THE PHILADELPHIA STAIRDIVE

Yesterday morning started as most mornings do, I woke up. As usual, I was groggy and in need of relieving myself. So I slowly pulled myself from bed, found my flip flops, put them on and walked out the door.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, and I expect no one to actually be, we moved to Philadelphia in the beginning of October. The long and short of it was change. New Jersey was still New Jersey, even after all these years. So in the beginning of September, we found a house. I looked at it once before signing the lease. It was a three-bedroom row house in the Northeast part of the city. The inside was sparse, three floors connected via spiral stairs. At first glance, I thought, “Wow, they’re cool,” and went on looking about the rest of the house. After a quick walk through, we were out and ended up signing the lease about a week later.

Moving day came, and the spiral stairs quickly turned from ‘quaint’ to ‘headache.’ I think Dave King (the roommate) summed it up best on moving day: “Cool to look at, shitty for moving.” Somehow we both got queen size mattresses up two rows of spiral stairs after folding them like tacos, but the box springs for both remain in our dining room. They don’t bend and there’s no other space to keep them anywhere. We adjusted regardless and life’s been pretty OK since the move in. We all got the change we needed in our new surroundings, New Jersey was a good 10 miles away, life was moving on.

Which brings me back to yesterday morning.

I make my way to the top of the spiral stairs. My flip flops gripped the top of the stairs too well. I did not. About two seconds later, I had tumbled headfirst down 12 spiraling stairs. When I landed, my head connected with the corner of the door frame at the bottom of the stairs. I’m pretty sure I was out cold for a few seconds, and when I awoke, there was blood spewing from the gash on the top of my head. I laid there for a few seconds, laughed and said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me Brian,” then got up.

This is the part that bothers me the most though. What do I do when I pull myself up off the ground after getting broke off? I go straight back to what I originally intended to do, holding my head shut with my left hand while my right hand does what’s expected during a morning pee. I don’t freak out or get frantically bent out of shape. I go take a piss, then walk back upstairs to grab a towel so I can slow the bleeding down.

After about twenty minutes or so, the bleeding has subsided. I find my digital camera so I can take photos of the top of my head to survey the damage. It’s deep and long and in need of stitches, and I automatically decide that that’s not going to happen.

A few minutes later, I’m dousing my head with peroxide and cleaning out the cut. It’s burning really bad, so I jump in the shower. After drying it off, I’m told to leave it exposed so that it can scab over. I’m thinking that the wound tending to part of the day is done, and now it’s time to deal with the concussion part of the day.

Concussions aren’t fun. You sit around, you’re not allowed to sleep, you get dizzy, you feel nauseous, you can’t tell which ear is hearing what and sometimes it feels like you’re head is taking a ride down a non-existent Mongolian street while the rest of your body has the time to wonder what the hell is going on up there. It’s not fun. But I dealt with it. We went to Ikea, I lounged around for most of the day, I even took a bike ride for a little bit even though my body felt completely out of touch with my head.

At around 1AM, I figured that it would be OK to sleep. After waking up with the bed spins a few times, I figured wrong. But I tossed and turned and eventually found an avenue to slumber on my blood-stained pillows.

In the morning, over coffee, I tried to figure out what I could learn from my experience. And it went like this:

1) Pay attention to everything.
2) Ditch the flip-flops.
3) Don’t underestimate the mundane.
4) Curse the spiral stairs.

It’s now nearly two days since the stair dive. Thankfully, my head’s starting to come round. And despite the gang-inititation style welcoming of both this house and the city, I’m really starting to like it here.

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