Monday, August 4, 2008
"I did," I responded, "Aye, I did."
Around midnight on Saturday I found myself wondering aimlessly on 14th Street. I didn't know if I was coming or going, if I wanted ice cream or to see a movie or to go for a drink. I sat in Union Square soaking up the summer activity. A BMX'er jumping off stairs, NYU girls being cat-called by baggy-jeaned and shirtless skate boarders, others simply listening to ipods and smoking cigarettes. Union Square during a mid-summer's night is quintessential New York. One of the few remaining public spaces reminding her residents this still is "the city that doesn't sleep."
I happened to have my double dutch ropes in my backpack and figured I'd give Union Square a shot since I wasn't anywhere close to my usual playground of The Christopher St. Piers.
I spotted a flawlessly florescent dressed girl, no older than 19, with hair that would make Kelis proud. I approached her and her equally loud-dressed friends.
"Hey. You guys know how to turn double-dutch?"
They turned away from their cell phones and text messaging and looked me up and down making sure that, yes it was in fact, the white bearded guy in front of them asking if they know how to "turn rope."
"Wha chu mean turn double dutch? You got ropes?"
I opened my backpack and gave them a peek of my ropes like I were showing them a flash of thousands of dollars from some bank I had just robbed.
"Oooooh!" They followed up after seeing the ropes, "I haven't jumped in so long- break em out!"
I unzipped my back and unfurled my ropes as if they were exotic whips and before they had a chance to rest on the ground the girls grabbed each end and were waiting for me to begin jumping. Since I've been practicing a lot lately and since the girls at each end were pro-turners I was able to jump right in and go a few skips before fumbling up and stepping on the ropes.
The crowd sitting on the steps of Union Square cheered and hollered and I took the ropes and began turning for the yellow-and-pink dressed girl with the blue eyeshadow and matching pink flip phone.
Now in our short amount of speaking she had told me that it was "years since she last jumped" but as if instinct she got through the ropes and was stomping the cockroach like a pro who had been double-dutching just hours before our meeting. I don't get what that is? Is it something as simple as the black vs. white thing? I feel comfortable asking this with no hesitations because in my recent previous double-dutching experiences I heard a mother say to her daughter, "girl you got this- it's part of being Black." So I figure it might be as simple as that.
Of course, pink-and-yellow's friend was just as good as she was and they kept encouraging me to go at it again. Despite the fact I already felt defeated having practiced jumping for 2+ months and only being able to do the running man and the begins of a turn-move, I figured, "what the hell?" and jumped in. They were excellent turners so I jumped at the chance to be cocky. I was there, in the center of union square, doing a full-on fast toed running man and just when I got the rhythm down I sprung up for a jump, turned my body 180 degrees in the air and CRACK- landed right on the side of my foot. I fell to the ground- the girls hooting and hollering at me for a job well done and giving it a good try. I smiled and tried to ignore the pain. I got up- ouch- but figured I could walk it off.
The girls gave a few more rounds with me turning but eventually two massive men came by and literally picked the girls up and carried them away from me. "Byeeeee! Thaaaaaaanks," Pink-and-Yell0w shouted from over her boyfriend's shoulder.
"Anytime," I responded smiling and limping down the shallow steps.
"What to do now?" I thought. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and got a text from Jason which said, "What up home boy? Eagle packed! Come by- we're on the roof."
I looked to the East, "Union Square is close to home but not THAT close and I'm more close to The Eagle now than if I were at home... maybe I should just go?"
I looked down to my foot.
"My foot does hurt, but come on- this is the summer and it's late Saturday night with the options of countless familiar and unfamiliar shirtless men drinking beer in the open air....Yup, I can walk this off."
And I did. I jumped the M14 crosstown bus and made my way over to the Eagle. By 3AM, 3beers and a shot later I had forgotten all about my foot. So much so, by the time I left and made it to my bedroom I had completely forgotten to even ice the swelling. I closed my eyes. Sleep.
"Holy Shit - my foot!" is the first thought that crossed my mind as soon as my body and mind were awake. I could hardly lift my foot off the bed let alone walk! Eric, The Roommate was away in Philly, Jason Upstairs was in The Hamptons, Randee's away at the Michigan Womyn's Fest.... "I ain't got nobody help me!"
"East village- East Village? Who do I know in the East Village? Josh- Josh is home! I know that for sure." I called up Josh and he answered the phone groggy and sleepy, "Hey Josh- I think I need your help- you know where I can get crutches?" I explained the story to him and he more or less dismissed me as a hot-mess but said he'd help if I needed him. I hobbled my way painfully around my apartment, got dressed and very carefully held tight to the railing and made my way down the four flights of my walk-up apartment.
I got out to the street and already needed a rest. I sat on my stoop collecting my courage and called Josh. He was ready and I told him it was possible for me to meet him on his street. It took me twelve minutes to go from 11th St. to 6th St. with much thanks to the three block long fence around Thompkins Square Park. Josh met me on the corner of his street and I threw my arm around him singing, "That's what friends are for...."
He brought me to the pharmacy where I purchased crutches for $30 and where the pharmacist told me it definitely wasn't broken (because it would all be black and blue and I'd be in tears) and told me, no joke, that I should pee on cotton balls and put them on my foot...? Josh and I both giggled like little girls upon hearing this.
I eventually made my way to the Emergency Room at St. Vincent's where after a 2+hour wait I was x-rayed and told my foot wasn't broken it was just a bad sprain. I was relieved and double relieved when the doctor said my crappy "Freelancers Insurance" paid for everything. I wasn't happy though when the doctor brought out a pair of new crutches and said I'd have to be on them for a week.
"A week," I groaned, "But I feel like a pussy using these!"
"Well," my doctor responded, shooting me a look, "You can feel like a pussy for a week and let this heal in 10 days, or you can not use the crutches at all, and let this minor injury heal in a month."
"Fair enough," I said as I hobbled my way out of the ER and once outside, thumbed through my cell phone for any friend I could count on for having extra Vicodin.
So, no jumping rope, no skateboarding, no gym, no cardio, no unnecessary activity for the whole next week... Wish.me.luck! Grumble!
To salute my double-dutch love and my injury please enjoy the video below of Bobbie, Kianna, Daynna, Jade and Antingue performing as Group 16 to the lyrics "All the girls in the hood doin' double-dutch..." There's a little Chicken-Noodle Soup (with a soda on the side) mixed in there as well. Enjoy!
*Note: I don't know what the hell this is but I LOVE it! Don't you want to be them?