Well, shit. Someone up there actually listened to my complaints that life has been flying by way too fast recently. I just lost my 5th gear.
I had a minor bike accident today; my bike’s front wheel caught on the tram rail and caused the entire [Kosma+bike] assembly to wobble uncontrollably for a split second before becoming a live payload catapult.
Here’s how it feels. The only reason I’m describing this is because as long as I’m focused on writing, I’m not focused on the fact that my left arm will be pretty much out of order for at least two weeks.
The moment you lose control of your bike, you know it. There’s a short struggle where you try to stabilize it – before jumping off. Here’s the first tip: a controlled fall is always better than an uncontrolled one. Even if it involves jumping off a vehicle rolling down the street at 20km/h.
So you jump. There’s a short flight which I remember quite clearly; the sight of the road inevitably approaching at a weird angle. At that point, somewhere around hitting the ground, a thought came: so WHAT NOW? Well, there’s the second tip: don’t fight. If you come rolling, curl up in a ball; if you start sliding (like I did), just slide. If you try to lessen the impact damage by shielding yourself with your hands, you’ll break them, so just don’t.
You came to the stop. Congratulations! My first reflex was to pull the bike off the street. Tip no. 3: don’t do it because if you do, the witnesses will drive away and you’ll have no one to help you in case something bad just happened. And you don’t know what happened yet since you’re on a gigantic adrenaline rush. You could as well have a broken limb or an internal hemorrhage and not have a clue. If I didn’t pull the bike off the street, I’d be basically blocking half of the intersection. This would be bad for all the people rushing somewhere, but – as I discovered at that instant – rushing wasn’t the best idea in the first place. Bad for them, good for me – at least I’d get some help.
So, here’s the moment when your consciousness starts to slowly process what just happened. You were probably rushing to some meeting, event or work – except now you’re all dirty, your entire body aches like hell, you’re sitting in on the curb in the middle of an intersection – and your bike is broken. You’re amazed by the lack of reaction: people slow down and continue on; no one stops to ask if anything’s wrong. You absentmindedly text someone to let them know you won’t be coming to an appointment because, well.. you had a bit of an accident.
A few minutes pass. As you regain your calm, you look at your bag and realize it’s all dirty because you slid on it – and then you realize your entire digital life was inside. Tablet, phone, camera – you turn them on one by one, finding it a miracle they all survived the fall much better than you did.
You muster up enough strength to pull yourself and the bike to a safer place and start counting the losses. Missed appointment. Ruined day. A rather hard-to-find part of the gear mechanism shattered in pieces. Clothes & bag dirty. Some blood on your face… oh well. You reach for your iPhone, thinking of using it as a mirror… and only then, when you twist your left arm in an awkward way, you cringe in pain as you realize just how far your muscles got stretched in the accident. You lift your left hand in the same gesture you use to grab the handlebar; the resulting pain is so bad you instinctively tighten all your muscles, making it even worse. You self-diagnose the obvious: bones intact, muscles stretched way too far.
That’s the point where you just resign. You catch the tram back home. Whatever you were rushing to get to in time doesn’t matter anymore; all you long for now is the comfort of your own home and a cup of tea.
And that’s it. It may seem like nothing; give or take two or three weeks and I’ll probably be fine. At the same time, life just got so much harder: even typing this is an effort for I can’t quite find a comfortable position. Thankfully, the wrists took no damage, but there’s little comfort in this if you don’t have any lifting force to get them to where you want them to be. Forget violin and piano; forget Quake and Starcraft. It’s not the kind of accident that will keep me from coding, but it’s going be much less enjoyable.
Until I order a replacement part my bike’s 5th gear won’t work. Sadly, there’s no replacement part to lift me from the 2nd gear feeling I have right now.