As an adult woman who has a drivers license and a job and was once a competitive cheerleader and gymnast, I still have to approach one basic motor function like I’m about to diffuse a bomb.

I can’t manage stairs.

If you’ve forgotten or are living in a level-plain Utopia (you even bastard), stairs are nothing more than stepping forward slightly higher than normal, and I still can’t do it. I’m like a giraffe with a terrible palsy every time the elevators are broken, all wobbly-kneed and white-knuckled and demanding that people don’t help me because I can do this myself THANKYOUSOMUCH.

I have a stairtastrophe record that would be much improved if I had just decided to throw myself down every staircase I’ve ever come across instead of climbing them.

Failed: Grandmother’s

My grandmother’s basement stairs are deceptively steep. They appear normal at first, then you’re hit with an absurdly sheer climb through the middle which leads to the way-too-wide bottom few steps. These stairs fuck with your mind. More than a few times, I’ve missed one of those bottom steps, tripped, and chest-butted the wall at the landing, folding myself backwards into a fantastic impression of a breathless, screaming taco. “HRRRRRRRRRRR YOU GUYS I TRIPPED AGAIN HRRRRRRRRR SOMEONE UNFOLD ME HRRRRRRRRR OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I’M SO RUGBURNED.”

My sister and cousin used to go down these demon steps in a laundry basket–without injury–again and again like the merry little bastards they continue to be to this day. The ONE time they pushed me down, the basket flipped, effectively trapping me inside like a carnival ride while I skidded down the office-carpeted hellscape, and rammed me right into the wall at the end of the landing. When mom asked why I was screaming, they lied, and mom chose to believe them rather than to venture down these stairs. My mom chose her own safety over mine, and I don’t even blame her. Better to be only my rug burned nipples than the nipples of the innocent.

Failed: Hospital

I worked in a hospital kitchen my Senior year of high school, which sounds like a good job for a teenager until you find out I was washing dishes one day and saw a prisoner be shot right outside my door after he tried to escape the X-ray room. I also witnessed an attempted baby-napping, and a woman screamed at me because her nipples were bleeding. Man, that was a shitty job. Now, from those horrifying stories to this one.

One day, I was carrying a very heavy tray to ICU (which contained a steak and 6 cookies and my unending questions about priorities) when my sweet-ass Vans tripped me up on the stairs for the 3,000th time. I leaned back and tried to save the steak, but succeeded in only tipping it to the right and dumping everything on the stairs. I was already mid-trip when the tray hit the ground, and had no choice but to plant my foot. Luckily, the tray moved itself right under my foot at that very moment, creating a sled under only one foot and pulling me rapidly into a split. I still had several stairs to go post-split, which left a perfect opportunity for my crotch to slam against every single stair on the way to the landing, where my tray-foot was still sliding. When my entire body finally made it to the landing and I curled over with a frozen cookie on my crotch, a doctor opened the door to the landing, stepped over me, and continued on like there was no disaster in front of him and my crotch could not be admitted to Trauma 1. I quit soon after.

Failed: England

I didn’t do well with any staircases here what with the wide variance between ancient and modern staircases (Shakespeare’s birthplace’s staircase took me 5 full minutes because it was built by an elephant apparently) but one tiny hotel in York was my undoing. The elevator was ‘broken’ because the guy who ran the crank was off that day, so staircase it was for us. The rest of my group decided to go to Burger King before going up to the rooms, and I opted not to, so I figured I would just take my stuff upstairs alone.

It was a spiral staircase. It might not be so bad if I weren’t lugging around a body bag thanks to our 9-day itinerary, and the spiral was not a 1:1 scale of a DNA helix. I tried holding it sideways in front of me. I tripped, my bag fell and began to slide, and I rode that bitch like Pecos Goddamn Bill back down the stairs and into the lobby, where the receptionists were getting just as big a laugh as I was. After a few other fruitless attempts, I had made it halfway up the staircase, but no further. The stairs became inexplicably more narrow there, and my bag was not going to go through. That said, I’m a hardheaded asshole, and I was not going to bail now. I grew more and more frustrated after each attempt, and then in a moment of pure idiocy, I picked up my giant back and threw it up and around the stairs.

