Aside from my dramatic bicycle accident this week that ground my life to a halt, I feel just wonderful, thanks.
There were high speeds involved, yes, and perilous pitfalls, a romantic underscoring, a heart-wrenching choice, all on a picturesque local university campus full of all-around good-looking young sorts standing around on their cellphones watching the whole disaster with the feigned disinterest of movie extras.
I could have been explaining exactly this to the doctor at the walk-in clinic with that dead-pan expression that actors use when they’re trying to look sincere.
Briefly, the truth: I can’t quite carry a Styrofoam cup of tea in one hand and steer a bike in the other, unless I’m headed straight for the campus shrubbery anyway. My brain made the executive decision that it would be better to spill myself than a single drop of tea. Brains aren’t everything, you know.
An aside to the brief truth: five feet away from the shrubbery — now badly in need of re-fluffing — stood a student on her cellphone who didn’t even pause in her conversation to acknowledge the crumpled person before her.
Sometimes life demands that you enter an awkward conversation with strangers who can’t drive bicycles.
You have to make sure they’re okay, and that they haven’t, in broad daylight, plunged into awareness of the sheer pain and loneliness of existence. Generally, you must do this.
Right now, my swollen-beyond-recognition right foot and I are tenderly bruised but shyly considering the convenience that crutches can give the freshly immobilized.
So far, coercing my roommates into pushing me around in a rickety black plastic office chair seems to be doing the trick. The more motherly among them are baking chocolate cake, and the more fatherly have offered their beer. Maybe this is how young people recover so quickly.
The possible rewards of bringing these self-inflicted trifles to a doctor are tempting, although I’ll take a stab at the political here to say that in other countries I wouldn’t even dream of their expense. Crutches might help me feed and water myself, sure, but that relief is nothing compared to the intoxicating premise of a doctor’s note.
Imagine, a magical, white-coated man absolving you of all your adult duties in this world for a brief moment or two. A carte blanche to take a good long look at the march of life’s progress from the folds of my sheets.
Already this one evening away from the normal pace of my life has been illuminating. Suddenly the world of hobbyist exercise seems jaw-droppingly thrilling, if only because sitting with one leg up all night is horribly stifling and hard on the old back.
I’ve learned that the right book and the record player are good, but not as good as the right person speaking and singing right to you. I have intuitively deposited my damaged husk in a central room and people swirl around me.
But the second this room becomes empty, and there’s nobody around to flip the record, make more tea, wheel me to the bathroom in my office chair, is a terrible second. As the evening lengthens its shadows, my traitor brain says to me, let’s not ever get old.
» Natalie Bohrn is a local university student. firstname.lastname@example.org
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2013