The Impractical Joke

My parents have always hated practical jokes. That’s why I never suspected them to play one on me, and also why I thought my house was being robbed at 11 p.m. last Thursday.

I was home with Nick, listening to music in my room and watching Louis hop around. I knew my parents were at an America concert, and didn’t expect them back until midnight or later. So when I heard footsteps upstairs, I was surprised but not alarmed that they were home early.

America, the band. Nice hair.

America, the band. Nice hair.

Nick and I had just gotten out of the hot tub. He had thrown his wet clothes in the dryer and was only wearing a robe. I went upstairs to say hi to my parents and grab some of Nick’s dry clothes.

I got to the top of the basement stairs and peered around the corner into the kitchen. No lights were on and every drawer and cabinet door was open. I heard people running upstairs and my mind rewound to 2nd grade when my house was robbed by teenagers.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, “NICK! NICK! WE’RE BEING BROKEN INTO!” while simultaneously falling all the way down the stairs. I ran over to him as he stormed out of the bathroom, robe flying on either side of him, screaming, “YOU BETTER GET OUT OF HERE.”

It was then we heard my dad’s voice: “WHAT? IT’S US!!”

I collapsed onto the ground and could not stop sobbing for about 30 minutes. It was the most frightened I have ever been. My poor parents had not seen this coming. They stood at the top of the steps saying, “We thought it was a funny joke.”

Then I felt the aftermath of falling down about eight steps on the side of my left ankle. The pulsing pain began as the shock wore off. By the end of the night, I could hardly walk. The next day, I went to urgent care to get x-rayed and see if anything was broken, and share the absurd story was the amused nurse practitioner. I was lucky, it was just a sprain.

Perhaps the most ironic part of this hilarious and scary story was that I was leaving for a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. the next day. I had managed to get over a cold earlier in the week that threatened to soil my trip, and was so excited to have a phlegm-free head by Thursday. And then I sprained my ankle.

I spent Friday icing and elevating, and tried to push the “It will be like this forever” thought out of my head. We left for D.C. that night, and by morning, my ankle felt much better.

I walked from monument to monument and museum to museum with only a slight pimp walk to first day, and almost no limp the next two days. I was even able to do a handstand at the Capitol Building.

Capitol Handstand

We met some very interesting people on the trip:

  • The hotel shuttle driver who has loved driving since he was small and still does, except when he finishes a 9-hour shift driving the Holiday Inn bus and then his 19-year-old daughter asks him to take her somewhere. He acknowledged the weirdness of him having a 19-year-old daughter when he looks about 25 himself. He forgot to go to the liquor store Saturday night so he was preparing to search far and wide for somewhere that sold booze on a Sunday
  • The subway rider with the pierced chin who stopped to make sure we had enough money for the exit fare
  • The Georgetown Bro who assessed our outfits and told us to go to The Big Hunt, then got in trouble with his girlfriend for talking to us
  • The homeless man who peed himself on the ground in front of the ATM and was too drunk to get up
  • The 50 blonde D.C. 20-somethings drinking bottomless mimosas at Urbana, whose combined cacophony of alcohol-amplified voices made our ears ring even after we left the restaurant
  • The Saturday cabbie who told us to pay anything we wanted because his credit card machine was broken, and whose favorite presidents are Clinton and Obama. He came to D.C. from Ethiopa for opportunity, but is going back because after 13 years, he is tired
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