You are going to think I’m a complete klutz. After I shared my Capture-the-Flag mishap, I’m a little apprehensive to write about today’s misfortune. I got up early (for me that means 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday; don’t judge!) and decide to ride my bike to the canal. I figure a little exercise would be a great way to motivate me for a day of cleaning out clutter in my house.
It’s a beautiful day here in Indianapolis with temperatures in the 70s and bright, blue skies. The canal is a gorgeous place to ride, especially on a day like today. So I sail along listening to Mumford and Sons and dart around people walking, pushing strollers and jogging. Now and then I pass another biker. The endorphins kick in, and I am feeling good.
Most of the time, people are conscientious of their surroundings and will move out of the way for one another.
Most of the time.
Just as I’m entering a tight space, I see an oncoming biker. I’m no math genius and I hate story problems but by my calculations, it appears that biker A, traveling south (that would be me), and biker B, traveling north (that would be a security guard), are pedaling at the same speed toward one another and will end up at a narrow passage between a light post and a wall at exactly the same time.
Don’t worry, we narrowly miss one another as we make it through the space. But just as we smile at one another, someone else walks into my damn story problem. A man on his cell phone, who was leaning against the post, steps in front of my bike. I hit his back with my hand and yell “Shit!” before I hit the brakes and find myself staring straight down at the cement trail. (Let me just apologize now to anyone who is offended by the word “shit.” I mean to keep it PG here, but for some reason that’s what comes out of my mouth, and if I ever die in some sort of accident that will most likely be my last word. It just happens. Ha! See what I did there?)
So I’m staring at the cement as I feel my bike rising up behind me, like a bucking bronco, and then somehow it comes to rest on my leg. A jogger stops to help me, (I hear her say “shit”, too, by the way) and the security guard comes back and the cell phone guy is there trying to untangle me out of my bike. The thing is, I’m not in pain. It’s not the sort of “I’m in shock and this is going to hurt later” type of thing, either. I’m totally fine. I tell everyone it must have looked worse than it was because they are all freaking out around me. My bike is fine. I am fine. The cell phone guy is fine, but apologizes profusely for not looking when he stepped out from behind the post.
With my pride barely intact, I get back on my bike and marvel that I’m really not hurt. Then I think about my brothers. I really owe it to them. They trained me for these sorts of unfortunate events. Had it not been for the extensive indoctrination to pain they gave me as a little girl, I may have crumbled under the duress of getting bucked from my Target-special Schwinn Jaguar.
Had they not chased me up the stairs and pulled my legs out from under me, nearly knocking the wind out of me, I may have cried today.
Had they not hidden under my bed and waited until I was nearly asleep to grab my feet in my darkened room, I may not have been able to handle surprises like someone walking out from behind a post.
Had they not tackled me in flag football instead of tagging me, I may have called for an ambulance instead of getting up and brushing myself off.
And while I’m at it, I should let my parents know I owe them for making me tough, too. When I would come in crying after being tackled in football or from my brothers pushing me on the bed and bouncing on my head, they would say, “Well, don’t play with them then.”
Yeah, right. That was not an option. And they knew it. My parents knew I would go right back out for the punishment because older brothers were cool, and they knew how to make life interesting.
So thanks Todd and Bill, Mom and Dad. If not for you, I probably would have sat there milking the attention, or called for a ride home. But instead, I stood up, put Mumford and Sons back into my ears, lifted one leg over the seat of my bike and enjoyed the rest of my ride.