever intruiging Creation Myths class.

The year is 2006, and I am in my Sophomore year of college living with my roommate Zanna in a quaint little upstairs apartment. The complex was right up the street from Qualcomm Stadium in what was in fact the epitome of a disaster-proof area.  This place had literally all aspects of potential hazards and dangers covered.  For starters, I lived next door to the Police Headquarters. Looking for Jesus? Well there’s a massive church right across the street; he’s probably hiding there. A fire you say? No problem, the fire station is right up the street. And just in case you’re looking to crack a case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is staking out the entire neighborhood from just three blocks away.

I hopped into my ’78 Camaro and popped in some tunes. A little DragonFroce always seemed to get me started in the morning, especially when I needed to drive fast.  I flew down the road, checking every now and then for those ever-present black and white demons that lie hidden in the streets. They were always dying for the chance to pounce on unassuming muscle cars. Ironically enough, the police force still choose to patrol my neighborhood regardless of the fact that it was a modern-day Mapleton Drive.

After making it safely down the hill and to the trolley station I ran to the dock right as the red beast was pulling up. I hopped in, careful to not make eye contact with the surrounding crazies that often plagued the car. I have never quite understood why, but my entire life I have served as a tractor-beam for the loonies.  In just that past semester on the trolley I had been interrogated, sung to, danced with, and played psychiatrist. This last incredible feat was performed on a woman suffering from a bout of claustrophobia.  She had decided that it was a proper idea to latch onto me and scream as the train entered the upcoming tunnel. I was going to let this incident slide until I realized that I was still in her vice-grip even upon leaving the tunnel.

Finally the trolley pulled into the school.  I hurriedly grabbed my bag and bolted towards the escalator which was slowly beginning to fill up. Even though eight o’ clock was nearing, it never actually occurred to me that the other students could be in the same boat that I was in.

Those other people ? They have classes?

Nonsense.

I was on a mission.

I scrambled up the stairs, scooting people to the side, “‘Scuse me, ‘Scuse me…sorry.” said the asshole.

Soon enough, Karma reared its ugly little head and decided I shouldn’t be cutting in front of people. The next step I took proved to be my last as I took a mouthful of gravity and plummeted towards the floor.  The sharp lines of the escalator laughing in my face as I struggled to pull myself back together.

Gasps fell over the crowd of trolley goers as I stumbled clumsily to my feet.

“Yes…thank you…I’m an idiot!” I yelled to the world as I took my bow, chuckles escaping from the still uneasy crowd. Clearly unsure if enough time had lapsed to point and laugh at me.

At that point I found there was no saving face so I continued my race against time; pausing only briefly to wonder whether or not I bruised my shin when I fell.

Halfway up the grassy knoll I began to get the sensation that something was not right.  Why were my my feet galavanting and parading about my sandals? I couldn’t be that sweaty could I? Just then I glanced down at my foot and watched in horror as a river of blood flowed from beneath my foot.

Ten seconds later my brain finally caught up to me and horror made way for confusion.  Not only was there no pain, but I had no idea where to go once the pain had caught up to me.  Where was the Health Services building?…Did we even have one? So I went with what I believed (at the time) to be the most logical decision…the library.  Isn’t that everyone’s initial thought upon receiving a giant laceration? It’s funny how instincts just kick in and take over.

I hobbled into the library, noting to bleed on the dick that didn’t hold the door for me.

“Um, excuse me? Yeah hi, do you guys have any bandaids?”

“I don’t think so, what happened?”

I showed them my river.

“Oh my God! Wait a minute!” The girl quickly disappeared into the back room and came back with a healthy supply of gauze and tape. She then highly suggested that I go see a nurse at Health Services.

“So there is a Health Services?”

I hobbled over to the bathroom looking somewhat like a hybrid flamingo-frog (or framingo as I like to say) and for the first time took a good look at my foot.  Now, the best description I could give lies within the realm of mystery meat, fresh from the kill. I could no longer decipher which piece of my skin belonged where nor how a seemingly meek escalator could do such damage. In fact, on my way over to the Drs. I paused ever so briefly and silently chastised myself for not being able to climb a flight of stairs correctly.

Since I was a newcomer to the Health Services, I had no idea what to do once I was inside of the building. So, I went up to a jolly woman sitting behind her desk and continued my bandaid quest.

“Escuse me, do you have some Band-aids and maybe some hydrogen peroxide?”

“Yes we do. What do you need it for?”

I lifted my foot up, “Oh nothing, I just cut my toe…” and to my sheer terror, the woman began laughing hysterically.

“Bandaids? You gonna need some stitches in that!”

