Saturday morning at the end of a 40 minute stair-running workout in Santa Monica, I almost participated in my first live girl-on-girl cat fight. I had run 12 sets of 150 stairs, most of them taken two at a time, and the stench of wet bodies and morning fog enfolded me like a curling swath of rancid morning breath. The atmosphere unpleasant, adrenaline fueling my limbs like lighter fluid, I charged up the last 80 stairs grunting and puffing and huffing like a skinny little train that could, all the while maintaining The Public Stair Runner’s Code of Etiquette:
1. Run or walk to the right. Pass on the left.
2. Do not stop anywhere along the flight of stairs; wait to tie your shoes or to pull your panties our of your ass at the bottom, at the top, or at the landing in the middle.
3. Do not sing to yourself. Do not hum.
4. Do not count outloud.
5. Do not wear perfume or hairspray of any kind.
6. Do not swing your elbows or kick your legs back in any sort of pseudo Kathy Smith fashion.
7. Upon completion of descending the stairs or reaching the top, TAKE A STEP AWAY FROM THE STAIRCASE so that anyone directly behind you or in front of you may finish or begin without having to tackle you.
8. Anyone ascending the stairs has right-of-way during a body jam (body jam being three or more people at one point along the staircase at the same time).
9. If someone is obviously in better shape that you are, DO NOT TRY TO SPEED UP AND KEEP UP WITH THAT PERSON. GET OUT OF THEIR WAY.
10. GET OUT OF MY WAY.
As I neared the top of the stairs on that last lap, a deceptively fresh-looking bambi-type wearing designer-brand workout leggings and swinging a cornsilk ponytail in rhythm with the stride of her thighs caught sight of me just as I was about to pass her on the left. Not to be out-staired by someone so fashionably profane– admittedly, I’d left my Jean-Paul Gaultier leg warmers at home, natch –she increased her speed and began racing me. We reached the top of the stairs at preceisely the same moment: I on the left, she on the right. Without so much as a dollop of hesitation, Kicking Screaming Gucci Little Piggy violated Etiquette Rule #7 and plowed into me on her way back down. Annoyed but preoccupied, I headed away from the stairs to walk off the workout. Piggy, however, annoyed and apparently off her meds, decided she wanted an apology:
“Excuse you!” she screamed in front of the twenty people standing at the top of the staircase.
With my liamseyebrow raised in confusion, I asked, “Excuse me?”
“That was rude!”
I immediately spit back in a mocking sqeal-like voice, “That was woode!”
She looked quite cute in her Cynthia Rowley cashmere sweater, even as she yelped, “You should be sorry!”
Fighting every urge to walk over and nudge her Gucci ass slightly off balance and watch her tumble down 150 stairs, I point out, “You should stop eating twinkies!”
I didn’t know I could be so cruel. Please Lord forgive me.