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Panique for Men

On the way to work, I came within a hairsbreadth of being completely killed.

This was a definite no-reboot kinda thing. Up at 72nd street, someone plowed into me from behind full force, as I stood at the edge of the street waiting for the light to change. It was about to change, so I was getting ready to bolt ahead of the tightly packed crowd to my left. A delivery truck decided to gun it to beat the yellow at nearly precisely the same moment I got tackled from behind. It felt like someone took a running kick at my backpack. It knocked me off the edge of the curb, and I was pretty much falling forward, right into the path of the aforementioned oncoming truck. There was a moment of pure white terror when I tried vainly to catch the driver's eye, but he was already looking out towards the next yellow, to judge if he could make it. If my hand hadn't caught the wrought-iron fence, at the last second, I would have certainly been grill meat. As it was, the bottom of the driver's sideview mirror almost took my nose off.

I saw red. The adrenaline rush was like a shot of heat through my entire circulatory system in a nanosecond. I wanted to tear the face off whoever just nailed me in the back. I turned around ready annihilate whoever the idiot was, and was surprised to see a woman on the ground. She was a slightly pudgy woman, brunette with a bad dye job, and an even worse hat. She was probably in her late forties, dressing like she was in her early thirties (which is to say, trying to look like the last few minutes of her late 20's). She had clearly totally eaten shit on the icy patch just to her right, judging by her garb and minor injuries. I wanted to kick her in the face, but instead helped her up. I wanted to scream at her, but instead I forced myself to just stay silent. Her black-leather gloves were scraped up, like her knees, and her beige knee-length too-tight skirt was split and stained with muddy salt goo.

She was one of the types who carries around a small cosmetics counter in her bag, which had exploded when she did a full on plow-tackle. It would not surprise me if she was actually applying makeup when she hit the ice. There was product all over the sidewalk, which she hurriedly stooped to collect as people started moving around us. Instead of cursing her out, I bent over to help her pick up some of the crap, as the rest of the commuter crowd filtered their way past the island of chaos in their way.

When I went to hand her a container of lipgloss (I think) I noticed how bad my hand was shaking. I was still angry, and scared, but here I was helping this dumb woman out. I still hadn't said anything, neither had she. The silence was like broken glass on the kitchen floor, waiting for bare feet.

When the last little bottle of crap was back in the ravenous maw of her beige Calvin Klein purse, she finally looked me int he face, as she brushed her gloves off, and in a surprisingly Bronx-accented voice, she thanked me.

"If ya hadn'ta been there, I probably woulda ended up under that truck."

I kinda chuckled, nodded, asked if she was O.K., which she dismissed with a wave of the gloved hands.

I went on my way. I have nail marks in my left palm from the fist I made when I turned around, which are really annoying as I type.

How was your commute today?


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
1. Glad you're all right, obviously.

2. Thanks for the best-written/most compelling LJ post I've read in a while.
Jan. 30th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
tanks fer de compliment
definitely not how i planned on starting my morning. i'm glad i'm OK too. i always thought those fences were dumb, but now I understand why they are there.
Re: Phew. - quba - Jan. 31st, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
it is the thought that counts
though, if i ever do blog my death, be sure to ask some good questions in the comments.
(Deleted comment)
hillariously bad idea - delascabezas - Jan. 30th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Glad you still have your nose. And, of course, that you didn't die. Ravenous maw. hehe.
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
what is with the makeups!?
Re: seriosuly - that6tall2girl - Jan. 30th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
She was a slightly pudgy woman...

To come that close to knocking you into traffic, especially accidentally, she must have been a brick shithouse.
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
a well-made up brick shithouse
it was a combination of my perch (standing on the eldge of the curb) and the fact that she hit me without any control - even when you are tackling someone, you are trying to take them down or hit them in a way that you maintain some control - she plowed head-on with both elbows up right into the small of my back.

now that i think about it though, she was pretty tall - when i helped her up, i wasn't really looking down at her at all.
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
i'm so happy that you are okay. the way you started this post i was expecting you to say anything like, i rebroke my arm.

a lot of people make fun of me because i'm extremely careful about crossing the street - waiting a second or two before crossing, never at the edge of the curb, never cross when it says don't walk - but i saw an elderly gentleman get hit by a cab almost in the exact way you described, and it totally traumatized me.
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
i've already been hit 3x, but never very fast, and never to lasting detriment. this woulda ben pie-in-the-sky-time.

if i had re-broken my arm, i doubt i woulda posted about it - i'd be sedated and cuffed to the fence after trying to mruder the woman with my good arm.
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
i'm impressed at your restraint. and glad you're alive.
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
me too
i still don't know how/why i did it.
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Immediately after reading this post i went to cheezburger and saw this eerily appropriate lolcat...

Edited at 2009-01-30 06:04 pm (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
that is pretty funny
death is always just around the corner - it is just rare you get to shake hands and walk away.
Re: that is pretty funny - namfle - Jan. 30th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
hey i'm glad you didn't die. ice yer neck!
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Yikes, glad you're ok!
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
So, a) amazing reflexes to save yourself. I'm QUITE pleased you are still amongst the living.

b) I know that adrenaline rush VERY well. And it's true, you do see red when you get that angry. I'm also glad you maintained yourself, though. Going to jail would have sucked almost as bad as dying.

c) She musta been pretty dang tall if you weren't looking down at her. Had that been me she hit? I'd been knocked clean across the street. Or halfway before getting creamed by Le Truk dujour.

d) Damn, you write amazingly well when you want to. Seriously, man. I don't know what was more captivating, the events you described or how you described them.

e) edit - I LOVEloveLOVE the Keaton/Ledger icon. <3 <3 <3


Edited at 2009-01-30 07:52 pm (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Eet was me! I was the woman with all the makeup!
(no subject) - namfle - Jan. 30th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - that6tall2girl - Jan. 30th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - namfle - Jan. 30th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - that6tall2girl - Jan. 30th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - namfle - Jan. 31st, 2009 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - that6tall2girl - Jan. 31st, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - namfle - Jan. 31st, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Wow, glad you're okay!

The only strangeness I have to deal with is 人身事故 (じんしんじこ), commonly referred to as jumpers. Basically, the people who jump in front of the trains. Although with the line I take that has that problem, they have the cleanup down to a science and it only takes 30 minutes to clean up. My friend was 90 minutes late to work this past week because of one though because it was an unusual line for a jumper.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


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