For one second, it worked. I smiled and lifted my foot to follow my bag to the room, where I had presumably thrown it, when I heard the unmistakable sound of whooshing. I had forgotten my bag had wheels, heavy weight, and was made of fucking nylon, which makes it a really great sled and a really bad placeholder. It rushed right back down the spiral at me, hitting my square in the shins. The bag had apparently built some momentum on its journey back to the lobby, because it then ran up my legs and over my body and tackled my ass to the ground. After successfully bruising one of my boobs, cutting my chin, and bloodying my nose, my bag came to a rest in the lobby, where I rolled down after it a few seconds later.

They called in the Crank Man because they felt so bad for me.

Someone buy me a StairChair and a Life Alert. I’m a disaster.

Ever had a really spectacular stair experience or seen someone else with one? Ever had a really spectacular fall? What’s your one motor-function fuck-up? Also, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Favorite Comment From The Last Post:
From Meg: “Just today, I was having a conversation about how I lost a day last week. I really did and I can’t figure out what day it happened but by Friday, I was still enjoying Thursday. Someone offered up, ‘classic alien abduction’, to which I almost responded, ‘now that you mention it, my butt does hurt a little’. I only stopped myself because I was with people I didn’t know very well. Not everyone thinks jokes about anal probing are funny. Do they?”
Emma Marcus August 22, 2012 at 5:56 am

Your history with the stairs freaks me out a little. I have ever fallen on stairs once. They had just been washed and they had not placed the warning to indicate that that place was slippery yet. It was a very bad fall though.
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starle August 22, 2012 at 7:10 am

Just make sure you do not ever get on stairs with me or Noa. We will take you out by falling on, through, anround and over you all the way down! Or possible up. We can do that too.
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Mayor Gia August 22, 2012 at 6:43 am

Hahahhaahah oh man. I’m sorry that last one happened to you but…BAHHAHA. I’ve wiped out on stairs, but it’s much more common for me to stop about half way down, freak out internally, and go “WAIT HOW DOES THIS WORK AGAIN?!!? WHICH FOOT FIRST?!?!” They’re unnatural man. Unnatural.
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Amy Vansant August 22, 2012 at 6:44 am

It’s a scientific fact that grandmom stairs, particularly grandmom attic or basement stairs, are one of the top 10 most deadliest things on the planet, falling somewhere between sharks and really scratchy hotel towels.
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Misty August 22, 2012 at 7:56 am

The visual of the breathless, screaming taco just made my day . . . and then I read the rest. Bravo.

But seriously, Noa . . . what the fuck is WRONG with you! Did you curse a staircase in your former life? Burn down a home that was made only of staircases, like some Escher nightmare? What are the stairs’ beef with you, girl?
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lisa from insignificant at best August 22, 2012 at 8:04 am

We must be sisters from another mister, because I too should be banned from ever going near stairs. I thought I was the only one who had been targeted for pain and/or death by those evil death traps; apparently the problem is more widespread than I realized. (I think we should start a mission to eliminate stairs.)
I could share with you tons of stories, of how I’ve bruised my tailbone, slammed my knee into a stair, etc., but instead I’ll just focus on my crowning glory; the fall that will go down in infamy.
The stairs in my grandparent’s condo have two landings. You go down 2 steps to a landing, turn left, go down about 10 steps to a landing, turn right and walk down 2 more steps. In order for you to properly visualize the first time these stairs tried to take me out, you need to know that if you don’t turn right at the 2nd landing you’ll walk right into a wall. Well my friend and I a walking down the stairs and I misjudge how many stairs I have left until I hit the 2nd landing. I think 1 and the stairs thought 2; the stairs won. I took an unbalanced step onto the landing, from 2 steps up, causing me to slam into the wall. I say slam instead of tripped or fall, because those wouldn’t have created the lovely dent in the wall that I left when I bounced off of it and landed on my ass. My friend and I proceeded to laugh hysterically at what just happened (I can only imagine how funny the whole thing looked), while my grandmother went into a panic making sure I was okay. Thankfully the only thing hurt was my grandparent’s wall, which 12 years later now boasts a large painting that covers up the dent I left behind.
That fall marked the first 2 falls down my grandparents stairs (the second was much worse) and two almost falls. Those stairs are definitely out to kill me. In fact it’s so bad that nobody will let me carry anything down them, including my daughter when she was younger, and I’m warned every time to hold onto the railing and to be careful. It’s pretty ridiculous that a grown woman has to be treated that way, but I have to admit, I don’t blame them.
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Mary Beth Hale August 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

