Revenge is a dish best served cold.*
Yeah, right. So last night, coming home from teaching a really good workshop on rhyme, I was walking along the road by Seven Sisters station when a guy came up behind me at speed on his bike and knocked me down. YES. I even have a bruise on the back of my leg where he rammed into me, the arsehole. Riding on the pavement. I was sent flying – I’ve bashed up my left knee for the third time in under a year, and today I ache all over from where I tensed up every muscle in my body to brace for the fall. DAMN it.
I mean really. The poet is not immune to indignities upon his physical being. No. As one has found. In good news though there were several people on hand, including a girl who had seen him coming and jumped aside, otherwise he’d have hit her. I didn’t see him because I was walking away from the bus stop and he rammed into me from behind. Not a reflective yellow cyclist type, who I do also dislike intensely for their prissy, self-important, bell-ringing ways – just one of those guys in Nike jackets or whatever who always ride on the pavement. It took two very kind guys to pull me up, I wasn’t sure I could even stand – one by each arm – but I did, and got home with a slight hobble.
The other good news is that when I put on my tights they had a hole in the heel – I thought, hm, shall I put on a better pair and sew this hole up, or shall I just wear them? Being frugal, you see. Not working. But I thought the hole would last, and it wouldn’t show under my boots, so I didn’t change the tights. Hurrah! Imagine how much MORE pissed off I’d have been if I’d put on a brand-new pair of £6 tights to go out in and then had them raked full of holes by an arsehole on a bike.
I’m not mincing my words because that’s what he IS. He stopped; looked a bit perplexed; mumbled sorry or something while I hurled invective at him; and rode off before I was even upright. I’d be saying bloody Hackney if it hadn’t happened in Haringey. It’s just LIKE Hackney though.
Anyway, to say today has been a slow day would be more than accurate; I find that being pushed to the ground by something at speed is a rather different matter from, say, the episode of the cheap slippy grey plastic pound-shop welcome mat on the pavement outside the bakery door, where one at least fell with only one’s own velocity. Even when I broke my foot running for the 277 all those years ago it was only my own weight.
Almost everyone I know hates cyclists with a passion. There are good reasons for that. Even the ones with fancy clothes and helmets, who ride in the road, run red lights while you’re crossing the street, swear at you while they sail by, histrionically swerving as if you make you personally responsible for their death if they smash into the side of a lorry while they’re looking at you. I used to walk home along the canal, years ago, and they’d come up from behind with their PRING! PRING! PRING! racing past, all LOOK HOW HEALTHY AND SUPERIOR WE ARE, forcing everyone else off the path… I used to jump a mile every time. And you’d be forced up onto the muddy bank orwhatever, and I used to think, it is only a matter of time before I see them knock someone into the canal.
And yet we are all supposed to LOVE them.
Oh and then someone inevitably says, “You know what you need? You should be a BIKE,” as if hoiking a ton of metal up and down three flights of stairs twice a day, and having it in your bedroom doorway the whole time, is really going to improve your life. You’ll have one set of clothes for work, you’ll ge tin, you’ll be all hot and sweaty and need a shower, then if you want to go out after work what do you do? Show up in your torn tights, or try to get away with lycra, nylon and jeggings? Can you imagine. Renée Zellwegger isn’t in it. And THEN you have the ordeal of the stairways. I think there’s a reason the pernicious things appeal to young, testosterone-fuelled blokes, and it’s why they ride them like no one else exists. I bet their girlfriends wash the lycra, too.
Anyway it’s a good thing I didn’t get a good look at that guy’s face, because I really feel like hitting him.
* This is apparently in Edmonton. Why oh why couldn’t it have been in Seven Sisters?