All I Want for Christmas is a Lifeline.
If you’ve ever held a conversation with an elderly person who is EXTREMELY hard of hearing, you’ll know it’s less of a conversation and more of a yelling match. This is what I get paid to do for eight hours at a time. Yes, I am the person on the other end of: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up?” By the end of the shift, I’m usually tired of my own voice and ready to rip my hair out. Can you blame me for wanting to get out of there as fast as possible?
So when the clock ticks over from 22:59 to 23:00, I am ready to kick down doors and run for the hills. Seven minutes: that’s how long I’ve got to get from the office to the bus stop. This is no seven minutes in heaven. It’s seven minutes of hellish anticipation and nervous jitters because missing that golden first bus means standing on a practically deserted street with darkened houses behind me and some horror movie bush ahead.
So last night when the clock rang out freedom, my co-worker and I were out the door in record time. I checked my transit app. “5:56” it reads in the green type that I consider “safe time.” I walked briskly. Six foot tall Kevin, strolled beside me. Curse him and his long legs.
A sudden jump! “3:35” in piss-yellow font. I don’t know whether to be mad at the TTC or the sometimes-shitty transit app for this, but in any case, I pick up the pace and begin doing the granny walk, arms pumping, cheeks puffing. It’s all for dramatic effect of course. Why not?
And then… “2:15” in the ugliest shade of orange you’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of orange that incites panic, which is exactly what I start to do. I’m jogging now. Kevin, of course, is now only briskly walking.
“1:15” Still ugly orange; now fully running.
DUE. This is when full-fledged panic sets in. Considering that we’re now maybe 15 metres away from the bus stop, I can hear the rumbling of the golden bus, the screech of its brakes, I don’t want to feel the misery of watching it roll by me. I'm too close to victory to lose now.
Now a little physics. If a girl is running at a steady pace down a slight slant in boots with a low heel and absolutely zero grip and then has to round a sharp corner, guess what happens next? That’s right, my gluteus got an unceremonious introduction to the pavement in front of a bus load of people. It was not a pretty fall, I’m sure, but I like to think it was beautifully ungraceful, like most everything I do. Don't judge me for my delusions.
Of course, this is one of those moments that you expect to be embarrassing, but after Kevin managed to pull my sprawled limbs from the concrete and the bus driver swept open the doors of my public limousine, I realized I felt fantastic. I absolutely refused to be embarrassed. Catching that bus was totally worth the splat. Besides, now I get to have a whole lot of jokes about how I need a Lifeline of my own.
My only regret: I didn’t take the golden opportunity to say, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I’m sure there’ll be a next time, after all, I am the definition of beautifully ungraceful. And the next time I do end up on the cold hard pavement, I won’t miss the chance to pay homage to the Weeknd by crooning out, “I ain’t scared of the fall! I felt the ground before.”