Yesterday I fell off my bicycle. True as bob. At the cost of a scraped shoulder, irritated hip, stiff neck and a headache courtesy of the handlebar that whacked my temple,  I learned a couple of lessons. Why I needed to learn them I don't even WANT to know. 

The egg on my head and the missed yoga class are apparently the price to pay to know that:

a) I am not a good enough cyclist to fiddle in my handbag while cycling.                                                                                          This is a lesson I might have learnt anytime in the 47 years I have been living and cycling in Holland. Some lessons apparently have to be learned the hard way. At some stage. I don't see why this is necessary. Just because I was not born while my mother was cycling along a dike wearing wooden shoes and a lace cap doesn't mean I didn't deserve to be just as good a cyclist as all those Dutch women swanning around on two wheels with 3 kids on the handlebars, a shopping basket on the luggage carrier and a bag of tulip bulbs on their head. All this while stopping up the holes in the dike with a finger. All I can do on a bicycle is aim the handlebars in the direction I want to go and peddle. Braking works. Often...

 

 


b) My husband reacts badly when I give him a fright. It only took me 46 years of marriage to learn that the louder he swears the bigger the fright. As I lay in the middle of the road (hoping no one saw it happen!) he went ballistic on me.      And for the first time ever I didn't get angry because he was angry but saw his fear for me...despite my pain and embarrassment, our love for each other overwhelmed me. So I gave him an even bigger fright by making a joke and smiling so groggily he thought I had brain damage...


  c) Of course someone saw me: 'Scary Man' saw me. This guy has lived in this village for many more years than I have. He has always been surrounded by gossip and rumours. And we don't gossip or rumour, do we? But..you never know. He is a weed of a man who HUNTS: EEEW!  He is scary and scarry and has thinning long hair. They say.. in short, we call him Scary Man.

 
So of course who abandons his car in the middle of the road to help me? He makes a sweet little joke and helps me and strokes my arm in comfort and generally shows he sees me as a stop-worthy human being. As Jan said: not so scary after all.

                                                                                                                                                 

Does all this mean that Scary Man and I have become bosom friends? Will I always remember that my husband's yelling is loving? Will I stop rummaging in my bag on my bike?  Not likely! But I do remember now that we are all human beings with our good and bad moments.  He  can see a middle-aged middle-class whatever as someone who needs a hand despite years of being ignored. And he can extend that hand. In future I will see him as the human being he is and not the embodiment of other people's nightmares. I will say hello and how are you and nice weather  (or not, usually not).
My husband will annoy me with his yelling regularly but I will try to remember the love and care behind the sturm und drang.
And I hope next time I fall off my blooming bike I am just as lucky as I was yesterday: some scrapes, bruises, a buckled mudguard and a meeting with myself, my husband and a Scary Man: not bad for a Grumpy Guru. Who'd a thunk it: Karma on a bicycle...