Every afternoon before going home for the day, we bring the children’s riding toys in from the terrace. More often then not, one or two parents are late picking up their kid, so all the little vehicles have “motors” and the teachers have only to direct traffic. There are three little cars, one with pedals, two Fred Flintstone type; there’s a little red wagon; there’s a miniature rickshaw (a three-wheeler with a backseat built for two); and there are four tricycles.
Today every parent picked every child up in a timely manner. Can you believe it? Alyce, our paraprofessional, and I had to bring the toys in ourselves. I pulled the little red wagon into the classroom and parked it, then went back for a tricycle. Tricycles have a handy-dandy foot plate on the back so one can lug a friend around with them — or so a grownup can ride the tricycle like an overgrown roller skate.
I put my left foot on the step plate, grabbed hold of the handlebars and, head-down-butt-up, pushed off with my right foot. Vrooom! Vroom! I shot across the terrace and swung wide as I headed for the classroom door. I knew I needed to be lined up straight going in or a wheel would catch on the door frame. Vrooom! Vroom! I gave a mighty shove and flew like the wind right up to the raised lip door sill — screech!
The tricycle abruptly stopped. I blithely continued on without it, flipping over the handlebars and making a lovely somersault into the classroom. I landed just inside the door sitting on the tile and facing forward. Alyce, who had entered the room before me, was parking the tricycle she’d pushed inside. Without looking she queried, “Did I just hear your pants rip?”
Dryly I responded, “No, I don’t think that was it at all.”
She turned then to look and cracked up laughing. “Did you fall?” She chortled, then valiantly tried to pull herself together while demanding to know if I was all right. I assured her I was whole and hale, then I climbed to my feet. She set off on another giggle tangent. My pants had split — up from the middle of my knee to just below my pocket.
“I have to ride the city bus home!” I wailed.
Alyce, compassionately, laughed so hard she had to sit down.