Some days, we are all this man falling down an escalator, over and over, impotent against the forces, such as gravity, that conspire to hold us down, such as at the bottom of an escalator.
This video, taken off a surveillance camera in China, was posted on Sohu on January 24. There’s no real information in the accompanying text other than a description of what’s on screen.
The original video was apparently a mobile upload of a computer screen. From the conversation, we can make out that this happened near an exit at a station (somewhere with a platform, so maybe a subway). At the start, two voices off-camera are heard discussing what they’re seeing. They note that the man isn’t holding the handrail and might be preoccupied with a cell phone, which causes the initial tumble.
As the man in the video is rolling head over heels, a woman walks into the room and is given directions to go clean up the escalator at “Exit B.”
“There’s water?” she asks.
“Blood,” is the reply — though in certain Chinese accents, such as this one, water and blood sound nearly indistinguishable.
“There’s water in the stairs?” she repeats.
“Stairs, stairs,” the one guy confirms.
The other points at the screen: “This one.”
“I know,” she says. “It’s leaking water?”
“Blood!” the one exclaims. “Can’t you see?”
“Blood!” the other guy also chimes in. “Human blood.”
At this point, the poor man in the video has finally stopped rolling.
“Oh my,” says the woman.
Anyone can stand on an escalator and go up. But let us admire, with all the empathy our small human hearts can muster, the truly noble task of falling down. Over and over.
I believe this was one of Shelley’s enduring lessons, as well as that of more than a few Daoists — no matter how you try, you’ll end up where you started.
We’re with you, man falling down escalator. We’re right there, rolling on the floor, definitely not laughing.