You learn something about yourself -- not necessarily something you're proud of -- when your feet are suddenly straight out in front of you and calamity beckons.
In my case, I saved the cellphone.
Here's how I became an inadvertent luger: I had lined up for a ferry back to downtown Vancouver after a visit to Granville Island. With the huge Olympic crowds, attendants were carefully monitoring the flow of traffic down onto the docks. I happened to be stopped at the top of a long, steep ramp.
My phone rang. It was the office. I took the call just as the very nice woman in the blue vest gestured for me to start down the ramp. There was a railing along the right -- which is my phone hand.
Instantly, I was on my back, sliding down the deceptively slick ramp. The rubber mat was as slippery as Bernie Madoff. My backpack, including my computer and all manner of important items, bounced along with me. But it was the BlackBerry -- my link to the entire universe -- that I noticed bouncing toward the side of the ramp.
Below: False Creek.
Somehow, with a lucky swipe, I pulled the phone back from the brink. Then I got up and told my editor I'd call back.
Fortunately, there were only about a thousand witnesses from the queue I'd just been in myself.