An Embarrassing Incident

I’m going to take a break from the nerdiness for a bit, if only to descend into the realm of sheer stupidity.

A couple weeks ago, I was riding my bike to work. Charlie had kept Jess and me up from about 5 a.m to 6 a.m., so I was a little groggy, and traffic was especially heavy that morning. There had been construction on my route throughout most of the autumn, so I’d been contending with things like cones, construction workers, and backhoes every day. Well that particular morning, traffic had forced me to ride on the sidewalk on the left side of the street rather than on the road. When the traffic finally cleared enough for me to cross the street, I was on top of a little embankment, which I rode down into the street in order to cross to the regular side. There was not a car in sight. There was a line of cones in the middle of the street blocking off one of the lanes, but no matter, there had been cones there for months. Well, as soon as I rode down the embankment and onto the pavement, I heard a construction worker yell and whistle at me. I was picking up speed pretty quickly and had no time to even acknowledge the worker’s gesticulations before I rode straight into wet cement.

Now understand that this has all taken place in the matter of a few seconds, but the flash of a thought that crossed my mind was that I was going too fast to stop, so I hoped I might kind of skim over it. As this idea was still even in the first brief moment of formulating itself, I was sailing over my handlebars, as the cement I had ridden into was about 2.5 feet deep, and my front tire had instantly sunk into it, the momentum carrying the back end of my bike up and propelling my body forward into the air.

I landed with my feet and legs in the cement and my upper body on the pavement. I realized that I was not injured and then realized that I had probably incurred a large fine for breaking some kind of law and costing the construction company loads of money. Then I looked behind me and saw the handlebars of my otherwise submerged bike. Then I saw three or four Hispanic construction workers running towards me and all yelling in Spanish. I got up and said, “I am so sorry!” One of them asked me if I was all right and told me to get out of the street (I guess some cars wanted to use it). Once he was assured I was not injured, he pulled my bike out of the cement swamp and posed for his fellow construction workers, who were taking pictures of him and the (now cement-gray) bike with their cell phones. I fretted over my impending financial doom and mourned the loss of my ruined bike, much, though shortly, loved. And I was very embarrassed.

Three construction workers then raked the cement smooth and all the damage I had done was instantly undone. The worker with my bike told me to follow him and walked it down the block to the cement truck. I was in a stupor, the kind you always feel after a wreck. As he walked my bike down the middle lane where construction was going on, he turned around and told me to get out of the road. I looked behind me to see a long line of cars in the single lane (due to the construction) waiting for me to get out of their way. I walked up onto the sidewalk and about twenty paces later realized I had wandered back into the gutter and was stalling traffic again, cars slowly but cautiously easing their way around me.

When we got to the cement truck, another worker asked, “did somebody fall in?” I realized then that I was not the first person to make this mistake. The worker hosed down my bike, which then looked good as new. I also asked him to hose me down. He was hesitant, because it was cold, but I insisted. I rode the rest of the way to work, recovering and now aware of my stupor and riding extra carefully, and changed into my work clothes. I had a few scrapes on my hands and a slightly painful bruise on my elbow. I told everyone I saw, because it is a good, funny story, and I love telling good, funny stories.

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7 comments so far

  1. Josh on

    Classic! If the women I love weren’t sleeping right now, I’d be rolling on the floor. Too good.

  2. Katie on

    I figured I would read this post because I actually could understand the title this time. And oh, am I ever glad that I did!

  3. derekryanbrown on

    I had told myself that I would abstain from commenting on your blog for some time so as to avoid the (unwarranted) berating that I was on the receiving end of last time, but I must acknowledge the quality of this post. Well done my friend.

    Out of sure curiosity, were you by chance listening to your ipod at the time of the spill?

  4. jeffreimer on

    No iPod. I forgot to mention that I was getting sick as well, so I was extra foggy upstairs.

    And as for the berating, if it comes down to joining with you or the Philistines berating you, I throw in my lot with you, Derek.

  5. Ryan on

    I was fortunate enough to get a good laugh out of this story a couple weeks ago when I heard it from my wife through yours. Glad you had the courage to share it yourself!

  6. Shannon on

    I can’t believe that actually happened…that’s hilarious! And what great guys to help you up and clean you and your bike off. :)

  7. Ryan C. on

    What a great story. Please tell me you got the workers to email you the photos they took.


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