I hate tripping. Especially in public. And for some reason today I tripped more than I did during my preteen years when I grew more legs than my brain knew what to do with. I tripped down Pennsylvania Avenue. And I tripped down H and 7th street. I can definitely confirm that gravity is indeed alive and well. But, best of all, I tripped walking up the escalator from the Dupont metro in the pouring rain. My hands hit the stairs, my shoe slid down a couple steps, and man at the top hollared “Everything all good?”
Everything seemed so until I stood under the awning at the bus stop.
Blood trickled down my shin from a gash from hitting the edge of the escalator steps and was spreading over my foot. As I was standing there thinking “Well that’s just great,” one of the guys at the bus stop noticed the blood and also asked if I was ok. I said I was fine, explained what happened, and thanked him for asking.
That asking meant something to me. It meant that chivalry, or at least basic human kindness, isn’t dead even if I sometimes think it is. Sometimes I despair of it when I have to open doors for myself or stand on the public transportation when plenty of men could offer their seats. But, then again, do I always appreciate chivalry enough when it is offered?
You could probably say that “I can do it myself!” is my mantra - or at least “I can do it myself until I tire of trying.” I’m usually type that will try to do something on my own until I prove to myself that I definitely cannot. Usually one of these episodes ends with me shoving the salsa jar at my brother for him to open. I don’t think my mentality is unique. Asking for help or accepting it when it’s offered requires humility. And sometimes humility is hard.
I’ve had a tendency lately of riding the D.C. metro home at rush hour. And as anyone remotely acquainted with D.C. knows, stepping on the rush hour metro is more like being stuffed in an already full sardine can. I usually carry a duffle bag and at least one extra bag with me on the ride. The last time I rode, I stood for a few metro stops, the weight of my bags pulling on my shoulders. When a seat finally opened up, I practically fell into it so I could claim it before anyone else, dragging my bags around me hoping I didn’t wack anyone in the process. I noticed a middle aged woman to my right attempt to claim a seat while another man started for it at the same time. She hesitated. Then he deferred. I smiled because, not only is chivalry not dead, I saw proof that it’s living.