A little about falling out of windows

This post has been started several times, but never seems to find itself a conclusion. Either that or it becomes redundant. Anyway, I just need to cough it up or nothing else will be written. So here it is.

As most of you know by now, I fell. In the early morning of April 9, 2006, I went quietly out the third story window of a hotel in Port Costa, California. I had been drinking in celebration of the birthdays of some friends. Feeling too drunk and too tired to keep up with the party, I retired to my room, and roughly an hour later, for reasons still unknown, I opened the window and went out of it.

I don’t remeber the fall. I don’t know what I did for that hour. What I do remember is a dream. A dream in which I was walking down a hall or canyon, only it wasn’t in a room, but a space created out of the placement of larger things. Like walking among very large containers. I was walking with someone, but I can’t remember who. A child I think.

The next thing I know, I’m being awoken by shining flashlights and voices over my head. But I’ve already told this part of the story here.

There really hasn’t been too much else to add. In telling the story since, I’ve heard numerous similar falling stories from all sorts of people. In some stories people are lucky, in some they aren’t. And then there are those like the one my father told me about my grandfather sleepwalking out of a second story window. In that story my grandfather falls and breaks his leg.

I’ve since come home to my apartment in Oakland, where my beloved Doobie has been taking care of me and where the cat sleeps with me. Looking back at these pictures, (all of which come courtesy of the birthday girl herself, MissNadja .Robot) I was horrified. I remember looking out the window when I first checked into the room, but this was the same room that I used the year before. Yes, it’s high up, but you don’t really think about that as a sill to ground, a to b, distance. Or at least I didn’t.


The fact that I have no memory of the actual fall is a blessing I’m sure. When I first started working for Blue Bottle, I smacked myself on the eyebrow with a run-away piston lever. It bled and it hurt and it left a scar. For months I was scared of that machine. I kept replaying over and over the lever smacking back into my face. It was bad. But here I’ve cheated death and all I can remember is a bloody nose.

The real hard thing about all this was not the injuries, but facing my loved ones. We all suffered this injury, some more acutely perhaps, but the fear and concern is a shared experience. I would rather not have to do that again.

The final verdict was that I was extremely lucky. And even more so since. I’ve had all sorts of people come to my aid. My girlfriend and both our families have been tremendously supportive, offering to help in any way possible. Likewise, my friends have come to the rescue with visits and snacks and entertainment, without which the apartment would surely become a dull purgatory. There is also the support of my friends and co-workers at Ecco Caffè in their efforts to help me get exactly what I need. There is also the crew at Blue Bottle who’s collections will make these next months so much easier. Similar collections have been taken up online.[Edit]

Also big thanks to Val at Valerium.net for designing and printing to order the commemorative t-shirt, that you can see here.

I will be on bed rest for the next month, after which I will hopefully have more liberty to move around.
So if there are lessons to be learned it’s these:

For all of you who do not have insurance, get it. I was hounded and hounded by my family and if it wasn’t for work providing this benefit, I don’t know what I would have done. This incredible cost would have effected me and my loved ones for years.

Do not drink yourself into a stupor. But if you do, do no try to open a window on the third floor of a building. It could have disastrous consequences.

Finally and most important, take care of yourselves. These unexpected things will come up and whatever preparations you can make will save you a lot of problems down the line.

Thanks for everthing. I’ll try not to make my blog a boring moralizing place from now on. Promise.



Filed under Not Coffee

24 responses to “A little about falling out of windows

  1. hey man, I want to come visit you next Sunday if that is possible, even maybe this Sunday?

    I am so glad you are ok.

  2. keith

    Wow. I got the news in Charlotte from Emily. I kept asking…”how?”. In my experience usually a fall like this is preceded with someone shouting “I can fly! I can fly!” or “You should have just paid, now we have a problem.”
    Good to hear the real story, or at least what you remember of it. Take care and heal up. Let Jen and I know if you need ANYTHING, as you know we are down there often. (down next week for Ryan Adams)


  3. Jer

    Steve —

    I’m that dude that writes for SFist.com that you met a while ago when you were still with BB (I quoted you exptensively in an article). You may or may not remember. In any case, I’d like to do a short story on your situation in hopes of hyping the fundraising efforts. Please email me jeremy_nisen (at) sbcglobal.net so i can get the backstory and such if this sounds good to you. If not, please accept my best wishes on a speedy recovery.

