After an evening yoga class last night, wherein my mat was so slippery I could not properly do a particular pose that brings me great joy, I managed to take the wrong train back to Queens, and found myself two streets away from Queens Boulevard at almost ten o’clock with a bloody toe, and tears squeezing themselves out the corners of my eyes. I walked out of the subway station and, unbeknownst to me, headed back toward Manhattan and soon realized I was totally lost, then, turning around and whimpering into the phone to Dennis that I had no idea where I was, I magically positioned myself using my brain’s GPS and realized I was about twenty blocks from home, in between two bridges, alone.
Oh, how I huffed it over the bridge. It was a bridge that arched over the rail yards of Queens, a kind of dark and eerie place to begin with where I was sure there would be lurkers. Lurkers who would see my brand new yoga mat sticking out my eco-friendly canvas shopping bag, talking to Dennis on my cell phone, and who would surely come and steal me to dismember me behind an empty caboose. These were my thoughts as I broke Olympic speed walking records back to a familiar and more-populated area, and then quickly turned left and proceeded down a less-populated area where there were very few street lights. Honestly I’m not sure what I was thinking.
Actually, I am sure what I was thinking. I was thinking, “I’d never do this in Brazil.” I was talking with someone on the train up to CT last Friday about safety in New York. He, a burly man in his thirties who’d lived all over the world, said he felt safer in New York than he did in other cities in the world. And I agreed. Granted, I wasn’t walking in the most dangerous part of the city (honestly I don’t even know where that would be) but I did feel secure. I didn’t have the fear I constantly had in Brazil, the kind that made me look behind me all the time when I walked alone down streets, the kind that made it almost impossible for me to walk alone at night. Here I just felt like I was a bit outside my comfort zone but that I would be alright.
UNTIL I heard a metal hinge creak and nearly shit myself.
My mother’s side of our family is very jumpy. A hiccup can make their hair stand on end, and my mom herself been known to scream expletives at a loud burp in the middle of a crowd. Last night, hearing the creaking metal hinge, the jump gene activated in turbo mode and I tripped over my foot in escape, scraping my left toe along the sidewalk, and without a second’s delay, suddenly felt my toe get slippery. My colon in a relaxed state a few blocks later, I saw blood gushing all over my purple flip flop. Dennis, who said he would meet me on my walk back, found me a block later a disheveled wreck, heart pounding and toe bleeding, my voice approaching such a frenzied pitch I’m surprised dogs didn’t come by to check on me.
But by the time we got home, my toe was dried and crusted over, my eyes had lost their crazy shine, and Dennis was nearly asleep. Back to normal. Except for the bloody toe, but soon as I washed it off, I saw all that blood had come from just a tiny scrape, a total overreaction.
And to think the whole thing could have been avoided by a closer look at a subway map. Eh, it was an adventure.