John Walker's Electronic House

How I Chopped My Leg Off (and other stories)

by on Dec.17, 2007, under The Rest

It was getting onto the train at Trenton, NJ. After an hour waiting in the most miserable train station I’ve ever seen, I stepped onto the train, which ingeniusly has a shiny metal surface designed for being incredibly slippery in the rain. And slip I did, my left leg sliding forward, which caused my right leg to fall into the gap between the train and platform, the sharp metal edge of the train slicing clean through my shin, my foot falling onto the track below. I’ve grown a new foot since, but it sure did sting. I will illustrate the shocking, gory reality with photographs, along with the rest of the post, when I get back (tomorrow).

Fortunately I don’t let something like severing a limb spoil my holidays. I’ve more spirit than that.

Normally when I come to America on my own money I stay in the comfort of Kim and Nick’s house. I find they charge very reasonable rates, and only make me work for seven hours a day, leaving me with a few spare minutes for fun in the city of Chicago. However, demonstrating a remarkable degree of selfishness, they’ve since moved to Philadelphia (or just outside it), and their new place doesn’t have a room set aside for me. (Get this – they think their new baby deserves the room more than me). So travelling with Jo, we originally intended to visit New York until we saw the prices. We both had reasons to want to visit Philly, and so we did, and wow did we luck out.

The first night was spent in New York, then we raced around New York and saw every single square inch of it in two-thirds of a day. Then the train/leg incident, and into Philly. We found a hotel that was significantly cheaper than most, and seemed like it would be a good location. The online reviews were very positive, but most complained that the rooms were tiny. So getting here to discover that the hotel was in the centre of the city in the most incredible location, and that the rooms are huge and really comfortable, is a bit of an excellent surprise. Everyone, stay in the Club Quarters in Philly. Free wireless! Free bottled water! Free coffee! Free gym equipment delivered to your room! I might not have taken advantage of one of these.

So it’s been a good week. Jo managed to get the cold that’s apparently killing everyone I know in England, but you’ll be relieved to learn that it hasn’t affected me. I have met the spawn that’s taken my free accomodation, and found her to be really rather cute. (Try to ignore my freakish eyelids).

Oh, and really, don’t bother with I Am Legend. What a massive anti-climax that film is. All this potential, so much money spent, and it’s the plot of every zombie film ever without a single fresh idea. In fact, it’s the first half of the dreadful 28 Days Later, without being as dreadful. I’m gobsmacked that people are mumbling about Oscars. Will Smith takes most the screen time, and does nothing exceptional (unless you count the muscle-porn scene where we have to watch him flex his chest for about a full minute for no reason). To its credit, it’s very short.

Finally, here’s a strange story about my brain breaking.

I’m sat in a deli in NY, and I go to get some cash out of the ATM. I swipe my card, go to put my PIN in, and… nothing. I cannot remember my PIN at all. It’s just gone. A four digit number that I type in, what, every other day? And now it’s vanished. Then a number comes to me and I try it. Wrong. A variation, wrong. Another, wrong. And now that ATM won’t talk to me any more. (Thank goodness you swipe your card in the US, rather than sacrifice it to the belly of the machine until your transaction is over, or it would have been eaten forever). Figuring this is a temporary madness, I assume it will come back to me the next time I think about it. But no. Nothing. An empty space in my head where the PIN belongs.

Later I come up with another number. And then I realise where the earlier number had come from. To further display how weird it is to have forgotten the PIN, for reasons I can’t explain I can remember my Switch number in full. The number I’d tried before, and this new one, were both from that. In desperation for an answer, my brain had switched in another four digit number it knew was associated.

That night, half asleep in bed, I came up with another number and wrote it down on the pad by my bed. In the morning I looked to see what I had. 2710. There was something wrong with that too… Oh yeah, it’s my birthday. I’m such a genius.

And it was gone for days. From Tuesday to Saturday. I couldn’t get cash out, and I was also delighted to learn that the bank had blocked my credit card in case I was some dirty fraudster, which took a 45 minute phonecall to the UK to undo.

Then yesterday, I went to an ATM for shits and giggles. And there it was. It just came back. Thanks brain!

9 Comments for this entry

  • pharoahe_monch

    surprisingly, i totally agree with your words about I Am Legend. massive anti-climax, yes sir! but check out Will’s impressive six-pack and the even more impressive results of the first weekend in US boxoffice!

  • roburky

    I’m disappointed you didn’t try 0451.

  • km

    I figured you had posted when I saw 54 hits to my flickr picture of you and the baby. :)

  • Lu-Tze

    @roburky : Scary, I thought the exact same thing.

  • Tim E

    I bloody loved 28 Days Later.

  • Tim E

    In fact, the only thing that could have made 28 Days Later was if Will Smith was in it.

  • Steve W

    Who exactly is mumbling about Oscars? I’ve kept my ear reasonably close to the ground on this film and the only mumbling I’ve heard is about the crappy CGI on the zombies.

  • John

    28 Days Later struck me as a half-decent zombie flick to start, with the nice idea of having them be fast, and then descended into a really deeply unpleasant masogynistic festival of attacking women. I found it really very foul, without being very good.

  • The_B

    Is that first commentor some sort of more sophisticated spam bot? Or at least their site seems a bit…weird.

    On topic ish – I dunno, I thought Days was really good, although I agree I think the masogynism was unnecessary really.

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