<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Sunday, November 16, 2003
In Which I Tell the Story About How I Made a Fool of Myself on the Subway

So. I'd forgotten, of course, that the mere mention of my posting something "tomorrow" pretty much guarantees that I'll do nothing of the sort. Oops. Well, the banana muffin recipe is a success (see, see?) and so I suppose it's now time for the story about how I made a fool of myself in the subway. Or, I should say, a story about how I made a fool of myself in the subway. Sadly, there's more than one, but I find this is the most recent and most amusing.

So, my Thursday morning class was cancelled. I was happy about this, actually, because it was cold and incredibly windy outside, threatening to snow, and I wanted no part of that. Especially not shortly after the sun has risen. The weather was so yucky, in fact, that I almost didn't go to my afternoon class, either. But, good student that I am (and realizing that I'd just waste the afternoon anyway), I headed out. Since it was early in the afternoon at this point, the bus to York wasn't running and I had to take the subway.

As a general rule, I prefer taking the subway to the bus, even though it takes a bit longer. The subway is just more enjoyable. But that afternoon there'd been a bit of a delay in one of the other stations, and so I found myself traveling in a very full subway car. I had to stand. Standing's alright, but seeing as I was still wearing my woolen gloves to keep my hands from freezing off, holding on to the pole to keep myself from falling over was a bit more difficult than it would have been otherwise.

After a few stops, a good number of passengers got up and left, one of whom vacated a seat. "Yay, seat!" I thought, and since the train was already in motion again I made the decision to walk to the seat before we reached the next station when I could possibly lose the lovely seat to someone else's ass.

So, releasing my pole, I walked to the seat. The man in the next seat was taking up a fair bit of room, and I realized that I'd have to sit sideways on the seat. This was okay with me, though took some maneuvering. As I was just preparing to sit in my lovely seat the train came into the next station and braked. Hard.

Everyone else swayed to the side. I, however, was caught in mid-crouch, halfway to the seat and therefore in a very precarious situation. I lost my balance. Arms flailing, hair flying, I stumbled wildly to the side.

"Woah!" I cried, and thinking quickly, grabbed for the nearest pole. (The nearest pole was a good few feet from my almost-seat, so that gives you some idea of the distance that I'd already stumbled.) I caught a hold of the pole, but seeing as I was still wearing my gloves it was difficult to get a grip. I clutched the pole, and pulling my other arm in towards my chest, spun around the pole at a considerable speed.

The train came to a stop, and I was left standing in the middle of the very full subway car, clinging to a pole and laughing helplessly. I'm not sure what drew the most attention--my initial stumble, the wild flailing of my arms, my surprised shout or the final wild piroette--but it seemed that everyone in that car was watching me. Still laughing, I made my way back to the empty seat. I think that because I was laughing so openly, others felt that it was okay to laugh at my ridiculous display of poor balance and bad timing, and so met my eyes and laughed, too. It was probably the funniest thing that anyone had seen that day, and I know of at least two people who were still laughing as they left the train a stop or two later.

As we reached the end of the line, some twenty minutes later, I was thinking to myself how truly geeky I am. When I, a twenty-two year old female, found myself swinging around a metal pole in the middle of a crowd, the first analogy I thought of was using a planet's gravity as a slingshot. The stripper analogy didn't occur to me for quite some time. This thought was enough to get me laughing again, and as everyone who had witnessed my little display had by that time left the car, the few strangers still on the subway with me looked at me, the girl in her hard-won seat, quite oddly. And that, too, was funny.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 3:32 PM


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