MacArthur coming ashore/Getty
SOMETIMES, ABBA LETS US BOUNCE!
Sometimes, Abba lets us, well, bounce! His protection seems like it might not be protection at all. But it is. He saves us from ourselves, and when we ask, Hey, where were you? He tells us He was there, and Oh child, it was going to be so much worse if I didn’t intervene.
“YOU intervened? Where??”
Case in point:
How do you hit something as big as a canal?
Have any of you wondered, as you watch the news, how someone could drive their car or simply fall into the canals around town? What dummies, you hear yourself saying. It’s a canal. A great big canal. How could you NOT see it and then, well, fly into it?
Look, I’m not proud of it, but I did neither of those things-falling or driving.
I, instead, rode my bike into the canal.
Careening headfirst. then Intentionally trying to rotate my rocket so I would land on my back, dispersing the impact like I did jumping into the pool to make the simulated tsunami wave when I was a kid and my bones were not explosively brittle like they are, well, now.
Like that image in the movie ET where the kid is riding his bike with the alien in the basket in front, back lit by the full moon—striking. Only I did a semi rotation, like docking with Sky Lab on its fiery reentry (look it up), about a 160 degree turn—landing in the water and at first, thinking I was going to be okay—landing in the water, even though it was shallow—real shallow. I had on my plastic helmet. What could go wrong?
I didn’t see the broken bricks under the brown water.
Why bricks? why not an old mattress or even a dead body. Both would have been better. I knew I was in trouble when my eyes opened underwater, brown water, with stuff floating in it that I’ve only ever seen in a petri dish. My left shoulder, the same one I broke playing golf two or three or however many years ago, was the victim of this event too. The grinding noise was a give-a-way it might be, well, bent.
I’m a firm believer most humans would have died trying to survive what I survived. Others would have whined about getting out or drowning or ‘what the heck is in this water?’ I stood up, assessed the situation, and quickly figured out a plan. A MacGyver Plan.
It was not a good plan.
But it was a plan.
First, I needed to get my phone. It had been submerged with me, but somehow, Bruce Hornsby was still playing in at least one of the ear buds. The other bud was tied into the bike. Nothing on me was dry so I stuck it back in one of the pockets and then worked on saving the bike—with the one good arm and the grinding noisy other arm. Propping it up on the side of the canal, as far as I could push it. It was here I saw pink unicorns and dancing elves-pain is funny.
Not a great plan
Then, it was my turn. Unluckily, the water was shallow, hence the brick. On the other hand, if it was full, it would be moving faster and take me with it. I can swim, and swim well, so I figured I could have hooked a ladder if I needed to, but all I had to do was stand up. So, that was good.
However, days later, thinking this through, another foot or two probably would have saved the impact and I would be fine, wet and probably without a phone, but fine. Hmm.
Looking around for something to get me out, and having tried climbing the bank of slick concrete, and hearing the internal screams of my body and the shoulder which I was sure was like someone dropping a plate of China and it shattering, I gave up on the climb and looked across the canal. A ladder. Placed there just for people like me.
Just like MacArthur
I forged the canal, crossing from one side to the other like MacArthur coming ashore in the Philippines, ascending the ladder carved into the side of the sloped concrete wall. Once I reached the top, I was greeted by the homeless camp occupants- “Did you fall in?”
I walked down the canal, over the bridge and back up the other side to my semi-rescued bike. Sitting down above it, hooking it with my foot and pulling it up and to safety. A man on his bike stopped, told me his falling-in-the-canal-story. It was like a club meeting of the inept. I listened politely since he wasn’t leaving. Finally, he asked if he could help and I gave him the honor of standing my bike up for me.
We fist bumped and he rode off in one direction, while I headed the opposite way, to home—on my bike, first taking my left glove, which I thought would be good to take off and use it as a ‘clean’ hand placement when I sat down to get my bike, not wanting to get dirt on it (I see now all the circuit breakers in my brain were not completely re-set) and placing the glove on my handlebar to ‘dry’ as I rode home.
I lost it somewhere on the ride. One of the homeless guys now is dancing like Michael Jackson with my one glove.
Venture to say I made it, got to the hospital, got examined, and was told I broke something. Then, the best part, I was told it would heal on its own and to go home and rest—oh, ‘take this sling, but don’t use it because we don’t want your arm to freeze up.’ It’s
been sitting on the kitchen counter ever since.
Pay the lady
‘Go, and sin no more. Oh, pay the lady on the way out.’
So, I am twelve days post flight, I think. Time is just a number on a wall. I think this morning is my twelve wake since I invented a new Olympic summer sport ‘Bike Flying.’ How far can one ride a bike—in the air—for distance? It can be part of the track and field events, on a run right next to the long jump pit.
Now, I would watch that. THE THRILL OF VICTORY-THE AGONY OF DEFEAT!!
GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD
God is good. The bounce, well, it could have been so much worse!
Enjoy your ride!