One thing you should know about me is that I tend to play off certain situations in life. If I’m in an elevator and cut an ear-shattering fart despite my best intentions, I’ll just keep staring straight ahead, seemingly oblivious. Fart? What fart? You mean that wasn’t the elevator’s breaks? If I’m at the grocery store and pick a can from a floor display which causes the entire display to topple over, I’ll quickly throw the can in my cart and walk away (quickly, but not too quickly), avoiding all eye contact. I totes got this can of corn from the shelf, I have no idea what the hell is going on with that floor display. I like to think that this is a defense mechanism, an evolutionary feat designed to help get me out of awkward situations, ensuring my survival in society–socially, in my case, but maybe my cavemen ancestors needed it because farting loudly in public could get you clubbed to death or something.
Sometimes trying to play off an embarrassing moment veers into ridiculous, borderline delusional territory, as was the case when I fell on my ass at Walgreens one fateful rainy day.
Like 99.99999% of the people in Florida, I wear flip-flops. Some people’s casual shoes consist of cute flats and trendy slouchy riding boots; mine consists primarily of flip-flops. They’re easy to slip on and go with pretty much everything, and in a state where the summer temperatures suck out of you the will to live and put thought into your wardrobe, this makes them the perfect complement to any outfit. One day I had to run to Walgreens and pick up a prescription, so I grabbed my purse, slipped on my trusty pair of flip-flops, and headed out.
It had been raining, and although it stopped for my errand, the roads were still wet. Had I stopped to think about my choice of footwear before leaving, I probably would have pulled on my sneakers, but since this was effing footwear and not nuclear fission, I didn’t think twice about wearing my flip-flops, which had no traction whatsoever. No traction + wet roads is not a good combination, which I found out the minute I stepped onto that shiny drugstore linoleum. My feet slipped out from underneath me, and I fell on my ass, taking down the wire circular holder with me.
BAM! Right there in front of God and the five or so people waiting in line to check out.
Almost immediately, my evolutionary survival technique to play off the whole thing kicked in, and I began scrabbling to pick up the circulars and the wire holder. I was thinking, “If I can get all of these flyers back into the holder and leave, nobody will know what happened!” which is ridiculous, because I’m pretty sure even Helen Keller would have heard the commotion had she been there.
But somebody did see what happened. A man came running over, trying to be a Good Samaritan.
“Miss, are you okay?” he asked, concern in his eyes.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I replied hurriedly, trying to pick up the flyers and willing him to go away. He was attracting attention to the situation, and totally ruining my plan. To recap: I had just fallen and busted my butt in front of God and everybody, taking down a wire flyer holder with me, and I thought he was the one attracting attention.
But the man wouldn’t leave. Nope, he just had to stay and be a decent human being, and try to help me to my feet. I, in turn, yanked my arm away, put the last of the flyers back in the holder, and then scurried off to pick up my prescription, leaving the bewildered Good Samaritan wondering what the hell had just happened.
En route to the pharmacy counter, the adrenaline wore off, my evolutionary survival mechanism switched off, and it finally sunk in just how ridiculous the situation was and how delusional I’d been acting. I started to laugh, and vowed to thank the man when I saw him again, which of course I never did.
To this day I feel bad that I hadn’t been more appreciative of his trying to help me. So Random Walgreens Guy, if you happen to read this, please know that I am grateful for your help. I was just caught up in a moment of evolutionary delusion, and knew not what I was doing.
The one thing to take away from this story? Wear shoes with traction when it’s raining.