After a spectacular day at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop today — wow, wow, wow — I got to the airport with time to get something to eat.
Oh, Geri, Jim, and the amazing folks at the Pine Needle tried to feed me. The event was catered, even, with tasty boxes for the attendees that contained mini-quiches, scones with lemon curd, fruit, and a sugar cookie in the shape of my logo. But when you’re signing books, smiling for photos, chatting with quilters, and telling stories about stuff, even if you can get food into your mouth, you’re not gonna have time to chew it. It’s best to wait.
Once I found my gate, I decided to get some pizza at the make-a-pizza place. It’s great. You can put whatever you want on your pie, no extra charge, load it up, go for it, baby, we’re Portland! As my margherita pizza was baking in the wood-fired oven, the gentle hipster asked me if there would be anything else — wine or beer, perhaps?
Now there was an idea. At 3 p.m. it was a little early in the day, but I had more than delivered at two different jobs, I was no longer on the clock, I love red wine with pizza, and I’m a grown woman with an electric bill and student loans.
“I’d love a red wine,” I said to the kid. He actually said: “Right on!”
He hands me my wine — which, true to that groovy Portland vibe came in a plastic cup with the pizza place logo on it — and I pay. I turn to walk to the counter to get napkins and red pepper. I take two steps…and slip and fall.
The floor was slick. My sandals are slick on the bottom. Gravity is weird. Portland has invisible moss all over it. I could try and figure out why I slipped, but it matters not: I went down. Everything happened in .03 seconds but I remember much of it: the spluttering in shock, the way the wine in my glass shot up in a column of red, the gasp of the crowd — oh, there was a huge crowd of people around, naturally — as they saw me turf out.
Later, the girl nearest to me would say with admiration, “You really stuck the landing.”
She was right! I only went down as far as one knee and I kept my wine cup in hand the whole time. Nothing spilled out of my purse or totebag. But the wine had gone everywhere: the counter, the floor, all over my right arm. My first thought was not, “Have I broken a bone?” but “Great — I am going to spend the rest of the day smelling like the janitor’s closet at a Napa Valley winery.”
The gentle hipster was at my side right away. When it was established that I was okay and I had turned to the crowd — the crowd! — to announce this, my guy offered to pour me another cup of wine. This time, I did not deliberate. He gave it to me along with my pizza, which was now done, and I turned, gravely, to return to the task of getting my napkins.
The other kid working the place was cleaning up the wine spill on the counter. He turned to me and asked, “Do you want the rest of this?” gesturing to my nearly empty original cup. I laughed and said “Sure,” trying to be sort of insouciant about all this, casual, giving off a “Hey, I fall all the time, this is what I do for fun!” kind of easy-going attitude. I put my napkins in my purse and when the kid gave me my original cup, he had filled it back up.
“Oh!” I said. “You’re so sweet. But your buddy already refilled me.” I did not need two cups of wine.
The kid looked at me and back at the wine and over at the other cup of wine near my pizza box. He shrugged. “You can have this, too, it’s okay.”
Walking carefully, now with a small pizza box, a purse, a totebag, and two plastic cups of wine, I made my way to a table in the foot court area in Terminal C. I sat down. I enjoyed my pizza. And I had just a couple sips of wine, but I didn’t linger. Because all I could think of was some family that had seen me fall looking at me from across the expanse of tables, the mother shaking her head and saying:
“You see that woman? That pathetic, pathetic woman who fell? She’s drinking two cups of wine, kids. Two cups of wine all by herself in the middle of the day. I’ll bet that’s not the first time she’s embarrassed herself in public. I’ll bet she goes back for more when she’s done. Okay, Braden, let’s text Grandma and let her know our flight’s on time.”
p.s. Want to laugh at me in another airport? You’ll like this.