Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Taking the Plunge

There are a number of perks that go along with wearing high heels: You look sexy, you are asked at least once a day “How do you walk in those things?” You look taller and feel dainty. However, there is a drastic downside to wearing stilt-like shoes. Falling. As unfortunate as it is, the occasional spill goes along with stiletto territory. And usually at the worst time.

Exhibit A: Wal Mart. I was strutting through my local Wal Mart here in Milford, dressed in my suit and wearing my then-favorite pair of high-heeled boots. Carrying windshield wiper fluid and a CD, I walked, one hip at a time, through the aisles. In my mind, I was hot stuff. And just as I was thinking that, I felt my heel slip out from beneath me. There’s an awful slow-motion sequence you go through when you’re about to plummet to the hard tile floor of a Wal Mart. You think you catch your balance. You actually think “Whew! That was close! I almost fell!” Then you realize you haven’t caught yourself after all: It was just your mind playing a dirty little trick on you. So I fell in my fancy suit and slick shoes, merchandise in hand, and wound up on the floor, right between the Little Debbie display and a rack of magazines. I just stayed there for a moment, sprawled out on the Wal Mart floor, giggling, because I think the only thing worse than falling in a crowded store is getting up really quickly and trying to pretend it didn't happen. After resting there for a moment, I gradually hefted myself up off the floor. As I came back to my feet, I noticed a woman standing just to my left, peering at me over a magazine she was "reading." She was suppressing a smile, but quickly looked away and straightened her face when she saw me looking at her. "It's okay," I told her. "You can laugh. I am." She smiled at me. I was going to leave it at that, but then I realized: Wait a minute, she watched me fall and watched me sit there and watched me get up, grinning over her In Style, and never made an effort to see if I was okay. So I got a little annoyed. As I dusted off my hind quarters, I said "But thanks for offering to help me up. I appreciate it."

Exhibit B: West Point. At the age of nineteen, I was enrolled in college courses at the United States Military Academy at West Point. I was taking a public speaking class in Thayer Hall, a large classroom-filled hall at the Academy. The building consisted of four floors of long, slick corridors with the entrance on one end of the rectangular building, and an auditorium on the other. My class had been offered ten extra credit points to watch Presidential Candidate Ross Perot speak in Thayer Hall, and never ones to turn our noses up at extra credit, four of my classmates and I attended. The auditorium was packed with what amounted to hundreds of cadets, so my friends and I stood near the rear of the theater. We sat through the dull speech, but cut out just before all the cadets were released. A few of my fellow students and I were walking through the long hallway when I felt the heel of my boot slip. I tried to recover by slamming my other foot in front of the unsteady one, but then that heel slipped, too. So I fell, and my purse skidded down the empty hallway, scattering lipstick and pens and tampons and gum wrappers and my wallet...So I rolled over onto my back and took in the scenery of Thayer's beautiful fluorescent lighting, then remembered that a hundred cadets were just behind us when we left...So I scrambled to my feet, and my classmates and I gathered my strewn-about belongings. Almost the exact moment I stood up, a herd of cadets rounded the corner at the end of the hallway. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had narrowly avoided the sure trauma of cadets seeing me lying on Thayer's floor, and exited the building, laughing at the utter grace with which I carry myself.

Luckily, I’m the kinda gal who can laugh at herself.


PATTY (pollo) said...

Thanks for make me laugh Chimi, just when I needed... and by the way, there is not story about my little monster..why?
Love you.

PATTY (pollo) said...

Sorry, I made a mistake.
The correct way is: THANKS FOR MAKING ME LAUGH.

NJ said...

I definitely would have asked if you were ok, but I would have laughed even if you didn't say it was OK, so I guess I'm not that nice. I do embarassing things all the time so I know how you feel.