Well. It happened. I called both my parents and told them before they read it online. My friends can’t believe it’s actually true. And we weren’t even drunk.
As per a new tradition, Sarge and I met for coffee after work on Tuesday. We were on our way to dinner when the world went from just under the speed limit to slow motion. I came off a curb-cut/ramp, and the front wheel caught in a rut or on a piece of gravel or something. The chair stopped. I didn’t.
I stuck my arms out and more than mumbled ‘Whoa!’ as the pavement got closer to my head, which I turned to save my nose and my teeth. This is where being taught how to fall at the age of five came in handy. One of the lenses from my glasses was on the ground. The other was in my eyebrow.
Did I mention I was in the street? And Sarge was more concerned than I was? And a car stopped and two strangers got out? And one of them, shall we say, forcibly suggested her friend call an ambulance? I checked my teeth and my nose, and said I was fine. Turned around and got in the chair, realising I was bleeding all over my butterfly bag. In the two minutes all of this took, we were surrounded by mall-cops, who again suggested an ambulance. One of the women gave the bits of my glasses back to Sarge saying, ‘They’re broken.’ At this point I knew there was nothing seriously wrong with me, because I thought, well, gee. Ya think?
It took five people to wrap my head so the gauze would stay in place. One guy thought I’d need butterfly stitches. How appropriate!
When I soaked through the fourth pad of gauze, I agreed to go to the hospital, and I let the mall-cops tick a box and call an ambulance for me. Sarge looked paler than I did.
Someone asked how old I was. ‘Twent…thirty,’ I said. Everyone looked at me. ‘It’s not the knock, it’s just the first time I’ve said it out loud.’ People accepted this and soon an EMT was asking me the same question.
I was lifted into the ambulance on something that reminded me of an in-flight chair. ‘What time’s the plane, boys?’ I asked.
Sarge lifted my chair in and there was no place to put it but on a stretcher. It was buckled while Bill the EMT took my BP and pulse.
‘Will you take his, please?’ I asked as Sarge sat down next to me.
I was asked a bunch of questions and made some jokes and I saw that Bill tapped ‘Uneventful journey’ into his computer.
‘Does that mean I’m boring, Bill?’
I’ve never been so happy to be dull.
‘How are you?’
‘OK, except I have to pee.’
And so we checked in via the toilet. We got up to the desk. There was an American woman there before me. She thought she’d taken too many travel-sickness tablets.
We waited. And waited. And waited. I didn’t feel like reading, and I didn’t have my glasses, so I tried to sleep on Sarge’s shoulder. I kept saying ‘I must be next,’ and then switched to ‘can we just go home?’ The gauze kept slipping, and by the time my name was called four hours later, it had popped off altogether.
My nurse’s name was Karen. This made me feel better. Then Karen said, ‘I can see the end of the cuts, we can glue them.’ No stitches? She went away again.
‘I waited four hours for glue? I almost want stitches,’ I said to Sarge.
Karen cleaned me up and glued my head shut, and I thought again how lucky it was that I only broke my glasses, and the cuts didn’t inch further into my eye. Thank you, Karen.
We got home at midnight, with tape strips and fish and chips.
I went to work the next day with the beginnings of a black eye and my old glasses.