Don’t ever go to Savannah. The stairs and cobble stone ramps to the river walk will scare the crap out of you! But….. There’s great alcohol and food at the bottom for your efforts :)

Marion in Savannah August 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Mary Beth, you can get down to River Street without killing yourself on those hellacious stairs and ramps… The elevators in the hotel on Bay Street take you all the way down. (I’m sure that those ramps are lovingly maintained by the orthopedic surgeons in town.) Come back to Savannah again, and ride the elevator!

Kelly Fox August 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

THIS is why I love you so! I laughed so hard, and I’m so glad I’m alone in my office! I just wrote about my supreme clumsiness, and fear of stairs. It got so bad no one would check on me any more after my hideous stair flights would take place. I don’t know if it’s because they were immune to it, or if they were afraid to come see my gruesome carcass all twisted around at odd angles at the bottom.
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Kelly Fox August 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

I forgot!! My great Grandma’s house had these death trap stairs that only a Master Ninja could manuever. Tall skinny little ledge stairs that curved at the top into three little tiny triangular ledges that even as a child were too small for your feet. I careened down those suckers at 2000 miles an hour once and face planted on the concrete, cracked my head open, and layed there like a dead sea slug. My Grandma scooped me up, brushed me off, “Eh, You’ll be alright” And when my Mom came to get me I was still goofy, probably concussed as hell, That’s still what she said “Eh She’ll be alright”.. . I think I’m still a little concussed.
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Rachel August 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

I have issues with moving around in general. One time I split between my pinky toe and the toe next to it completely open because I ran into a filing cabinet so perfectly that the tiny space between those toes caught on the edge of it and ripped apart, resulting in shots and stitches between my toes. That either takes extreme talent or a complete lack of it. I also once had a 20 lb weight plate fall onto my achilles tendon, ripping the skin completely off down to the actual tendon. I wasn’t even lifting weights. I was just walking through the weight room to get to the ice machine, and it fell off the rack and onto me. I also fell on a stick once and cut my hand down to the muscle. Yep, I was walking and fell on a stick. Not tripped on the stick, I simply fell, put my hands out to break my fall, and there was a stick there that sliced into my hand. So maybe my issue is walking. This all seems like good reason for me to get a motorized wheelchair.

Erin T. August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I used to have a re-occurring dream as a child that I would fall through the back of the stairs at our library. They were the stairs that have no back to them – just a place for your feet and the sides – and for the longest time I would BEG my mother to let us, or even just me, use the elevator to go up or down one floor. She’d never let me. I used to crawl up and down those stairs at a snails pace until one day I heard my mother tell an elderly woman that the top while waiting for me to complete my climb that I was “touched”. From that point on I’d leave the library (exits on both levels to opposite sides of the building) by the exit and walk to whatever level our car was on.
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Jaime August 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

It’s not just you….. I routinely fall UPSTAIRS and injure myself. If you don’t agree that it’s possible to fall upstairs, then fuck you I have the scars to prove it.
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starle August 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Word. I have posted about this and thanks to the wonder of the web, I now know that I am not the only one that falls UP stairs. I used to think that I was the only one. Welcome to the clumsy-club of stair-faller-uppers. otherwise known as CC of SFU , that elite group of stair mercenaries. WE are for hire y’all…we are SO stealth!
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Jessie Siega August 23, 2012 at 2:40 am

I always fall upstairs as well. I think have a bad experience when falling down on the stairs. My head is injured when I fall upstairs that is why I don’t want to have stairs inside my home.
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Steph August 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’m crying, CRYING over here I’m laughing so hard. Only because I’m starting to have issues with stairs myself AND I just spent an agonizing Saturday with my in-laws at the Natural History Museum in LA where I had to “assist” my 70 year old m-i-law with attempting the stairs. Oh man, I wish I would have read this first, I would have had a helluva LOT more patience with her LOL.

