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Have a nice trip, see you next fall

by Alyssa Daley - Editor-in-chief
Tue, Nov 14th 2017 10:00 pm

Dear readers,

I do not self-identify as a clutz or one of the many people who often find themselves falling over other people, inanimate objects or the air. However, everyone no matter whether they are clumsy 99.9 percent of the time or not can relate to doing something uncoordinated in public. 

Trust me, I’ve been daydreaming and walked straight into someone’s back who had stopped because there’s was a human traffic jam up ahead. I’ve walked into a tree branch because instead of looking at the world at eye-level, I was looking down trying to avoid stepping in the clumps of mud that criss-crossed my path to the sidewalk. And yes, I have even been off in Neverland, not paying attention only to find myself trying to maintain my balance while wavering dangerously in the air as my foot catches on an uneven piece of blacktop. 

Those of you who can relate to this struggle or any variation of it, whether it be walking into a closed door or trying to getinto the SERC only to have the turnstile not turn when you slide your ID through, know that the most humiliating part of this experience is the fear of being judged by those around you when it happens. 

Many people bump their pinky toes on furniture inside the comforts of their own homes. It hurts like the dickens and they can literally feel their pulse in the toe as the blood rushes to it, but that’s not what has their anxiety spiking. The instances where we stub our toes and there are people we want to impress around to see it are when our faces turn bright red and our eyes can’t seem to leave that one super interesting spot on the floor. 

There are some people who do not have a problem with dealing with accidental self-public humiliation and that’s fantastic. They simply make a self-deprecating joke, “like haha was that giant steel beam always there,” while rubbing the now extremely tender spot on their frontal cortex. I, on the other hand, am one of the lucky people who cannot handle any type of reputation-ruining failure in public. 

I can handle not getting a great grade on a test, I can handle disappointment when I fail to show up to that early morning class on time, but I cannot deal with any great bursts of emotions in public. 

If someone were to yell at me in the the middle of the Seymour College Union around 12:30 p.m. when everyone and their mothers are getting lunch, I would rather avoid that building for a month than stand their for the entire one-side screaming match. Sure, that may seem extreme, but that reaction would be my response to tripping over myself and falling on my face while walking down the center aisle towards the Square. So from my perspective heated, public screaming matches and a publicly bruised elbow are equivalent.

Whenever these moments of tragedy strike, the world seems to slow down. Even if no one notices, everyone notices, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. I myself have yet to find any great methods as to how to handle them apart from my one go-to. If I ever do something in public that is horrible enough for my mind to go blank and my cheeks to turn crimson, then I automatically gather myself and my belongings, take a deep breath and get out of there as quickly and covertly as possible. 

It helps if you just keep mumbling to yourself, “it’s okay, nobody saw, it’s okay nobody saw.” Keep repeating that over and over again while keeping your eyes glued either straight ahead or at your feet. 

Buzzfeed (a totally credible and unbiased site) actually has an article of sorts that I think fits the feeling of falling on one’s face in public really well. It’s entitled, “The Nine Stages of Tripping and Falling in Public.” 

It goes through these nine steps in order: walking, the actual trip, being on the floor, feeling like you want to fall off the face of the planet, getting up, placing the blame, standing there while everyone laughs at you, telling everyone — including complete strangers — that you’re okay, and running to the bathroom to cry. 

Now I don’t know all of you personally, or maybe it’s only my dearest friends and loved ones who I’ve bribed to read this column, but I like to skip steps six through eight and just jump right from getting up to running to the bathroom to cry or give myself an empowering pep talk before going about the rest of my day. 

Anyway, I hope you never have to relive the time your foot got caught in someone’s backpack strap causing you to fall and smack your face on a desk, but if you do, remember I very well could be unconscious from a very similar fall just one classroom over.

Until next week, it’s back to the Daley grind!

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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