Friday, January 14, 2011

Don't step on that!

I was reminded this morning of a little quirk I had that drove my dad crazy. From as early as I can remember, I have refused to step on sidewalk grates, sewer covers, trap doors... any access to the "underworld." As a child I was convinced they would collapse under my enormous weight. As a teenager, I was sure there was a creep below, hoping for a furtive glance up my skirt. As an adult, I understand the hazard of heals and manhole covers, of subway grates and skirts and I've taken care to avoid them.

I have an image in my head of me, maybe 2 or 3 years old, refusing to walk on a sidewalk grate with my father. We were heading in to a Chinese restaurant (another issue in there, but that's for another day) and mom and my brothers were already inside but I couldn't get in because there was a grate between me and the door.

I was terrified and I'd like to say my father was patient and comforting, but that wasn't him - I found myself picked up and no, not carried inside, but rather placed smack in the middle of the grate. My legs wouldn't reach to step off, and I couldn't bring myself to walk across to safety. I stood frozen and got a swat on the bottom to "cure" me. Yeah, notsomuch. What I learned was not to be brave, but rather to be a little less obvious with my fear.

So this morning I found myself refilling my coffee at the coffee bar in 3 Squares and realized I was standing on the trapdoor to the basement. Did I scream? No, but I'll admit I had a small moment of trepidation. So I stepped off and reached a little awkwardly for the cream. I'm almost "cured." Only took 45 years.


Suze said...

heh...I have the same issue with glass floors.. just gives me the heebeejeebees to walk over them.. there is one at the Japanese restaurant that we go to at work.. the guys giggle a bit every time I walk around the edges.. floors should be opaque!!!

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. Our downtown area has some grids and some glass pieced trap door type things. Clearly, people walk on them every day and don't fall, and have been doing so for over 150 years, but never know...