Monday, April 14, 2008

Beware, Penguin Crossing!

I’ve had enough of revealing parts of my somewhat chequered past. My retro has been well and truly spected and I have something important to tell you about an event that is yet to happen. No, I am no more insane than usual, and I have not started reading palms or tarot cards – I have trouble seeing the present, let alone the future! However, I can be fairly sure that this will happen one day, I’m just not sure when.

I will be making my way to work, or maybe home from work. My mind will be busy contemplating the usual fundamental questions of life, like why women like cushions so much. I will wait dutifully at the ‘penguin’ crossing – apparently that’s what they call the new low-level ones that are obviously much better for wheelchair users. I might amuse myself while I am waiting by wondering if my regular stooping to press the button at ‘penguin crossings’ will aggravate my lower back problem and eventually put me in a wheelchair.

Then, the sound of bleeping will tell my brain that it’s safe to cross. My brain, which I have been training for years to be wary of such claims, will be lazy and trusting. It may have been reassured by the sound of slowing car engines. I may even have managed a cursory glance at the traffic before stepping out into the road.

Of course, I will not have seen the cyclist, approaching fast towards the crossing. I won’t have heard the quiet fizz of the bike’s tyres against the road. Of course, he, and I’m pretty sure it will be a he, won’t use a bell, even if he has one. People don’t nowadays, and anyway, he won’t have time.

Then, just before our worlds collide, we’ll become conscious of each other. It will be too late to do anything about it. I might start to shout, but no sound will come out. Then, we will briefly become one mass of tangled limbs, steel and rubber. I’m not sure exactly where I’ll take the brunt of the impact, but I’m glad I’ve had all the children I want.

It will take several weeks, possibly months to recover physically. He will be saved from serious damage by his crash helmet and the cushioning effect of my spleen. Once my nerve damage has settled down and scars are healed, I’ll be back to normal, almost. I’ll joke about it with my friends. I might even write about it on my blog.

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