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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

« Ah, the unique horror of the awkward confrontation. | Main | Yes, my son. The English language, she is a bitch. »
Monday
Jul182005

Everything is true except for the part about the mustache.

The humidity level is somewhere past 100 and it’s 97 degrees and my computer is melting. The child is in his crib, doing what he does best: napping and sweating. There’s air conditioning on in there, so I don’t know why he wakes up sopping wet. Then again, this morning he told me he had just been “flying a little” and “there was some basketball downstairs.” Sounds like a workout, son! You should dream about sending email, like I do!

A while back, I promised two exciting tales: my tale of subway drama, and my appearance on Bravo. See, I didn’t forget. Only I began to think that neither of these anecdotes is all that interesting after all. But whatever, I have nothing else to give.

The subway incident went something like this: Henry and I were with our friends, J. and F., who hail from the town of P___ S___. We had just been to the New York Aquarium, which is all the way down in Coney Island. The outing had been my idea, and like so many of my ideas, it had been a terrible one. There were many subway stairs to negotiate. The toddlers were cranky, as toddlers so often are. The aquarium was both expensive and crowded. Henry had no interest in anything but the sharks. The sharks, and then we were done. DONE, do you hear me? DONE. No, he did NOT care about the starfish or the seahorses (they’re horses of the sea, kid! Give them a chance) nor would he give a second glance to the walruses, even though they were much more impressive than the sharks, if you ask me. But he wasn't asking me. No, no NO. So I shelled out $18 for fifteen minutes of holding a screaming 40-pound child while I searched for the shark exhibit and then two minutes of holding a silent 40-pound child while we looked at sharks. Then we went down to the beach, and hey! What a worse idea to have than the aquarium! At the beach, the children can coat their sunscreen-marinated bodies in sand, and be like hot little breaded fillets. Fillets that want to be held! And don’t want to go anywhere near the water even though it’s hotter than hell!

And then we poured some melted ice creams down our shirts and hauled them up the assload of stairs to the subway and there we were on the subway, finally. We were sweaty and disheveled and two out of the four of us needed diaper changes. It was our stop. I was holding Henry and I ran ahead to the door because I’m paranoid about the door closing before we can escape.

And then it closed. On my foot.

My foot was inside the train. I was outside, on the platform. Henry was in my arms. J. and F. were inside the train, looking out at us. My stroller was inside the train. Next to my foot.

And the door, it would not open.

For those of you who do not hail from these parts, the NYC subway doors are merciless. They will close right on you. They are not the friendly elevator doors that occasionally decapitate people but usually are quite nice about letting people through. Not these doors. Once they begin closing, nothing can stop them. You may think they will open. But they will not. No! Usually, if you get a limb stuck, you can wiggle yourself free, but in this case, I couldn’t.

And we were in the last car, which meant that the conductor, wherever he or she was, could not in a million years see me. Me and my trapped foot. My trapped and doomed foot.

So I screamed for a while, but nothing happened, as my scream is thin and girlish. Actually I think I was calling out, “Um, hello? Hello? Trapped foot, over here! Helloooo?” which is not going to get anyone’s attention, especially not here, where the subway conductors will rip your foot off as they head out to their next destination and not think twice about it. Subway conductors would sooner leap out through their window and gnaw at your ankle with their extra-long incisors until your foot is severed from the rest of you than open the doors for you. This is true.

Fortunately, a man sporting a thick, lush handlebar moustache was standing on the platform. He heard my weak cries and, with a booming baritone, demanded that the doors be opened. And lo, they were. And my foot was freed! Hurrah!

Henry was exceedingly concerned about my foot, but this didn’t stop him from demanding that I hold him all the way home. No stroller was good enough for him, as I had been in danger, and this was no time to be separated from me. Never mind about the limping! You hold me, damn it! You see how I love you!

The End. You see? There have been better stories. Like the one about when I was on Bravo! Which I will get to eventually.

Reader Comments (37)

I once saw a woman knocked out cold when she sprinted to catch a D.C. Metro train and got there just after the door had closed. Splat! Thud. It was awful.
July 19, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralways write
Thank you so much for sharing this story. It makes me feel like maybe my toddler stories are not so bad. Ok, I lie - they are still bad, BUT at least I am not alone! Thank you!
July 19, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha
I too am heartily sorry the handlebar mustache wasn't real. There are too few handlebar mustaches these days...along with straw boaters, barbershop quartets, and sing-alongs of "In the Good Old Summertime".
July 19, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca
I ride the D train every day (not from as far as Coney Island)...and that is my worst nightmare, catching my foot. So much so that I will miss a train rather than risk catching a limb/appendage in the doors. Shudder. Now I will have to look up the Samuel L. Jackson story to get more nightmares.

I do kind of enjoy it when the conductor gets mad for an actual reason...like some guy just kind of casually leaning in the doorway, keeping it from closing, for no particular reason...just because. I like when conductors chew that guy out. I hate that guy. He always parks his huge self in the doorway anyway and never moves when people are trying to get past him.
July 20, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee
Your subway story was just horrifying - YIKES.

Glad you were able to make an entertaining tale about it. Which is, of course, exactly why I read you.
July 20, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercagey
When I was in Portugal, we took the Metro around the city and that was fun, especially since I know very little Portuguese (bacon, sacana and beijos (bacon, rat bastard and kisses)). Being from Minnesota, the thought of getting on a train with scary doors freaked me out. But we managed to get by without being injured or scarred for life.

The two weirdest things that happened was the guy playing the jazz accordian and the 14 year old that was seriously hitting on me.

Nothing as exciting as your story.
July 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Oooh, my Google ad is "Relief-Mart" for muscle spasm help. Always a bit too little too late, ay?
July 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAmyT
Holy Fucking Shit. Pardon me, I mean, Oh My God, how am I ever going to ride an elevator again? Did anyone else read that link in its entirety? Good Lord, Good Lord, I can't stop rocking back and forth.

Glad your foot was okay, Alice. That sounds scary.
July 21, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjulia
You seem incapable of telling a boring story. A rare gift.
July 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Abkemeier
Wow... Terrorism hadn't scared me away from the Metro, but this story did.

Very entertaining. Thanks for the good read :)
July 22, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTee
You are SO FUNNY. Absolutely peerless! I loved the aquarium and beach trip description--so very much the way it IS. My son used to like to have french fries at the beach and he'd carefully dip each fry in the sand before eating. Why did I let him do this? Because when he was doing this, he wasn't screaming.

His poop looked like some kind of extruded sandcastle building material.
July 22, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermarian
The DC Metro is very similar, door-wise. Despite being pretty darn safe and clean, the doors with rip your arm off without a second thought. I have seen many a yuppie dragging those irritating-as-hell suitcases that are supposed to be rolling briefcases have their suitcase get caught in the doors and have to scream frantically at the conductor to open the doors. Ha! That's what they get for carrying a bag that takes up eight square feet during rush hour.
July 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterQueenie

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