Thursday, February 16, 2006

Chutes Too Narrow

We have a spiral staircase in our house. Black iron. It's the second straight house I've lived in that has had a spiral staircase. But this one is much more narrow than the last one. So much so that it can be a truly treacherous experience if you're carrying anything. Or if you have a J.Lo size booty.

Well, now that we have another body in the house, I find myself regularly carrying Judah up and down the spiral staircase. Seriously dangerous. Squirming baby in both arms while ascending or descending. Unable to hold the handrail. The changing table is downstairs, so every time the diaper needs to be changed we need to go downstairs.

For whatever reason: clumsiness or fatigue or whatever, I've banged my right shin on the bottom step of the spiral staircase almost every time since December. It's resulted in my right shin becoming bruised in about a 4 inch by 4 inch area on the lower part of my leg. I guess it's holding a baby and trying to ensure that I don't miss the bottom step as I go up, I inadvertently feel my way for that step and end up slamming my shin against it.

The first couple of times it hurt so bad that I wanted to yell "MOTHERFUCKER", but I also didn't want to stress Judah out or wake him up if he was asleep. So I wound up mouthing "MOTHERFUCKER" and biting my lip. It didn't take long for the right shin to become sort of numb to the injury. Later I'd hear the clang of my shin hitting the iron step and wonder what it was. Then the tingle of what I suppose was pain would remind me that my shin hit the step.

And then I noticed something. One day I had to clean up some used coffee grounds that I'd spilled on the rug while trying to make decaf for Lily, so I went for the dustbuster which is behind the bottom step of the spiral staircase. The step had a dent in it. I felt the dent with my hand and it was about 4 inches wide in a angled shape. I knew what it was so I put my right shin against the curve. Perfect fit. I reached down for my shin and it felt as hard as the iron step. And the bruise was now just as black.

I was horrified. Should I go to the doctor? Should I call the landlord? I decided I'd better go to the medicine aisle at Safeway and look at my immediate options. As I hurried down 14th street, I wondered how much a new iron step for a spiral staircase would cost. Would I have to buy a whole new staircase? My landlord would probably think so.

The light at Church and 14th seemed like it took forever. The J Church pulled up to the intersection and let a few people off, then moseyed through Market street. The crosswalk finally said walk. I neglected to notice the SUV behind the train trying to run the red light. It came to a screeching halt, but I was already hastily stepping off the curb. My shin hit the Porsche Cayenne with a loud thud.

The man driving the Porsche quickly flung his door open. "Oh Jesus. Hang on... wait, no, I'm gonna have to call you back. Bye." He flipped his cell phone closed. I looked down at the point where the car hit my shin and there was a small but noticeable dent. "Oh my god. Are you ok?" he asked as he came toward me. He wasn't really looking me in the eye, but scanning the Porsche. I wondered if he was talking to me or the car. I was stunned, but not in shock. "Yeah. I'm fine. Look I gotta go..." The man spotted the dent and immediately became outraged. "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO MY CAR YOU FUCKING FREAK?!?!?!!!!" He became exasperated and flipped open his phone and said "LAWYER", I suppose to voice dial. I looked at the dent and then my shin and started laughing. I ran off to Safeway and I could hear the Porsche man yelling "HEY!! GET BACK HERE YOU FREAK!!!!" People behind him were honking. I know what my superpower is now: IronShin.

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