When I was twenty-five and stringing together a bunch of part-time jobs, living on my own, it was not uncommon for me to have a day off in the middle of the week. I worked primarily as a hostess at a restaurant and I typically didn’t go in until 4pm anyway. I’ve always been a goddess of the sun, taking every opportunity to lay out and fry my skin off that was presented to me. Before beach/pool season began, I would do this thing where every time the sun was out, I’d lay a blanket on the grass in front of my apartment and sit on it in a skimpy tank top and athletic shorts hiked up as much as I possibly could to soak up some of that UV good good. My dad used to call this trashy—I call it innovative. I didn’t have a backyard so this little public patch of grass was my sunning oasis. Alright, fine, it was super trashy but I paid a steep rent and the least I could get out of an apartment that had original windows from 1930 that I had to SARAN WRAP in the winter to stop the frosty windchill from taking over my living space was claiming a square of green. Well one fateful day as I came down with my blanket in my “it’s too soon for bikini season so I’ll respectfully wear gym clothes” tanning outfit, there was a sign on the lawn that said: “pest control—stay off the grass!” Was it strategically placed there just to keep me from sitting? Probs. I scoffed and quickly changed plans, marching across the street to Congress Park where the stoners play frisbee, the homeless people snooze on the bench and the ducks get too close for comfort. It was not my slice of partially enclosed apartment heaven, but it would have to do if I was going to erase this blinding whiteness that 5 months of winter had created. Dress season was upon us and I didn’t want to have translucent legs anymore.
After a couple hours of worshipping the sun, I began my sweaty trudge back to the apartment. I came up to the top of the park on the “Welcome to Saratoga Springs” statue and noticed that the red tulips surrounding the park were in bloom. At the time, I was running my dad’s small business Instagram account and my first thought was how bomb this would look on his page. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but what a star employee I am. I snapped a few artsy pics, getting those angles all up in those tulips, went to hustle across the street without a Walk symbol because I like to play it fast and loose and mid-crosswalk, I was shot at. Just kidding, checking to see if you’re still reading. Mid-crosswalk I felt something in my flip flop. I thought it was a rock so I just kept scooting as there were cars approaching now. Once I got to the other side, I looked down as this rock was really starting to hurt and saw a WHOLE ASS glass bottle STICKING OUT OF MY FOOT through my flip flop. I’m not sure how dense I had to be to not notice peg-legging across the street with a glass bottle as a heel, but clearly I needed to get a little more observant. Obviously my first instinct upon this discovery was to get the foreign object out of my body. Had I known that dislodging the bottle would create a whole other bloody situation, I would’ve kept it inserted in my foot for the rest of my life. Because oh buddy, once I yanked that thing clean, my foot started spouting blood like a spigot on full blast. I was now standing on the sidewalk of a main street splooging blood everywhere. It was puddling at my feet on the sidewalk. If this is too graphic for you, please know that I almost puked at the amount of blood that was collecting in such a short span of time. (I have many photos of this incident including a close-up shot of my blood covered stump but I’ve decided to only include the tamer ones here…if you’re squeamish with blood consider this a courtesy warning to scoot past these pics without a glance.)
I was in complete shock and I still had two blocks to walk back to my apartment. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t contemplate calling an ambulance. Instead, I called my parents. My dad answered and as I described the bloody sitch and cried to him about how the hell I was supposed to get home and what if I bleed out and die on this very sidewalk? He said, “I don’t know what you’d like me to do from two hours away.” THANKS FOR NOTHING, DAD. My flip flop was soaked in blood, my foot was sliding off of it, and I seriously considered using my blanket as a tourniquet then quickly realized I had no idea how to execute that. Apparently several years of watching the crew at Seattle Grace perform all sorts of medical duties in a pinch did absolutely nothing to prepare me for my own medical emergency. THANKS FOR NOTHING TO YOU TOO, DR. MEREDITH GREY. As I attempted to do something useful with that blanket, all that ended up happening was covering it in my own gore and dragging it on the sidewalk as I limped home, leaving a trail of blood in my wake. No one stopped to help or even question why someone who could be a freshly bronzed runway model was bleeding out all over the sidewalk, midday. Fuckin’ Saratogians. Buncha bougie a-holes who can’t be bothered with a little casual B negative overflowing onto their pristine walkways. I made it home alive and was able to clean my stump of a foot without sobbing. Possibly the worst part of it all was that when I finally mopped up all of the fluids, what I found underneath was one incision in my heel, the size of a regular paper cut. All of this fanfare for a measly little cut.
I bandaged it up and for the rest of the week wore Converse to work with my sundresses, telling the restaurant that I was severely injured and would not tolerate feedback about wearing kicks to work. I hobbled people to their tables and sat on a stool with my foot dramatically elevated (think Michael Scott when he burned his foot on the George Foreman), sneaking bread and olive oil underneath the hostess stand to ease my pains. I just took it one day at a time, ya know? It’s all any of us can do. And not to brag, but I pull OFF sneaks and dresses—a trend that I still crush to this day. I was getting mad compliments, so if anything, my injury just upped my cool girl fashion game. A few days later, I was finally ready to return to the scene of the crime. I needed closure. What I found was that my blood still decorated the sidewalks (and there was A LOT of it.) I also found the culprit. A broken Grey Goose nip. And you know what? If I’m going to get shanked in a crosswalk and nearly need to amputate my entire foot, I’m glad it was top shelf liquor that did me dirty. I respect it. Should they name Circular St. as a Saratoga landmark for tourists to visit? That’s not for me to say. I did, however, take it upon myself to pen a strongly-worded letter to the Mayor in favor of some sort of ribbon-cutting and celebration of this new historical site. The Salty Ju Trail of Blood.
In the weeks after, I managed to re-teach myself how to walk with both feet and straighten out that limp like Verbal Kint at the end of The Usual Suspects. Eventually a hard rain fell and washed away my blood from the sidewalk. The Instagram post that I nearly died to capture got 19 likes. If you’d like a point of reference, anyone from Gen Z could post a dog-face filtered selfie on Instagram at any time of the day and it would reach hundreds of likes within the hour. I stabbed myself with a Grey Goose mini all for a photo that will fade into oblivion. You bet your bottom dollar I demanded a raise for my no compensation, family favor social media job. MY TALENTS ARE NO LONGER FREE WHEN I’M GUSHING BLOOD ON A TUESDAY FOR A PRETTY PICTURE OF TULIPS. Obviously it’s been several years since this incident has occurred and it still feels just like yesterday. The mayor never replied to my letter or erected a statue in my honor (with one foot missing) but I will never forget the day I learned walking might kill me before skin cancer does.