Note to self

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't follow people who cross on a red man.

I literally typed this into my phone on my way to the metro after nearly becoming windshield splatter on someone's car yesterday morning. There's a blind-spot on one of the crosswalks that I pass on my way across the peripherique to the metro station. Since the person on the other end of the crosswalk has a full view of the oncoming traffic, I (as well as the rest of the confident travelers on my side of the crosswalk) generally tend to think that once they've realized no cars are coming and start walking across the pavement, it's safe for our side to forge ahead (even when the little crosswalk man is red). This has been failsafe until yesterday morning, when someone didn't get the memo and decided it'd be ok to walk into oncoming traffic whilst totally disregarding the Peugeot and Volkswagen that were racing to make the green light. Oh, merde! I and two other half-asleep Parisians, needless to say, picked up the pace after realizing we were in the path of a few honk-happy commuters who were probably still half asleep and likely willing to rid the city of a few pedestrians if they could make it through the stale vert light.

That's not the only note I'm writing to myself these days. Note number two: Steps are deadly, try to avoid walking on them in public at all costs.

Yesterday, while walking up the measly four steps to my school building, instead of putting one foot on one step and the other foot on the next step, I decided to forget a step altogether and fell nearly flat on my face just in front of two students (or maybe teachers), spilling my piping hot espresso all over the marble floor and my pants. Not knowing what language I spoke, one of them asked if I was ok in about three different languages and then proceeded to ask me in French if I needed to go to the hospital. I didn't really know how to react - I just said, no...shrugged...gave an awkward smile and brushed myself off. I'm still cringing from that.

Still, not comprehending this very new invention called stairs, I found myself once again conversing with the marble, but this time in front of everyone and their mom at one of Paris' busiest places - Les Halles. I was carelessly strolling through the square, on my way to the magasin when out of nowhere two downward steps appear and send me flying onto my arse in between two innocent folks trying to have a chill moment. "Whoops!!" This time around there was more laughter, a hearty attention, madame! from one of those folks, and a brisk, ça va! from me.

I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow, it's supposed to rain and who knows how my balance will fare on slick Parisian steps. Maybe I should look into taking walking or stair-climbing lessons after my French class.

6 comments

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

This is hilarious! Certainly not for you, I can only imagine the mortification. It reminds me of that Sex and the City episode in Season Six where Carrie walks into the Gucci all confident and slips on the polished marble. Marble? Seriously? Damn architects with their attention to detail!!

You'll get the hang of it soon, or else maybe you'll learn a shit ton of witty comebacks in French!

lulu said...

you could always get a sexy pair of crocs or hiking boots. Maybe some hiking poles would help too. Don't stop there, helmets will make it even safer.

How cute, Sarah in hiking boots and a helmet. Am I pouring salt in your wounds?

Irisa said...

WOW! And I thought I was bad on my feet...I think this takes the cake! At least you didn't cut your shin open like I did in NYC on a freakin' escalator! Then again...I give ya a year and then see what happens! Haha...keep your eyes open and those legs firm to the ground! ;-)

Oh and...watch out for buses and motor scooters or whatever the hell they ride over there! Hehe...

Eric said...

Nobody walks in Texas. How could you have been prepared for this? There's no way!

Candy said...

dang, gina, what a waste of $$ on the espresso!

misplaced texan said...

Evo & Lulu: I'm not sure what to say even in English when I fall in front of a crowd, but I'm sure if I was wearing a helmet and hiking boots in Paris, it wouldn't really matter what I say.

Irisa: Thanks for your confidence! ;) A year is too long, I think.

Eric: Yeah, I find my upbringing in Texas doesn't get me very far 'round these parts.

Candy: Don't worry, espresso sounds fancy, but in France they're only 1 euro (as long as you don't order one at Starbucks) - and I was able to salvage almost half of it, too. :)

TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.