Monday, August 31, 2009

Where I Receive Misguided, Undeserved Sympathy


I run about 6 foot 3 on a good day. Thus, any form of public seating was very likely not built with my dimensions in mind. The train in which I ride each day is no exception (see above for an example of the seats, minus the video screen, naturally).

However, when having the desire to snooze, I am rarely denied. The solution is to slide my back down in the chair, and press my knees on the back of the seat in front of me, which allows my head to rest comfortably on the headrest of my seat. This allows for a nice 10-15 minute nap on the way home each day and, on rare occasions, on the way in. The only consequence is the tendency for the circulation to be cut off from my lower legs. Whether or not this will casue me long term damage is somethign I choose not to think about, so strong is my desire to sleep.

Today was one such occasion. After displaying my ticket, I assumed the position, nestled in the ear buds, and slowly drifted off. Normally, the body clock senses when we are approaching my stop, and forces me awake well in advance, leaving time to get the blood flowing back to the lower extremities.

Today, though, the body clock must have been a bit out of sync. I recall being jostled shortly before my stop, and thinking "still have time....", then closing my eyes again. Bad move. The next thing I remember was being suddenly awakened as the train was stopped at where I was to get off. Luckily, the train was not going any further, lest I find myself in Grand Central Station.

I quickly scrambled my stuff together, and got up in an attempt to get off the train as quickly as possible. But there was a slight issue here - namley, the fact that both of my legs were pretty much dead from the knees down. After rising unsteadily to my feet, grabbing my gym bag from the overhead rack and securing my laptop bag on my shoulder, I tried to take a step forward. Not working very well, but full of pluck, I gamely Igor'ed my way forward thru the now empty train......I had, by my calculations, about 30 seconds or so to get my ass out of here. Lumbering forward, with slight feeling returning to one leg, I approached the vestibule. I had made it, and was about to be free at last!

But, but.....seeing the crowd of people walking past on the platform, and knowing I had to have some clearance to move while also having little to no confidence that I wasn't about to do a face plant, forced me to hesitate. Seeing a small opening, I managed to drag my right foot behind me and lurch onto the platform. Here is where the strange, sympathetic looks began from the other commuters. As I limped forward, the feeling inching its way back into my blood deprived legs, I noticed that the faces of those around me. In my mind, they were showing an incredible amount of sympathy/empathy for the obviously stricken, but barev and proud, man lumbering toward the escalator. Embarassed at the reaction, I finally hobbled to the moving steps, and hopped aboard.

Sensing the ordeal was about to end, I bided my time as the stairs slowly rose...and rose. Reaching the top, I took the big step toward non-moving ground, and nealry went straight on my ass. The right leg had relapsed! Now I got to limp anew, a bag on each shoulder, through the crowded train station, receiving more sympathetic stairs from passers by. I'm guessing most people thought me either brave, or stupid, I'm not sure which.

Finally, after what seemed like hours but was actually about 2 minutes, the blood flow returned, and the rest of the commuters resumed ignoring each other, as they do. Being ignored never felt so good.




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