I fell off my bike yesterday. I understand this may not come as a surprise to some, as I believe I give the e-impression here that I'm 1) functionally retarded and 2) drunk all the time. However, for those who've seen me cycle, I'm hoping you're at least a little bit shocked.
"But Marissa, you're all dexterous and sh*t! You dangerously weave in and out of traffic with such a cool, nonchalant, devil-may-care demeanor! In fact, you're kind of like this guy!"
I know, I know. So when I mounted my bicycle yesterday and readied for the first pedal, I was as surprised as you were that just seconds later I was sprawled out like a chalk outline with my bike resting on top of me as if it just Ram Jam'd me (I watched The Wrestler yesterday -- it was so good it affected my similes). I was pinned, confused and, most of all, stunned.
But not stunned about the fall. As soon as the pedal didn't cooperate and I heard a snap, I knew I was about to bite it. Although that moment lasted a mere nanosecond, it occurred in my mind in slo-motion. I saw myself tip over and knew I could do nothing to stop it. I was going down.
When I thumped to the ground and realized I hadn't seriously injured myself, save for a couple of superficial scrapes and a gnarly elbow bruise, I immediately became concerned with my bicycle. The chain was completely disembodied from the gears. It was no longer circular, but in the shape of a long metal snake. It was dead.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed (really), as I realized this was pretty much the worst timing ever for something like this to happen. I had just 10 minutes to get to the sex shop, where I planned to risk getting fired by ignoring customers and instead reading I Was A Teenage Dominatrix, one of the lovely pieces of literature we sell.
Onlookers, however, heard a scream of pain and to my visible shock, not one but TWO people rushed over to -- wait for it -- HELP.
"Are you OK?" asked a woman waiting outside for a delivery. She came over and lifted the bike off of my akimbo limbs.
Seconds later I heard, "Are you all right?" The words uttered from the larynx of a young guy cycling by who stopped mid-pedal to check up on the situation. "Are you hurt?"
I had no idea how to respond. I mean, I'm pretty sure these people were being nice. And since when are residents of Washington, DC, nice? All I could think was, "What the...?"
After several seconds of confusion, I answered them. "I'm OK. Thank you for your help, though. I really appreciate it. I mean, it's not often that people reach out here and your concern is really touching and..."
As I stammered on in shock, both individuals slowly backed away, probably thinking I was legitimately insane, especially when I started giddily laughing. But I couldn't help it! I just couldn't believe what was happening. PEOPLE WERE BEING NICE! This was revelatory! In my two years slumming here I've noticed most people won't help you unless there's something in it for them, such as the promise beating someone with a stick once you catch them. But in this situation, no one was about to beat my bike with a stick, at least that I noticed. More importantly, no one wanted to beat me with a stick. Although, since I reacted in a such a crazy, borderline psychotic way, I'm wondering now if these nice folks feared I was going to beat them with a stick...hmm...that would be a shame...
But beating anybody or thing with a stick aside, it's important to note that this was a simple act of kindness -- a simple act of kindness IN DC. This is a big deal.
In the end, I gathered my bike's pieces and walked it to City Bikes in Adams Morgan where they were able to fix 'er up right while I waited. I arrived to work just 30 minutes late, which left me just enough time to follow through with my plan to read I Was A Teenage Dominatrix cover-to-cover by 10 p.m. (By the way, if you ever find yourself working in a sex shop for 4.5 hours with nary a thing to do except ignore customers, I highly recommend this book.)
In all, not a bad day. I learned a lesson (if you want people to be nice to you, hurt yourself) and I made $10.66. Wait a second...d'oh!