Thanks for this post Noa. Made my morning.
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Dana the Biped August 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Please visit Notre Dame (the French church, not the college in Ohio). Please. There are lots of sway-backed stairs there, and I really want to hear that I’m not the only who bruised myself into a hunchback while listening to the guided tour of the hunchback.
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Cathy W. August 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm

All I can say is I really hope your descriptions are at least slightly exaggerated! LOL! I’ve had shin bruises many, many times thanks to going upstairs. I’ve only fallen coming down once, but it was a doozey.
My 1-year-old granddaughter, Mantha, was trying to go upstairs, I went after her and picked her up. I turned to come back down, my foot missed the step, and I realized I couldn’t stop the fall. I leaned backwards to protect the baby, and landed in a sitting position with my foot on the edge of a step beneath me.
Mantha was fine, thank God, not even scared! The word the doctor used about my fifth metatarsal, however, was ‘shattered’.
On the plus side, I learned that you never forget how to use crutches, and since the last bone I broke(left leg at 8) they had developed colored casts! So, hot pink cast for 8 weeks! LOL!

starle August 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Escalators are evil as well. My record on stairs is appalling. I have taken out several bones, ligaments and way too many muscles, not to mention the bruises. Oh the bruises.
When faced with an escalator, we go for a whole risk assessment as a family. If we are going up, Manboy gets clumsy daughter. Then graceful daughter, then me. Going down, it is always me first. I have been known to take out an entire escalator full of pensioners as well as one of my own children on these things. Let me remind you, these are STAIRS that you STAND STILL ON.
starle recently posted..Why Can’t They Shut Up? The Stream-of-Conciousness Summer

Jen August 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I was walking (OK, running) to the burrito cart in Pioneer Square when I did a triple-Salchow down the brick steps in a truly noteworthy fail. Of course, I was immediately mocked by the hippy-dippy trustafarians eating their tempe stir-fry outside of Starbucks so I just frothed at the mouth and pretended I’d had a seizure. Who’s the asshole now, Rainbow McDolphin?
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Gwen Hartley August 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Fuck it — lost two posts. Hoping to all things holy you moderate & that’s why they didn’t show up. HAHAHHAHAHAHA!

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Gwen Hartley August 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Fuck — just lost a post (I think?!) — arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Soooo friggin’ glad I found your blog because I SO needed to laugh at, I mean, ummm, WITH YOU on this stair post. Hilarious. OMG.

Found it most hilarious that the douchebag doctor stepped RIGHT OVER YOUR LIFELESS BODY while you are struggling, with notsomuch as a helpful hand or, “That’s a shame” comment. What a dick! You totally should’ve busted his balls as he stepped over — LITERALLY. Then curse at his back as he walked away. What a dick!!!!!!

But the DNA non-1:1 helix, spiral staircase from hell had me ROLLING. Seriously some funny shit there — I can just picture this all goin’ down & I so would’ve given my left boob to be a fly on the wall to observe it myself! FUCKERS! Hand crank elevator? FTS! HAHAHHAHAH!

SO SO glad I found your blog… you are a friggin’ riot!!!!!

