I think I’ve mentioned several times that I am petrified of bicycles. I think I have NOT mentioned WHY I am so afraid of bicycles. I love motorcycles but HATE bicycles. Yes, I know I am weird and full of contradictions… that’s just me.
As you know, we weren’t very “rich” in material things growing up. I never remember ever having a bicycle so I never learned to ride them at a young age like most kids do. I remember occasionally being at my cousin’s house where there were bicycles but my trying to ride them usually ended in disaster. Mine or someone else’s. And I have the scars to prove it!
When I was in 7th grade (or maybe 8th) my soon to be new best friend moved to our town. I had never really HAD a best friend before that. At least not one that wasn’t a relative. I had “friends” at school but not what you’d really call “best” friends. Sam and I became the best of friends when two other girls from our home town, girls whom I had always considered friends, decided since she was new blood, that they needed to kick her butt into gear so to speak, to show her who REALLY ran that town. Now I don’t know about you, but, I take offense to “mean girls”. I don’t like girls who are mean to others just because they CAN be and they were being mean girls.
I remember standing in the lunchroom waiting for our school bus at the end of the day when these two mean girls started shoving Sam back and forth between them trying to show her who was boss. I still don’t know what possessed me (I was scared to death of both of them), but I guess my sense of right and wrong overtook my common sense and I stepped between them and shoved “Sam” behind me and told them if they wanted to kick her butt they would have to go through mine first. I don’t know who was more shocked… Sam, the mean girls or ME! I was petrified that they would both just wail into me and kick my butt from here to kingdom come but amazingly (and THANKFULLY) they backed off! I think probably because they were more shocked than anything. I know they weren’t afraid of me. I think the fact that ANYONE…. Especially ME … would stand up to them was enough to make them stop. So, that is the story of how Sam and I became best friends.
Sam had two little brothers and they all had bikes. So lots of times when I went to her house we would ride bikes and that is how I really learned (ok… struggled with) how to ride a bike. I spent MANY MANY hours, days, nights and weekends at Sam’s house. We were inseparable. Like two peas in a pod although I considered her the much better pea. Sam was a slight little slip of a girl. She was maybe 5’1” or 5’2’ and MAYBE 90 LBS soaking wet. But, she was blessed (?) with huge boobs so at that age she got all the guys attention and Sam had a HUGE personality. She was funny and sweet and a force to be reckoned with.
Ok… back to the bike story, there really IS one you know… We were freshmen in high school. It was the end of our Easter vacation/Spring Break and it was Sunday late afternoon and Sam calls me up on the phone and asks me to come to her house so we can decide what we are going to wear to school the next day. My mom always thought Sam was a bad influence on me (I don’t know why at that time but do later, but that’s another blog) and really didn’t like me spending so much time over there. I was probably grounded at that time for some reason or other or I most likely would have been over there anyway. So, she calls me to come over and my mom told me I could go over long enough to decide what we were gonna wear and then I had to come STRAIGHT HOME. She lived about a mile or two from our house and back then, it was perfectly normal for me to walk over there or her to walk to our house or ride her bike. But, since I didn’t have a bike, I’d walk over to her house. Her dad owned a little country store about halfway between our house and hers and if her mom needed something I’d stop on my way over there or sometimes I’d stop and he’d give me candy or a soda or something.
I get to her house and we go through her closet and decide which outfit she’s going to wear which narrows down what I’m gonna wear because her wardrobe was much more extensive than mine. I just had to go through my few outfits to decide what went with hers. I had probably been there an hour or more and knew my mom would be calling soon to find out why I wasn’t home yet. As I’m getting ready to leave Sam says “Let’s go bike riding!” I tell her NO…. my mom said come straight home and I don’t feel like getting yelled at or worse yet, slapped for NOT doing what I was supposed to… I had to go home. Sam could be VERY convincing when she wanted to. Her logic was there was NO WAY that my mom would ever know. We’d be back in 20 minutes. And it wasn’t really LYING (there we go again with the lying thing… dang do I never learn my lessons?) we just wouldn’t tell her we went! Logical, right?
As with every time I did something I wasn’t supposed to, everything did NOT go according to plan. The PLAN was that we were going to ride the bikes down to “Newtown” a little community section of our town, to the river (cause sometimes cute guys hung out down there) and then back to her house. Sam suggested I ride her bike since it was a “girls” bike and she would take her brother’s bike. So, off we set to Newtown. Once you turned off the “main” road to the road down to Newtown there was a VERY steep hill (Up) that we had to pedal up and we always tried to see how quickly we could get up that hill and then the hill went straight back down and almost into a U turn. It always got the adrenalin pumping to see how fast we could take that turn.
