You know you've had a strange day when you're left hanging by your butt from a safe handle.
How did I wind up like that, you ask?
First off, picture a bored eleven year-old girl, left to babysit six kids in the rec room of a community center. Most of the younger children were off playing with one another, but given that the oldest of the group was six, pretending to be a rainbow-princess or a sugar-cookie ninja was their version of fun. Needless to say, the only boy among the six kids was pretty left out. He and I were engaged in a game of catch with a bouncy ball. It's amusing how much fun it can be watching a kid laugh like a madman at something as simple and silly as a bouncing rubber ball.
Before I continue, there's a little detail I should mention. This wasn't exactly a regular rec room. The playroom butted up to a safe that was built into the room, leaving a niche about two feet tall and six feet wide from the ceiling.
I never did find out why there was a safe in the rec room. I guessed it was for parents to leave their valuables in. Eleven year-olds don't pay attention to details like that, and I was no exception.
Suddenly, my little friend surprised me with a particularly vigorous bounce. I jumped to catch the renegade ball, but it ricocheted into that niche between the safe's top and the ceiling. The kid started to pout, so I decided to help him. Besides, it was either that, or more “Unicorn Faeries.”
Need I say more?
I weighed out my options, stack up some toy furniture and hope I didn't fall over, or climb on the safe handle and just swat it down with a hand. I picked the less crazy-sounding option. I told my little shadow to stay put and “watch this”.
I've since learned the words “watch this” always mean trouble. Especially if you're the one saying it!
Just as I reached for the bouncy ball, my foot slipped. I scrabbled at the top of the safe, but I fell off the handle instead. You know, when you fall, you kind of expect to hit the ground eventually. Imagine the surprise I got when I never quite hit the floor. I looked back and forth in puzzled surprise. The kids were all laughing and pointing at me. That's when I realized I was caught on the safe handle by my back pocket of my jeans.
I got “safe'd”.
I wiggled helplessly, trying to reach the floor, but my feet were just inches from the floor. Talk about embarrassing. To a self-conscious pre-teen already focused on her peer image, this was about the worst thing ever. I could only wriggle like a caught fish as even my little buddy joined in on making fun of my plight. Not that I blame them. Looking back, I must have looked quite silly, dangling like some kind of schoolyard prank.
Of course, what happened next made getting hung up look that much more embarrassing for me. My twisting and squirming finally caused me to slip further down and hit my face on the safe door. That got the kids laughing harder. I tried to use my hands to “crawl” up the safe and free myself. I was in a rush.
Did I mention they had free sodas? Guess who drunk too many that day. I had to go. Being upside-down is not good with a full bladder.
As I pushed up to try and free my butt, suddenly I popped loose and fell down face-first on the floor. Luckily, I landed right on a stuffed animal, so that didn't hurt at least.
I stood up and turned around to run to the bathroom. That was when I heard one girl say something.
“Look! She ripped her butt!”
I looked over my back and realized to my mortified surprise what happened. When I tried to “crawl” up and free myself, I ripped the pocket clean off of my pants. Now I had a giant hole in the butt of my jeans, and I was exposed to the giggling kids. I ran straight to the bathroom and hid. Like I said, I was already embarrassed, but this was a bit too much. I didn't come back out until later when I heard the laughing die down. For the rest of that day, I stood with my back against a wall, trying to hide the battle-scar of my misadventure. Sure, that was rather mortifying at the time, but I like to think of it as a lesson well-learned, and in the end, I made a boring day fun, it seemed. The kids regarded me as someone who could make them laugh.
Funny how things never quite turn out how you plan.