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Haley August 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I once had a really spectacular fall my senior year of high school. They had spread gravel on the ground to help with the snow situation. I was carrying my 57 pound backpack across the parking lot and stopped to wave at a friend. My upper body got the message, unfortunately my lower body did not. My feet shot out from under me so I was parallel to the ground and the weight of my backpack sucked me down where I landed hip first. The first thing out of my mouth was “OH MY GOD, I THINK I BROKE MY ASS” and I looked up to see my history teacher driving by in his truck, absolutely hysterical because he thought I had seriously hurt myself and because watching a student absolutely bust her ass in the middle of traffic is fucking hilarious . I had to take my backpack off to take the walk of shame into the school where I had to explain to the office ladies why my pants were ripped, why I was bleeding, and why I really didn’t need to visit the nurse. They made me go anyway and I had black skid marks all over my lower body the rest of the day.
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Tara August 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Haha this is scarily applicable to my life. I tripped on my wooden stairs at home, so to avoid falling, I jumped the rest. When I landed, my awesome early 2000s platform shoes caused my left ankle to snap back and forth, leaving me with 3rd degree sprains on both sides. Then a couple of years later at church, I tripped while my friend was going down the stairs in front of me, so to avoid hitting her, I slid to the side of her and continued to tumble down the whole flight of stairs-in a dress, of course. I think there are still black marks on the wall from my shoes when I landed sitting up. Then, in college, I fell 5 times in one night on the stairs at my friend’s apartment complex. It left me with a bruise the size of a cantaloupe on my ass. Those are just a few of my battles with the evil known as stairs. I have plenty more.

Amy August 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I was happily running up some slick, highly varnished, wooden stairs once when I lost my footing and fell forward onto my windpipe. I cheated death that day.

Todd August 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Don’t feel too bad. I have a cat who couldn’t navigate the TWO fucking stairs from the driveway to the front porch today. He tried to jump over both stairs and caught his front shins (are they shins? Forearms? Upper paws? Whatever) on the top step, rolled into a faceplant, and slid on his face until coming to a rolling stop. He bounced up on his paws and meowed at me like it was somehow my fault. Yeah, that’s what happened. I changed the height of the top goddamn stair on you mid-jump.
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Ally August 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm

After we close down the bar, we mop the 4 stairs that lead up to the bar area. One specific night one of my coworkers slipped a little. I, of course, immediately said “Watch out for the stairs. They’re obviously wet since you just mopped them, idiot.” Then I went to walk down the stairs, slipped, fell, busted my ass so bad that I had a bruise larger than a baseball.

I definitely deserved it.
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b303tilly August 23, 2012 at 2:20 am

I can’t do anything that normal people can do, and I always end up in urgent care with ridiculous(and yet, true) stories about how I’ve hurt myself this time: My foot is broken? A horse fell on me. No, really. I have torn all of my ligaments and tendons in my forearm because I fell off my shoes while folding laundry. My tailbone is broken, you say? Weird. I just slid down the stairs. In a skirt. While NOT wearing underwear. But thank goodness my BF’s BROTHER was there at the bottom to catch me. I’m sure he saw nothing. I have a concussion, huh? I swear, DR. That door jamb fucking jumped two i inches to the left. Yes, really. How else would I have hit it with my face???? I broke my ankle. How? I don’t fucking KNOW!!! I was walking, and then? I was on the ground, moaning.

Danielle Geer August 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

I fall down so much that I have come to expect it. I broke my foot three times in 2009: twice by merely walking and once by having an impressive fall down stairs at a ski lodge.

Picture it: After having just spent a blissful hour in the hot tub, I collected my drink, my phone, my towel, and my bottle of water and headed up the gorgeous slate staircase. I stepped in a puddle of water left by someone else and watched in slow motion as my right foot shot out from under me and propelled the rest of my body down four or five stairs.

I collapsed in a heap of drunkness, foot crushed (again), wimpering in pain… only to have it pointed out that not once did it occur to me to let go of my drink, my phone, my towel, or my water bottle in order to stop my fall.

