Sloane Crosley: ‘I do say sorry when I slam into strangers in the street, but I don’t mean it'

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I body-checked two people this week. This isn't a new habit either. It's something I like to do when I want to elevate my feelings about other people's poor street etiquette from "passive" to "straight-up aggressive".

Go ahead, try exiting a shop with your body pointed north and your head turned west and see what happens. Better yet, text while walking. I do say "sorry" when I slam into strangers, but let the truth be told: I don't mean it.

Normally, I am a vocal advocate for "looking both ways" and "knowing the size of one's own body". But working, socialising and simply running errands in Manhattan, means I am bound to break my own rules on occasion.

Last week, I was texting a friend about some matter that felt very urgent at the time. I went to step onto a curb, aiming at what I was sure was the flattened, wheelchair-accessible section. Instead, I kicked the thick crust of stone and fell straight onto the concrete. My phone went flying. People gathered. I was wearing jeans with holes in them (a whole other kind of crime) and I was surprised to see my that my knee bled instantly and profusely. After the third good Samaritan offered to help me up, I told him this was getting embarrassing.

"I think it's one of those things," I explained, my leg throbbing, "where I just have to lie here and bleed for a bit."

It's been a while since I've had such a visible malady. Sometimes I get anxious. Depressed. Moody. The flu. The occasional migraine. But this was a retro accident. As luck would have it, I was already on my way to a pharmacy. Shame, ever the conqueror of pain, caused me to straighten my limp as I approached the counter.

"Excuse me," I said, "I hate to bother you but I seem to have a stream of blood dripping down my leg."

As the pharmacist retreated to her cabinets for disinfectant, I went to finish my text to my friend. I changed my mind. I'll just call her later, I thought. If I could be this calm, this disconnected regarding an issue on my own body, I could stay offline for an hour as well.

Sloane Crosley is author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello)

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