Engineering II’s Brutal Staircases

In the fall of my second year at UCF, I had a class called Sex Roles in Modern Society. I remember it quite vividly, and for a few different reasons. This particular class was in Engineering II – at the time, a very young building, whose interior terrain was quite alien (and always captivating) to me. Mostly, though, I remember it was during this fateful semester that the idea of being on time was ever accompanied by a sense of urgency – though I didn’t know and had no way to predict what would happen next, I learned to be on time. Due largely to my ignorance regarding the matter, I learned quickly that being on time was actually a form of social contract to which I was inextricably bound, automatically, by certain social scenarios – for example, the teacher-student relationship, where I was expected by the professor to be punctual and not miss class.

Up until halfway through the second week of class, I was doing swimmingly; a regular champion for the cause of punctuality. I remember parking taking me longer than I thought it would, and unwavering words of my professor began to build themselves, letter by letter, out of my anxiety, which was growing exponentially in the moment; “You are not allowed to miss one class. If you are more than five minutes late, you are absent.”

In the wake of the magnitude of the idea that I might actually fail a class for missing a single meeting, I nearly sprinted to that class after parking illegally. I ran toward that building like it was my enemy, like we were in the middle of a warzone; I charged with all my might and felt like the determination in my stride was synonymous with a battle cry. Essentially, I was Russell Crowe in Gladiator. I ran into the metaphorical coliseum, and my final challenge presented itself to me – the staircase.

I leapt up stairs, taking two at a time under my feet. I owned them. About halfway up the flight of stairs, I felt my weight shift unnaturally, at the exact same time as two very attractive young women rounded the corner and began a descent to the first floor. As I instinctively smiled upon seeing the pair, I also began my face-first downward flight into the riser of a stair. Time seemed to stretch out for the duration of the fall, and I remember standing up thinking I must have been smiling like the Queen as I smashed my face into the stairs. Though my dignity was bruised, I did come to a more meaningful understanding of the old adage, “A stitch in time saves nine.” I have not since suffered any self-induced punctuality-related injuries and consider this a major victory on the timeline of my life.