In my last post I mentioned that I have some coordination problems. Unfortunately for me they extend past dancing and include walking. I fall down. A lot. There’s rarely any sort of provocation, no broken heels or pot holes or cracks in the sidewalk…I just fall down. I also, completely unrelated, have a problem with airports. It’s one of my mildly irrational fears (along with clowns, puppets, and stairs-but I think those three are completely rational). My walking problems and fear of airports have never intersected though...until last September…
I was on my way to Serbia for work and to visit friends. One of my good friends was pregnant at the time and I had offered to bring her baby things that she couldn’t get in Belgrade so I had a lot of luggage on this trip: my biggest suitcase, the large duffel that matched my case, my camera bag (which is a small duffel on its own) and my huge crocodile print red leather shoulder bag-the only one large enough to hold my heavy 17” laptop. I also happened to be wearing my cute new Steve Madden boots. I generally like Steve’s shoes; they’re not as horrifically uncomfortable as many other designers…ahem Franko Sarto. These were also fairly practical shoes for my trip; heading into fall so no more sandals and they’re pull ons which means easy off and on at security. On the whole I was feeling pretty good.
Then, four steps into Dulles International Airport…four steps! I fall down. And I don’t just mean that I tripped and stumbled or landed on my knee or something. I mean that all almost 6 feet of me fell forward like a giant Redwood. I went from being vertical to having my face smacked on the ugly linoleum covered by all my various baggage which somehow all landed on top of me.
Some very nice gentleman ran over to assist me in getting up. Thankfully I was not terribly injured and my glasses had not broken. Landing on my face the way I did that was my immediate concern. I was more embarrassed than anything but grateful that for once the airport was oddly empty. Compared to the THREE HOUR!!!! check-in nightmare of my last flight out of Dulles with United (which is an evil airline; although not as evil as is Delta) there seemed to be no traveling that day. I limped up to the check-in counter eagerly left two of my bags with them, then limped through security; where I suffered additional indignities*.
I finally got through security, was in such a foul mood that I almost belted a lady complaining about “When did they start making you remove cosmetics from your carry-on? That’s such a nuisance. I’ve never had to do that before.” Really lady? Because may I just say…10 YEARS!!
I get my laptop back in my shoulder bag and stuff on my boots before heading toward gate C. The only nice thing about Dulles is the new monorail which is so much better than those awful people movers (which you still have to use when you get off your flight). So there I am, heading to the monorail to take me to gate C when disaster strikes again. The instant I put my foot on the escalator it shoots out from under and I begin to plummet downward. This is not the first time, or even the second or third that I’ve fallen down an escalator. I managed, miraculously, to stop my headfirst dive by desperately scrabbling for a hold on the handrail. However in the process I lost hold of my giant shoulder bag. Which I had not zipped shut. Thankfully there was no one in front of me because as my bag went soaring out flew papers, pens, my passport, ticket, plastic baggy filled with ‘dangerous liquids/gels’ … and a really heavy 17” laptop. After a moment of stunned silence I managed to make a joke about this to all the people on the escalator behind me and all the people on the escalator next to mine.
My immediate concern was my ticket as it seemed in imminent danger of getting eaten by the escalator. In fairly short order I had everything scooped up and back in the back and them limped yet more dramatically to the monorail entrance. While I’d saved myself from falling I managed to strain my hamstrings and wrench my right wrist, shoulder, back, and neck whilst flailing about. After I made it to my gate, limping more heavily than before, I texted my roommate and made calls to my sister and my mom to let them know how pitiful I was. I also stopped at one of the airport convenience stores to buy a small bottle of massively over priced IB Profin.
I am increasingly convinced that I am a walking accident waiting to happen. I swear that I’m not clumsy in the traditional sense of knocking into things; but walking seems to be completely beyond my powers. And apparently when you combine that with airports, escalators, and Steve Madden, I don’t even have a chance.
*A note to all airports: your often redundant and inefficient security lines need to have one line designated for families with small children only! As a very frequent traveler I have my coat and shoes off, laptop out, and my little plastic bag with my eye drops and chapstick sealed inside ready to go. It is annoying; and rage inducing, when I spend a year behind someone who has small children and waits until they’re exactly at the belt to start the disrobing process, take kid out of stroller, break down stroller, go through security, have to come back because screaming child was distracting and parent forgot to remove keys, phone, belt, laptop, liquids whatever.