Steppin’ It Up!

This morning, moments after I performed a rather glorious grande jet&#233 onto a curb on my way to the bus after the gym, a random woman standing by Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop grinned at me as I passed and said, “Hey, one step at a time, baby!” either right after she pulled on a cigarette or was about to pull on it. (Either way, she was pulling.) (I am actually less sure if she was a woman or not. She was about as gender-specific as a pair of Gap khakis.) I grinned back at her, because that’s just the kind of magnanimous, cheerful girl I am: I will even acknowledge the unsolicited comments of a smoker of indeterminate gender.
Immediately I thought, “Hey, wha’choo talkin’ about, Willis?” and not just because she (?) actually did bear quite a striking resemblance to Gary Coleman, but because that’s what automatically goes through my head whenever I realize, a beat after the fact, that I don’t quite get it and I have to acknowledge the large Cooper Black question mark hovering over my head. I was willing to bet her life that I hadn’t stumbled up the curb or tripped on my feet. In fact, I had thought I negotiated the curb with a fair amount of grace befitting a lithe lovely, and knew that if a ballet teacher I had a few years ago in an acting program I wish to forget had witnessed its execution, she would have been prouder of me at that moment than any of the countless others that had me fumbling across her dance floor like a particularly ungainly yak.
I did not know what this person was talking about, and instantly was awash with a charming variety of paranoia. I considered that perhaps my face was still somewhat pink from the self-induced tortures I had put myself through at the gym, and she mistook the glazed look in my eye and the flushed tone of my skin as surefire indicators of drunkenness, and thought the snappy Sigg bottle I was spinning around my index finger by its cap was filled with something decidely less innocuous than the water I knew to be inside. Certainly I didn’t do something to warrant her comment!
Or could it possibly be that, in my “high” after-gym state, elated to have survived yet another round with myself, my elegant grande jeté was more of a flustered stumble, and this nice woman was simply making a lame ha-ha at my paranoid, narcissistic expense?
What do you think?