Just Joshin’

A look at the world through my eyes. Well, just part of the world.

Josh Perlman
Josh Perlman. Hatchet File Photo

We met in one of those tragically awkward, unintentional face-offs.

I moved left, he moved left. I moved right, he moved right. With all the space of Duques Hall at our disposal, this strange man and I still managed to bump into each other. And now we were stuck in that seemingly endless back-and-forth.

I crumbled under the discomfort of this social encounter. For reasons I cannot explain, my solution to the problem was to stretch out my arms like a flamboyant airplane and fly around him with a jerky, swerving motion.

My escape alarmed him but I was free.

I thought this terrible situation would just be one tarnished moment out of an otherwise smooth-sailing day. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

This was the first of many simple tasks that took a turn for the pathetically complicated that day. My basic motor skills were apparently failing me in a way that made me doubt my earthly existence as a functioning human being.

At 10:50 a.m., I went to cross the street too soon and a speeding car just missed me. Why is it that every time I’m almost hit by a car, it’s a minivan? Do D.C. soccer moms have some personal vendetta against me that I don’t know about?

At 12:30 p.m., I went to walk into Gelman but was caught off guard when someone else approached the door from a different angle. We both stopped and stared at the double doors, waiting for the other person to make the first move.

It was he who ultimately caved. But things were further complicated by the fact that once he opened the door, I had positioned myself in a way that blocked him from entering the building.

I tried my best to insert a tone of shame into my “Thank you” as I walked in before him.

Around 1:45 p.m., I got stuck behind a tour group. I didn’t do anything wrong this time, but I felt awkward anyway.

At 3:30 p.m., I narrowly avoided being bulldozed by a girl in a wheel chair.

At 3:32 p.m., I almost stepped on a woman’s dog. In my defense, the ball of fluff blended in perfectly with the concrete of the sidewalk. Okay, the dog was black.

I was barely halfway through my day when I began considering other modes of transportation. Maybe I’m just not that good at walking, I thought.

I briefly considered taking up rollerblading, but then I remembered the intense groin pain I would always wake up to after childhood birthday parties at United Skates. My mom told me it was because I wasn’t used to using that muscle. Do I use it more now? Wouldn’t you like to know.

The more I thought about the day’s events, the more frustrated I became. Why was walking so difficult for me?

Maybe the world would be better off if I were to just sit in one place and not move.

I could feel myself getting pretty steamed about this, and I tried my best to calm down. You’re just having an off day, I told myself. Tomorrow will be better.

The next day, I was walking back from class when I heard the sound of a bicycle coming from an unidentified direction. I began to panic.

Do I keep walking straight? Do I move left? Do I move right? Do I stop?

I decided to keep walking straight, hoping this choice wouldn’t end with me crying in the bushes. After a few seconds that felt like hours, the bike revealed itself and safely zoomed past me.

I was ecstatic. I had made it out alive.

Especially after an exhausting day of close encounters, this not-so-near-death experience made me realize something: I can’t go about life being hesitant.

The world is full of beauty and wonder, and I don’t want to miss out on any of that just because I’m afraid I’ll walk into someone or trip on my own foot. I am going to live my life, and I am going to walk this campus with my head held high.

I apologize in advance for whatever happens.

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