Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How I Almost Lost A Leg In The MTR

You know, I was trying to keep this little event a secret, but I've already told so many people that I can't be bothered to be shy about it anymore.

Besides, a week or so later and it seems less horrifying and more humorous.

So, as I posted earlier, duriandave and I had enjoyed a just about perfect day in Macau.

Really, I recall contentedly thinking that I could die happy after such a day! Little did I know that I was about to have an opportunity to do just that!

The TurboJet ferry on the way home seemed nicer than the one on the way over -- maybe it was just the nighttime ride making it seem more relaxing?

I recall catching a few minutes of sleep on the thing as American TV show "Man vs. Beast" played out soundlessly with Chinese subtitles on the onboard TV monitors.

It took us longer to get through immigration to get back into Hong Kong that night than it did for me to get into Hong Kong in the first place on Tuesday afternoon.

So by the time we were done with that, we were both practically sleepwalking home.

Maybe it was an aftereffect of the egg pudding from Fernando's?

So, I vaguely recall Dave looking at me and saying something along the lines of, "You should get a cab." Or: "Are you sure you know where you're going to get home?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine."

So I needed to get off the train as Dave continued to ride home -- I think this was the Tsim Sha Tsui stop or maybe the Central stop where I would switch to another line to catch the train to Tsim Sha Tsui.

There's a mad rush of people getting off the train at this exit with me in the middle of them. I felt myself trip exiting the train, felt myself catch my right foot and straighten it up, and then my right leg just dropped down between the train and the platform!

Before I could even process what was happening, I was down in that space up to slightly above my knee on my right leg, with my left leg forcibly bent at the knee on the platform.

Then, within seconds, I felt at least three pairs of hands lifting me up -- my whole body felt like I was floating -- and sitting me down on the platform itself. Mind you, I weigh about 270 pounds!

By this time, there had been some commotion and Dave had leapt off the train with eyes as big as saucers -- he was wide-awake now!

"Dude, what happened!?!"

So, despite my near death experience -- surely the train had some kind of motion sensor that would have prevented it from pulling out while my leg was trapped, right? -- my only reaction was the giggling of John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles -- "Wow! I mean, that was close. We can laugh about it now. We're all right." -- that sort of thing flashed through my movie-addled mind.

We both stood there laughing a bit, still processing the near horror that had just been averted.

And you'd think that my time in the U.K. would have made me an old pro at "Mind[ing] the Gap", that mantra repeated everywhere -- even on t-shirts -- anywhere near London.

I did stumble back to the hotel, spent an hour in the business center trying to load the day's pictures online, spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out how to retrieve my phone messages from the in-room phone (as well as turn off the flashing message reminder on the television), and then flopped backwards on the bed.

I could feel the room spinning behind my closed eyelids.

I got a sudden burst of energy and hopped up, showered, and went out to a nearby bar (Sticky Fingers on Mody Road) and listened to a Filipino cover band crank through a version of U2's "With or Without You" with the lead guitarist doing some Robert Fripp-like runs on his instrument as the drummer noticeably yawned behind him.

I didn't drink any booze that night as I was still a bit dazed and exhausted from my adventure.

I put my pants in to the hotel's laundry and the bill when they were returned read something like "bad stain already on pants." Yeah, black tar and engine grease do certainly leave a bad stain on Docker's.

Additionally, the metal teeth of the platform and train tend to leave bruises the size of dinner plates on one's leg as well.

Whoever you people are that pulled up this sweating, tired gweilo late on that Friday night, "Thank you!"

(That top picture is not me pointing out the scene of my spill but rather the only picture I have from this trip in Hong Kong's MTR system.)