I almost died on Sunday evening. I was bicycling along the Nogawa River near my home, returning from a pleasant glide downhill beside the chest-high grass-overgrown banks, when I entered an unlit stretch under the darkness of an arbor of cherry trees. Suddenly, before I realized what was happening, my bicycle jerked up from under me, the tree canopy and bicycle path whirled up and around, and the next thing I knew the asphalt hit my outstretched hands and shoulder. It was as if an invisible person had just thrown me over their shoulder. The impact badly gouged my palms, right elbow, right knee and shin. My (stupidly unworn) bicycling gloves, bandana, and bicycle mirror flew across the pavement. Stupidly I gazed back from whence I had flown and recognized the shadow of tree root heaving up the asphalt and forming a perfect launch thank-you-m’am. Naturally my first oh-so-dignified reaction (I am not neko-gata, cat profile) was to jump and and stamp about swearing at the sky. And then kicking the bump. And then swearing at Chofu city authorities. And then picking up my poor bicycle to check if she was okay. (All right outside the open window of a family’s house, wherein the occupants were sittiing down to dinner while watching tv) And only then, after wasting about 5 minutes in impotent fooldoggery, feeling the pain and staring at the lacerated skin and blood all over. After picking up my things, I gingerly got back on my bicycle and creaked home, while pipistrelle bats twittered and looped above the river.
My skull continued to swivel on my vertebrate. The eggshell had not been cracked and no soup had been spilled. And all while not wearing a helmet. I never do learn. Except that the spark that I carry sure seemed precious when the fingerhold snapped away for a moment.