Friday, December 13, 2013

Aim for the Bushes

I think I came within a few centimeters of grievous injury on my way home from work.

At Yeoksam Station, the card reader on the turnstile wouldn't read my card. The stile still turned though, so I went past and ran down the stairs to catch the train. But because my card wasn't scanned at Yeoksam, it wouldn't register at Gangnam when I transferred. No problem there really; they have those weak knee slappers to block you if you haven't paid your fare. A toddler could push through those.

The Jeongja Station transfer connecting outbound passengers to Jeongja Station proper has the same knee slappers, so when my card, predictably, didn't scan there either, I walked through. There's an alarm that goes off, but no one can hear it when the rush hour crush is coming through, and nobody really cares anyway. Smooth criminal.

Jeongja Station proper, however, has the old turnstiles. There's also a gate for senior citizens -- who ride for free -- to either get buzzed past if an attendant is at the gate (there rarely is) and a button for seniors to press and talk over an intercom to get buzzed through.

I had three options: 1) Hit the button and explain the initial error at Yeoksam (no thanks; that would be like confessing to jay walking in a second language to someone who doesn't give a shit), 2) Hit the button and try to pretend to the intercom guy that I'm a senior citizen (this would have been comedic if they have CCTV at the gate, which they likely do), or 3) hop the turnstile (fuck yes!).

See here, I'm no scofflaw. Option No. 3 seemed like it would save trouble for everyone. I've hopped a few turnstiles in my time, and always because of a machine error. I'm not a Warrior hunted by rival gangs and police* who has to get back to Coney Island for safety; I just wanted to get home, feed my dachshund, maybe watch some basketball.

So I hoisted myself up onto the turnstile, pulled up my legs, and propelled myself forward. My right foot caught one of the stile bars on the way down, though, and gravity almost had its way with me. Somehow I righted myself. I don't know how, but I did. Both of my feet hit the floor first, hard, and the impact ran up both legs and into my testicles. Not a pleasant feeling, but it beats being splayed out on a subway station floor with a cracked skull.

Three takeaways from this experience:

1) An innocuous chain of events can so easily lead to tragedy.

2) I could probably ride the train for free every day if I wanted to.

3) Boys will be boys. As mature as I consider myself to be, the instinctive allure of climbing/jumping** sometimes takes over. Never allow me to get on a trampoline.

* RIP, Fox.

** Bran Stark likes this

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