I’m a rockstar, yo.
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Marion in Savannah August 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Stairs? Hate ‘em. I had just healed up my knees (roller skating debacle… don’t ask) in grade school when I fell tail over tea kettle down a looong flight of stairs at school. Both knees skinned all to crap again. To this day I get flashbacks at the top of any stairs I’m faced with.

nadine August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I fell down the stairs once and it made me extra careful ever since. It was Thanksgiving and my family & I were on our way out of my Aunt’s house when my 8 year old self was bored as hell waiting for my parents to quit schmoozing and get on already. I leaned against a door at the bottom of the stairway, and that door was not closed properly or locked so I tumbled backwards down a flight of creepy basement stairs. Good times.

In other “how do you do simple life task” news, I woke up in the middle of the night the other evening completely convinced that I forgot how to sleep.
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downloadable08 August 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My parents have lived in the same house since I was three, and the stairs to the basement have seen a lot of use. You know: the treads sinking in the middle, the carpet matted down and slick from too many feet and no one anal enough to vacuum the stairs all the time?

Well, one time in high school, I was rushing to get laundry done when I hit one of those weak spots and my foot slid out from under me. I went tumbling the several steps to the landing, severely spraining my ankle in the process. While everyone else on crutches at school had cool excuses like “soccer injury”, I had to go around for three weeks saying, “…I fell down the stairs.”

Valerie August 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I hear ya… I fall down the steps so much in my household that my family has actually stopped being frightened by it. Hell… Those bastards barely ask me if I’m ok. Jerks.


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Shannon August 24, 2012 at 5:19 am

I walk into shit CONSTANTLY, smack my knuckles every time I walk through a doorway or god forbid someone has some stupid decoration or table in the middle of a room, which in my mind should be a no-fly/no-shit-in-my-way zone, because then either my shin or my knees are getting bruised. I broke 3 toes this year on 2 separate occasions from accidentally wanging my flip flop wearing feet into shit that has been in the same place for years…

Elizabeth August 26, 2012 at 6:31 am

I forgot we still had crank elevators here. LOL. You almost made me burn my dinner because I was too busy laughing at this post to go get it.

Melodie February 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

It only just now occured to me that as of recent years my clumsiness has dramatically reduced. Which is awesome, but man do I have some doozies.

My hatred of stairs started in early childhood. My mother and I are both naturally clumsy, and would somehow manage to trip both up and down the stairs in my house at least several times a month.

The staircase at my friend’s house has tried to kill me multiple times. I’ve never been seriosuly hurt, but I always take those fuckers at a tip-toe now.

ONE TIME I MANAGE TO FUCKING SLEEP-WALK DOWN THE CRAZY-NARROW-ASS STAIRS AT MY DAD’S SHITTY APARTMENT AT THE TIME. SLEEP WALK. IN THE DARK. HOW THE FUCK? Those things were a death trap that barely fit me and I was TWELVE. I looked death in the face everytime I had to go down those things. Only had one truly spectacular fall. I tripped on the carpet just before the stairs and tumbled all the way down to the landing to land in a magnificant heap at the bottom. Nothing was hurt other than my pride but I almost sent my step-mother into a panic attack. Good times.

OH. You know those stairs without backs? Just the stairs floating in space with only a flimsy handrail between you and certain death? My Dad lived in an apartment at the top of one of these hellcases for a little while, and I refused to climb them. They were concrete and the spaces between them were HUGE. When facing them the first time, I plunked down on the bottom step and whimpered for my Dad to carry me up (I was around 8-9 at the time). Since he was in the middle of carrying stuff up and down these nightmare monstrosities, he lost patience with me after about ten minutes of this and snapped at me to just climb the damn things.

So I gather all my courage and dog-walk up the things on my hands and tip-toes. I make it to the top scared and shaky but triumphant. Cue me falling BETWEEN the things not an hour later. I got stuck and immediately started wailing (I was a huge crybaby when I was little), and my Dad comes running out of the apartment, sure I’ve broken something my scream was so piercing. Nothing’s broken and I only got a few scrapes but my Dad carried me up and down those fuckers for the rest of the time he lived there. Overall it was probably a good call.

Now the only reason I take stairs at a dog-walk is when my knees are just not havin it and refuse to bend without some pain and much groaning. I’m only 19 by the way. Cheers.

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