Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer In the City

I began the week shaken, having fallen off of my bicycle on 13th Street and University Place bright and early Monday morning. I was on my way to work and my bike took off ahead of me, the tires skidding on a wet surface I didn't see. I rose up from the ground with unsteady legs, my right side bloody and skinned and swelling.

As soon as I realized I was in the middle of the street, I was sent into a panic. Instead of lifting my bike and dusting myself off, I took off running to the sidewalk, dragging my bicycle behind me like it was a tantruming child, by the handlebars, with the pedals and spokes scraping across the grey concrete.

I knew that the city would not stop for me, even if strangers were on hand to see if I was okay, my only response to nod incoherently while my heart pounded inside my chest-- because the streets are relentless that way. Nothing stops moving. Cars and food carts and delivery trucks barrelled behind me and they did not stop. And I still had to get to work. Later still, I would have to get all the way back home.

I found myself in all kinds of minor predicaments throughout the week. Trying to place my bandaged arm and my black and blue thigh in just the right position while I slept, sitting in an air conditionless room in the 90 degree heat attempting to write something that made any kind of sense, even carrying an 8 foot wooden beam through crowded streets that did not want to make room for me.

I love this city. I really do. I see it as a my playground. My home. But sometimes I forget that it is bigger than me.


  1. oh my gosh, Melissa. I am sending you love and healing thoughts.

  2. Melissa! Oh..oh, please take care of yourself. As a mother of a bicyclist who lives in Jersey City, my heart beat fast as I read your recounting of the event. Nothing like something like that to remind us that we are truly mortal. Scary blog.

  3. Sounds like a heck of a day - here's hoping the injuries fade fast!

  4. OMGoodness, Melissa! I'm glad you love living there, regardless of the traffic. :) Be safe on your way to work tomorrow.

  5. oh OUCH. glad you're ok.

    my friend fell on the ice this past winter- in nyc getting out of a cab- broke her leg and had to get surgery- total nightmare. nope, a big city doesn't really stop for you. but it loves you...

  6. Beautifully written - even though the experience was quite the opposite. I felt for you and pictured this small person in this 'oh so enormous city'.

    I hope that you are healing well.