We were going pretty fast and I decided it was a little TOO fast for my comfort so I gently tapped the brakes (which I had NOT had to use up to this point). NO BRAKES!!! WTF???? NO BRAKES???? ARE YOU SERIOUS? I slammed on the brakes…. STILL nothing. Did I mention that she “forgot” to tell me her bike didn’t have brakes??? I had on brand new sneakers so in a panic I put my feet down to try to slow down (remember I’m not THAT great of a bike rider to begin with). All I accomplished with that was almost wearing the bottoms of my shoes completely off! By this time the handlebars are shimmying and I’m having a very hard time controlling the bike and we are heading for the U turn fullforce….and I KNOW I’m in trouble…. Of course Sam is BEHIND me because I’m flying like a bat out of hell and she is laughing her ass off because she thinks it’s SO funny that she forgot to tell about the brakes. I’m somewhere in between livid and scared shitless when it happens…. Halfway through this Uturn right in the middle of the road is a rock and you guessed it… I hit it! Of all places on the road to be, I’m in the middle and since I SUCK at bike riding I don’t have enough control over the bike to avoid the rock. So, the front wheel hits the rock and the next thing I see is the road coming at my face and then blackness…
In my mind’s eye, I jump right up (probably wasn’t quite that fast) because #1, I’m cool like that and #2, I don’t want Sam to see me on the ground because I know I’ll NEVER hear the end of her teasing #3, there MIGHT be some cute guy around somewhere that could see me! So, I jump up and grab the bike and as I stand up I see the lady that lives across the street and who had been sitting on her front porch watching this whole scenario unfold practically sprinting across her yard and somewhere in the background I can hear Sam screaming “Oh, my God, Oh, my God, Oh, my God… your mom is gonna kill us!”
As I pull myself upright this nice woman is trying to help me up and the first thing she says is “OH MY GOD, Child you’ve got a GASH in your face!” Great…. Now I have a scratch on my face along with all my other flaws….If only that were the case!
We go in her bathroom where she TRIES to clean me up and call my mom to come get me. I’m crying my eyes out, NOT because I’m hurt (which I WAS) but because I’m afraid my mom is going to kick my ass once she gets there because I will be found out and she will know I disobeyed her about coming straight home! I look in the mirror and my face is covered in dirt, gravel and blood. I was a sight to say the least. Ms. Dee is trying to wash my face which is stinging unmercifully (but which is a welcome relief because the pain is keeping my mind off my impending ass whooping! My mom gets there and walks in like she wants to be mad but once she sees me SHE starts crying and between the two of them they help me out to the car so my mom can rush me to the hospital. I don’t even know what happened to Sam at this point in all the confusion. She probably went home for fear my mom was gonna kick her butt too!
Please keep in mind that we lived in a very small town. Our town was a very rural area about 25 to 30 miles from the nearest hospital and mostly back roads which were VERY winding. My mom made it to the hospital in about 20 minutes … I kid you not. She passed everything on the road! On the way to the hospital I discovered that in addition to the “gash” in my face… I also had road burn on my right forearm from the elbow down to my wrist (to which you can STILL feel the tiny bits of gravel imbedded there to this day!) BOTH knees were torn up and about halfway to the hospital my right shoulder started burning like a mother and I discovered that somehow I had also managed to tear up the TOP of my shoulder…. Don’t ask… I don’t know…
Apparently when the front wheel hit the rock and I pitched over the handlebars I guess I made contact with the asphalt and loose gravel first with my face and then the shoulder, knees and entire right side of my body. When all was said and done, I was amazingly lucky. I bit almost all the way through below my bottom lip where I made impact and had 4 or 5 stitches there, blacked both my eyes, think my shoulder was probably dislocated, and was on crutches for two weeks. I ended up not having to worry about what we were wearing to school the next day because I missed the entire next WEEK of school. By the time I did go back to school, I still had both eyes black and the entire right side of my face looked like I’d been pretty much through a meat grinder. I had both knees bandaged and I remember how much it sucked to try to carry my books while I was on crutches. I sure wish we’d had back packs back then!
While in the ER I had quit counting the shots they had to give me when I got to 29. In addition to the tetanus shot, they gave me lots of novacaine to numb me while they had to scrape out and clean all the wounds. I’m talking dirt and gravel IMBEDDED in my knees, arm, shoulder and face. By the time they got to my forearm, they had quit giving me novacaine and just took a metal (wire) scrub brush and were just scrubbing the heck out of my arm. My mother finally threatened to get the intern his own room (against his wishes and due to her own hand) if he didn’t ease up. He apparently took great pride and way too much pleasure in “scrubbing” out the wounds. My mother finally asked him if he were sure we were at the Martha Jefferson Hospital and not Western State (the state run mental hospital) ?
The doctor finally asked me what size motor “it” had. I looked at him stupidly and asked what he was talking about. He said…. ‘Motor? You don’t know what size motor your bike had?” I was like “Motor??? I was on a BICYCLE!!!” He couldn’t believe I had done all that on a bicycle.
Yep, If I’m gonna screw something up? I’m going all out!!! So, please, if you really like me? DON’T ask me to ride a bicycle with you!