Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scraped Elbows and Bruised Ego: Minor Motorcycle Mishap Makes Me Mortified

 Ok, ok.  Maybe “mortified” is a bit too strong a word.  “Embarrassed” would be more accurate, but I needed the “M” for alliteration. So what in the world happened?  Well, it’s like this.

I had to hit the ground running this morning because I had forgotten to set my alarm.  I woke up fifteen minutes before Rachel was supposed to be at school.  Thankfully, she was alert enough that she shifted easily into high gear with me and we made record time getting ready for school.  She was still going to be a bit late, but this is Indonesia, and everything runs on rubber time here.  It was entirely possible that no one would notice.

I locked up the house and drove my motorbike, Harley Junior, outside the gate.  (I introduced Harley Junior in an earlier post called “Harley Junior and I Find a Way of Escape”.) Rachel locked the gate and hopped on the back. I knew almost immediately that something was wrong.  The back tire bumped along the road.  It was going flat.  I hoped that it would hold out long enough to get Rachel to school. No such luck.  Halfway down the street it was obvious I had to stop.
I asked a friend who lived a couple doors down from where we stopped if I could borrow her motorbike to take Rachel to school. She agreed. After I got Rachel safely to school, I gratefully returned the borrowed bike. Then I had to look for a pres ban dalam, a place that fixes flat tires.  There was one near my house, so I began to push Harley Junior in that direction. That direction, wouldn’t you know it, was uphill all the way. I left the engine run so it could help power the bike up the incline. For the sake of control, I sat on the seat, but keping my feet on the ground so I could spare some wear and tear on the flat tire, I walked Harley up the biggest incline.
It was then that I made my big mistake. I got off the bike and started pushing with the engine still running.  Now, I have done this many times before in the past 14 years since I bought Harley Junior.  Right hand gives just a little gas while at the same time operating the hand brake so the bike doesn’t leap forward.
Unfortunately, since I had hand surgery nearly three months ago, and my fingers aren’t extending quite as well as they used to, they didn’t quite do the job they used to on the hand brake.  I accelerated a bit too quickly. Without the brake counteracting it, Harley leaped forward suddenly, escaped my grip, and fell over about 6 feet up the road.
I am not sure if Harley pushed me down or pulled me over as he made his escape, but I found myself lying on the side of the road. After taking a quick inventory of body parts and concluding that nothing was injured … except my dignity and a couple bumps and scrapes on my elbows, I took my helmet off and set it on the ground beside me. The helmet promptly rolled into the ditch on the side of the road. Thankfully, the ditch had a mere 2 inches of water in it, so nothing but the visor got wet and dirty.  I fished the helmet out of the ditch.
By this time, four or five Indonesian men who had been passing by on their own bikes had stopped to help me out. One set Harley Junior upright again.  A couple others helped me stand up. Others stood around watching the proceedings.
One old guy in particular had seen the whole thing. He took great delight in telling the tale to everyone else, chuckling about the spectacle I made. I’m glad I could provide some entertainment. The local bule (foreigner), has to be good for something, I guess.
Well, I continued to push Harley Junior up the hill, this time without the engine running, and got to the nearest pres ban dalam only to find that it wouldn’t open until about 10:00, if at all. I needed to pick Rachel up at 10, so I had to get the tire fixed before then.
Leaving Harley at that pres ban dalam, I walked up the hill in search of another one.  Along the way, I saw neighbors chatting with each other, nodding toward me and laughing. My elderly tale-bearing friend had obviously passed that way ahead of me. It was apparent that news of my wipe-out had spread quickly up and down my street. As I said, I’m glad I could provide some entertainment.
I am thankful that I got off as easy as I did. When I fell, I landed on my left side, and not on the hand that had surgery done on it. Nothing was broken. The bruises on my elbows and upper arms, as well as the ones on my knees that I am just beginning to feel, will heal in a few days.
Even Harley escaped with only a bent foot peg that was easily straightened. He could have landed in the ditch, and my last remaining form of transportation might have been out of commission for a while for repairs.
The biggest damage was done to my ego. Maybe that is not such a bad thing. I really do have to get rid of this “I am woman. Hear me roar” attitude that I sometimes have … um ... correction … often have. It might seem as if I simply don’t want to bother anyone, but when you get right down to it, this attitude stems from nothing but pride.
Briefly, I had considered calling someone to ask for help pushing Harley up the hill. I thought about the effect that kind of exertion could have on a post-surgical hand. Dismissing that concern, I thought I could still take care of Harley myself without asking for help. I reasoned that by letting the engine do most of the pushing, my hand would be spared unnecessary stress, and I could handle the situation without help, thank you very much.
Well, I did eventually find another pres ban dalam, and this time I did ask for help pushing Harley the rest of the way. I may have been proud, but I’m not that slow a learner. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice … at least not in the same day.
So what is the lesson I learned from this event?

Pride goeth before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

In this case … literally.

Note: All photos are re-enactments for the sake of this post, and were not taken by an insensitive bystander during the actual event.

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