My wheel fell off! You’re probably all thinking that in this new covid realm, yours did metaphorically a while ago! Mine certainly had, but this was literally the front wheel of my frame. That feeling of being out of control was suddenly both real and obvious! Well – obvious to those commuters that did stop to see if I was ok.
An early Sunday walk with my mum to grab a coffee left a bitter taste in my mouth. It wasn’t the beverage though (I never made it to the café!). The nasty taste was solely a result of the disregard I seemed to get from many onlookers. I was half way to the café when it happened. I dragged and restled the broken aid and tipped it on its side, in a resuscitation-like position. I squatted next to it holding the useless wheel. After ensuring I was ok, Mum left me with the 3 dogs to get Dad. I just waited in the ditch.
A black car sped up & passed. The, a white station wagon shortly after followed suit. Maybe they didn’t see me, I thought trying to justify their actions. But when the third car drove by, I struggled to remain convinced. The fact that I was wearing a red jacket and was squatting solo beside my overturned frame, only reinforced my view that they’d seen me. They had chosen to keep going. Not only was I feeling coffee deprived, but also incredibly invisible, stranded and alone. Thankfully a cyclist stopped and asked if I was ok. But after three people had passed, I confessed to wondering if he just stopped to catch his breath. Negative thinking but the blatant truth! Upon learning that he couldn’t help, his Lycra body resumed his hill-climb.
Choosing not to stay in the gutter, I picked myself up. My dad collected my broken frame and damaged ego from the side of the road.
Living in a covid bubble doesn’t give us an excuse not to respect human dignity. Your wheel may have fallen off yonks ago. Unfortunately, right now it’d be strange if you felt in control. However, it’s those acts of human kindness that help. A distant “Are you ok?”is often enough.
Are you ok? – Three powerful words to replace Stranded. Invisible. Alone.