I wanted to flee the building.

I spent the next half hour in complete panic. Every nurse that came by to take my stats and clean my wound I saw as a potential savior. One who could save me from my foreboding doom.

“But…hey, look! It’s not that bad…It just looks kinda bad!” I forced a dry chuckle. Chuckling always equals fine right?

“When was the last time you received a tetanus shot?”

Well, let’s see, that was probably the last time I tripped and fell.  It was on a rusted pole though…I think I’m starting to see a trend…Damn you equilibrium.

“I can’t remember the last date, let me call my mom though,” I fuddled around with my bag. “Oh, here it is.”

The telephone rang and after a brief awkward introduction I eased my way into the question ever so cooly…

“So yeah…Just calling to see how it’s going and um…Oh yeah funny question, do you know the last time I had a tetanus shot?”

Pause.

“Back when you fell on that pole, I think 2004? Why, what did you do now?”

“Oh nothing , I just fell I’m fine okay thanks bye!”

Click.

She was going to be pissed. My mother is not the kind that likes to be hung up on but at the moment i had other things on my mind.

“Alright Rayna, right this way.”

Against my will I acquiesced to the woman’s demands and soon met with the dreaded man in white.

“Ooo, what happened?” he asked.

“I tripped running up an escalator.”

Chuckle. “Well you got yourself good huh!”

I stared at him, clearly unamused. I wanted to get straight to the nitty-gritty: Would I or would I not need stitches.

“Well,” he continued, “we could do either one of two things. Either you can get stitched here, or you can go up to Children’s Hospital and get it done. But I’m telling you, the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be.”

Wait…Those are my two options?

That’s like saying you have the choice between getting shot and getting stabbed to death, they’re both equally as bad.

I grabbed my phone again.

“Rayna what ha-“

“MMMAAAAAWWWMMMMM THEY WANT TO GIVE ME STIIITCCCHHHEEESSS!”

I lost it.

It was the first time all day that I had actually started to cry. I was no stranger to stitches and I was no dummy. I knew that stitches translated into shots and I don’t do shots. Especially not the kind that involve jabbing needles into the tender flesh of my toe. It just does not sound like my idea of a good time.

Needless to say, my mother was standing next to me in what seemed like a matter of minutes; interrogating the Doctor and nurses in her motherly manner.

“Well how many shots-? Will she feel it? How many stitches are there going to be? How long will it take to heal? What about infection??”

Wah wah wahhh.

I was begging  to regret calling her.

The decision was finalized though.  I would be receiving twelve stitches in my left Hallux (big toe), along with a few shots of God knows what to ease the pain. The nurse laid me down on the chair with my head face down. It gently whirred as I was raised to proper dissection positioning. All of the instruments lie next to me gleaming, just waiting to take a nice warm dip in the river.

The Doctor began his duty.

Halfway through the dissection I heard him exclaim “Oh!”

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me there is a clear list of phrases and exclamations I do not believe any Doctor should proclaim during the course of an operation. “OH!” Is one of these words.

“Oh what…”

“Hmm? Oh,” he chuckled yet again, ” I just found this flap of skin that I thought was gone”

Great.

“So now I have do just move it here an…’”

Now, I think what I loved the most about this moment, was the fact that the Doctor felt compelled to inform me of all his actions. I was given an oral “step by step” of every rip, tear and tug, of my flesh as I was simultaneously experiencing the lecture via pain. Fantastic.

Nothing like feeling like a broken ragdoll.

After what seemed like an eternity, the Doctor laid down his tools and asked, “Do you want to see?” Clearly proud of the job he had just done. The smirk on his chubby little face told all.

“Now why in the he-” I stopped myself, “I mean, no thank you.”

From there I was placed in a wheelchair and taken upstairs to the X-ray lab to check for possible fractures. Wait. Did you say X-ray lab?? Holy laboratory Batman, SDSU is more high-tech than I even imagined.

I entered the room and was immediately greeted by yet another gaping grin complete with said query, “Oh, what happened to you?”

Sigh…“I tripped running up an escalator.” Somehow it just sounded more demeaning every time I said it.

After my X-rays came back fine I found my way back downstairs where I picked up my Vicodin as well as my state-of-the-art handicap pass. Finest paper on this side of the 15 I tell you.

Today, I am left with but a hint of that fateful day. My handicap pass has since expired. My crutches lie in the closet gathering dust. Even my oblong scar has seemed to diminish over the last few years. However, every now and then I get a tingling sensation in the bottom of my toe, serving as a reminder to never…ever…ever run up an escalator wearing flip-flops.

 

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