2 months ago, I got up very early to go to what I believe is the best bakery in the Boston area. It's tiny, and they bake artisan breads, flaky butter croissants,...delicious and inventive special treats on a daily basis...
On my way home, I was biking down a road I've biked on many times before. I was coming down a hill toward a red light and was braking, when I saw a car speeding across the trolley tracks towards me. I crapped my pants. I wish I were kidding. I heard the passenger shouting, "STOP! STOP! STOP!," but the driver didn't heed his sage advice.
I was airborne, tossed in the air like a rag doll. I fell on the hard pavement on my back.
The pain was excruciating. I wiggled my toes and thankfully did not sever my spinal cord, but I knew I had injured my back. I knew to lie still on the road. The driver offered to take me to the ER, but I told him I didn't want to move. A policeman heard my scream and ran over. Then, the policeman went over to the driver's car, and I could hear the driver trying in vain to blame me for the accident. I called over to the policeman to direct traffic around my bruised body, but he kept gathering information from the driver of the expensive SUV. A kind woman came to my side. She was walking her dog, and she let the dog loose to hold me and tell me that I was going to be all right. I grabbed the dog's leash to make sure he/she didn't get hit by a car. She directed the cars around me. The policeman continued to listen to the driver fruitlessly trying to exonerate himself, even though I was clearly in the right of way.
When the officer finally came over to me, the good samaritan scolded him for not prioritizing directing traffic around me on the road.
Right before the EMTs reached me, the driver leaned over and whispered, "I'm sorry."
On my way to the hospital, an EMT who was out of my view, angrily opined he felt sorry for the driver. He said that bicyclists shouldn't be allowed on the road. This road had a bicycle lane on a long stretch. I was in agony, and I was distressed that an EMT, who was supposed to be taking care of me, would add insult to injury. I asked who he was. No one would tell me. The EMT, who seemed to be in charge, told the other EMT not to say anymore.
I sustained a fractured vertebra. I could no longer do the work at home that needed to be done. I felt a sense of worthlessness and failure more acutely. You see, I am out of work. I have a whole in my resume, because I stayed at home to raise two children, which the work force will not forgive. Not only could I not look for a job due to the injury, but I couldn't save the family money and make myself useful by finishing painting the side of the house that is peeling the most, or mow the lawn with the push mower,...
I had to give up a lot of the things that I enjoy, such as bike riding.
I thought I would never get on the bike again out of fear.
I had nightmares, and I get more frightened than usual when Boston drivers run red lights while I am in the crosswalk, narrowly missing me and other pedestrians, as they are wont to do.
But, today, I am going to pick up my bike at the repair shop, and I am getting back on the saddle.
I started riding my bike again during the lead up to the Iraq War. It was my vigil. I would give as little money as possible to the oil companies who conspired to start these wars in the middle east to steal oil. I was going to ride my bike instead of my car.
I rode hundreds of miles. I put a crate on my bike to do shopping. I rode in all kinds of weather, in rain and as soon as the roads were plowed of snow. I rode to parties in high heels. I lost a lot of weight and got into good shape, and I felt better about myself. I slept well, could eat more without gaining weight, and I enjoyed the ride. I saved a lot of money by not buying gasoline that is tainted with the blood of Iraqi children.
Last week, a friend introduced me to her date as a survivor.
Why, I asked her, am I a survivor. You survived a bike accident with a car.
Yes, I did. I am indeed fortunate.