Today, I “arsed off” my foot scooter. That’s what we say here, when the involuntary dive to the ground is spectacular. And spectacular it was. Not least because it was right near a busy intersection with a hundred-thousand-million spectators, which caused as much hurt to my pride as it did to my sixty-one-year-old body. Although sixty-one-year-old bodies don’t bounce off concrete footpaths in the same way twenty-one-year-old bodies do, I was still back up on my feet in almost a trice – a ‘trice’ taking a bit longer for me to execute these days. I felt a bit shaken – well, quite a lot shaken, really – but there was no way I was going to admit that to the lady who came to see if I was okay. Growing up in a family of six children as I did, stoicism is seared into every fibre of my being.
I wasn’t doing anything silly on my scooter, I swear. True, I had got a bit more confident on it since I first bought it as a sixtieth birthday present for myself, but I only took tiny, tiny risks on it. I had learned quite quickly that scooters with hard wheels don’t do bumps and cracks in paving, nor wet soft earth, nearly as well as anything with pneumatics tyres will do, so I am careful about those things now. Banged shins and ankles make for fast learning. The main thing I use my scooter for is going to the local shops, or the shopping mall a bit further away, with a small backpack on. I’m familiar with those footpaths and their quirks, plus I like the exercise, rather than taking my car. As an added bonus, scootering takes about a third of the time it would take to walk.
Getting near the intersection before the shopping mall, I saw a car nose its’ way out of a driveway with a tall fence on either side of it. I know to be wary about cars and driveways, and I am watchful of these while I’m scootering. I stopped to wait for the car to pull out onto the road, but the woman driver very courteously decided to back up and let me pass first. In a return gesture of courtesy, I looked at her as I passed, gave a small wave of thanks – and arsed off.
Taking one hand off the handlebars isn’t an automatic recipe for disaster. I often do it to adjust a backpack strap, scratch my nose, or push my glasses further up on it. This time, however, I must have turned the handlebars slightly as I looked at the driver of the car, and hit a miniscule groove in the footpath at the same time. Now, that was a recipe for disaster! I hit the deck hard. I have now added turning to look at someone, giving them a wave, and inadvertently turning the handlebars whilst hitting a groove in the footpath at the same time, all whilst in motion, to the list of things not to do on my scooter.
Naturally, the woman got out of her car to see if I was okay. I didn’t feel too flash, but my pride wouldn’t admit to that, and besides, it didn’t feel as though anything was broken. She stayed with me for a couple more minutes, as I got myself together. Then with reassurances to her, I got back on my scooter, and proceeded a tad more sedately on towards the shopping mall, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible.
Some of my ribs now hurt like stink. They began hurting about two minutes after my dive, so I know they’re going to remind me of this for a while yet. Tomorrow and the next day will be ‘interesting’. Being fairly well-endowed in the boob department, my right boob absorbed some of the impact between more ribs and the concrete. The jury’s still out on whether this was a good thing. My right hand is a bit sore, too, but coming right, and I have a very small graze on the side of my forehead. The ribs win the pain prize, with my right shoulder coming in a close second.
However, I survived. And I’d like to take this opportunity to say to my brother-in-law “YOU WERE WRONG!” His comment to my sister upon learning that I’d bought myself a scooter, was to say that I was a silly old fool (not disputing that part – it was probably said, and thought, by a few others, too), and I’d probably fall off and break a hip, or something. Well, if there’s anything good to come of this, it’s the satisfaction of knowing that he was wrong. I didn’t break a hip, so good result there. This time, anyway. Hopefully for the future, too, seeing as I’m not one to not learn my lessons well.
Picture by: Mohammed Hassan.