  4. Hey all. In case you don’t know, Andrew Barnett is collecting donations for Steve at through a paypal link on the CG Site:


    Head over, add to the thread, tell a goofy story about Steve and how we have to help him out as best we can so he can get on with life doing more goofy stuff, like nosediving out of a basement window, or something like that 😉

  5. Valerie

    Aw Steve, I didn’t mean to be crass! I just am. It’s purely in the spirit of being glad you’re alive.

  6. Hey dude, I didn’t know you had a blog! Holding out on me are you…

    Sorry you’re bummed about the shirts! No harm was meant, we’re just trying to help out.


  7. Pingback: t o n x . o r g » Blog Archive » Brokeback Steve

  8. My goodness. So glad you’re ok. Here’s to a speedy recovery.


  9. bronwen

    my evil twin —

    hope things are recovering speedily. sending only good vibes, no evil ones this time.


  10. Gobs

    Hi. Heard about your spill. We don’t really know each other but I wish you a full recovery soon.


  11. Holli Plummer

    So i am reading Life Begins After 30…and catch site of her posting on you and think…he sounds familiar…and MAN! it is you and you’re hurt. Sending out good thoughts to you from myself and Alan @ Borderlands…let us know if you can use any books to fill your days…delivery included.

  12. Holy CRAP !!!

    And you’re only going to be in bed for a month? You can do that easy, don’t sweat it. I did 3 without leaving the bed.
    I’ll arrange some pork in a pyramid and aim it’s healthful benefits in your direction. I’ll even provide gravy to magnify its effects.


  13. I’ve been reading a while just never commented, Glad you lived thru all that. Man that was a long way down!
    Were those drinks coffee drinks, I have to be careful if that’s the case.

  14. Wow. Scary stuff. Good advice too.

    I remember staying in Quito (on the way to the Galapagos) and watching a street festival from our hotel balcony. It was quite a spectacle to watch but the balcony itself was unsettling as the rail/barrier that kept you in was barely above the knee.

  15. I hope you make a speedy recovery, and don’t always take the word of one doctor. Be an intelegent patient and ask questions about your recovery and injuries, if your not happy about anything, cause trouble! Thats how I got my Gran sorted out after her fall!

  16. I can only think of one way to sum up this
    What’s interesting to me is the more I read the more
    I find this blog (post) so helpful, but thats only
    my opinion. Each to there own thing I say…..

  17. Martin Fightmaster

    Hopes and prayers coming your way from Cincinnati, OH – though you are probably over your “fall” (such a great word – right up there with “Howl”) you can redeem them (hopes and prayers) at any time of your choosing – loved the “Falling Man” – what a wonderful metaphor.

    Cheers and pleasant dreams,

    A bipolar night-wanderer who can hear the heavy lapping of the muddy Ohio River outside his office window.

  18. Kyle

    Interesting to read this post. On November 2, 2008, I fell face-first out of my 4th-story dorm window at the University of North Dakota and was hospitalized for 27 days. I also have no memory up to two hours before the ordeal, but by some freak of science I landed just right so that my jawbone shattered, but my brain was perfectly protected. I have eight plates in my face now and chronic pain for (probably) the rest of my life, but it was just cool to find out about someone who has been through a similar experience.

  19. Jessica

    I actually fell from a 3 story window as well due to drinking in nyc. I got really lucky as well, fratured 5 bones on my body but only landed on my shoulder,femur,elbow, and wrists. I managed to miss my face, spine, and brain. I have no memory of my accident, and I still don’t understand how it happened. I was hot, and I went to the window. And the rest is history. Someone heard me saying I need help and called 911 and 4:30am back of the building on a Saturday night in june. I got extremely lucky. If anyone has similar stories i would love to talk to you. My email is js7287@gmail.com. Jessica

  20. Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

    I’m Out! 🙂

  21. Sean Vargaa

    Damn i know a kid named David Reyes who did the same exact thing! But the difference is he jumped through the glass, thinking he was peter pan.. well I guess he was wrong.. if you would like to know more about his experience and why he did it Please give him a call at 626-421-4024 to share your thought with him on the incident…

    Thank You

    One of his more smarter friends..

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