May 25, 2008


There is a gigantic hole at the end of my street and like starlings around a bacon rind we flock to view it. Its proportions are truly enormous and as we gawk admiringly, I detect communal pride and street solidarity in the contemplation of ‘our hole’. No one knows why it is there. Road works are a permanent fixture in our city. One day an intact road - next day a hole. No big deal.
Even so, this particular hole is truly magnificent (!) and we venture closer. Excited kids toss stones and we watch them bounce off the sides and plummet downwards. Shivering, I reflect that this must have been how the whole planet once was: A pitted globe of dank treacherous holes, in a ground torn apart by primeval earthquakes. A time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, perhaps on this very spot!
As I gaze with fascination into the newly dug aperture, I wonder what it is about holes that exert such magnetism on the human psyche? Take a hole in a garment for example. Goaded on by an almost instinctive, primeval urge, we are doomed to stick a finger in it! But what is a hole really? Nothing. It is simply not there - and yet it is - defined by its edges. It is a maddening concept.
Shrugging off my musings I hop back onto my bike and continue on round the corner to the shops – and stop dead! The whole main street is dug up, with a huge trench excavated along its entire length. The sand and soil from the trench is piled up high along its outer edge like a…dinosaur’s vertebrae (!) and the strip of road left over, is made even narrower by a row of parked cars along the pavement curb.
With a line of honking cars now piling up behind me, I peddle frantically. Well it isn’t my fault that there is no room for a car and a bicycle side by side…
Then suddenly and horribly – BAM! The door of a parked car swings open and I smash full tilt into it and fall to the ground. The car behind me screeches to a stop and I am vaguely aware of the driver extricating me from my damaged bike and yelling at the perpetrator.
'What the 'blazes' do you think you are doing?!'
A crowd is gathering, asking me if I am all right. I don’t know. My left hand is grazed and embedded with grit from the road and there is a large lump on the front of my right shin and something decidedly odd about my right hand. I hold it up and the ring finger swings drunkenly across the front of the little finger. It is obviously broken. The crowd sighs.
‘Insurance,’ I mumble and the perpetrator looks alarmed but under the baleful glare of the crowd, he writes his name, phone and car registration number on a piece of paper and gives it to me.
Then he tries to sneak off.
‘Hospital!’ I mutter, staring angrily at him.
The crowd hisses.
Chastened, he agrees and his female companion helps me into their car, while a helpful shopkeeper locks my damaged bike, props it up on a lamppost and drops the key into my coat pocket. I thank him through trembling lips.
What happens at the hospital is a bit of a blur. The perpetrator drops me at the entrance and screeches away without a word, which just stiffens my resolve to ‘get him’ later...grr..(insurance!).
They plaster the whole of my broken right hand and the left hand too is cleaned, ointmented and mummified in bandage. The lump on my shin is left to heal itself. Then an obliging nurse wraps my coat around me and sends me on my way with a medical report and instructions to report the incident to the police. Apparently knocking people off bikes with car doors is a crime! Ha!
Exhausted now, I take the tram home and don’t punch my card. How can I with two mummified hands? How will I manage when I get home - I am bursting for the loo!
Finally at my front door, I open my bag with my teeth and am staring helplessly down at the door key, when suddenly, like a guardian angel, my good neighbour Mrs. V., is swooping down upon me!
‘Potverdorie’! She clucks. Which I think is Dutch for 'damn the pots' but might mean 'good grief'!
‘Saw you from the window. Whatever’s happened? Here, let me help you off with your coat. Tut-tut!’
Surrendering to her kind ministrations, I am soon standing in my hallway being told by Mrs. V. that I am to come over directly and have a nice cup of tea and that she’ll leave her front door open a crack, so that I don’t have to ring the bell with my nose…. Dear Mrs. V..
Wearily I lean back against the wall of the hallway. My swaddled hands are throbbing badly and alone at last I fight down tears of self-pity. Then suddenly my eyes fly open! Mesmerized I stare ahead, as somewhere deep within my brain stem, echoes of a primeval Jurassic past are stirring. Earthquakes, chasms and HOLES… I must be feverish. Then unbidden and instinctively, I sense her! My ‘Terrible Lizard’ is waking and as her massive mouth roars out her mighty pain and frustration, I can hold back the tears no longer...(!)
There's a h-hole in my coat and I don't have a f-finger to poke it with...waahh!


Anonymous said...

I broke my right (major) arm but thankfully I managed with the left one for the duration.

Geri Atric said...

Hi grannymar,

Welcome to my little blog! Yes it's amazing what you can do one handed when you have to.
Glad to hear that you managed. Opening tins was the worst for me -till I learned to jam them in a drawer..!
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Did you get the guy back in the end? No seroiusly, I don't think people should think they can get away with it just because it's a 'geri' who probably doesn't know the system.
Once again, loved your humouristic outlook.

Blue footed booby

Geri Atric said...

Hi BFB - Yes I did get justice - finally! Although you're right, I didn't quite know what to do (was still shaken up) but my eldest daughter came round in the evening and helped me down to the police station to file a report. Turned out the guy had given incomplete info' about himself but the police tracked him down (!) and although it took a while, I did get fully compensated!

Anonymous said...

Good on you!