I was walking along Euclid Ave. yesterday morning, on the way to a
mini-seminar that was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Euclid is the
main strip running east from campus; traffic was light: a few students going to
the second day of their Maymester classes, City of Syracuse workers gathering up
end-of-lease heaps of curbside refuse. It was 9:37 a.m. I was ten minutes
from campus, well into the 1.6 mile, thirty-minute walk.
A bicyclist peddled into the vague periphera at my right. Nothing
unusual about the speed or course, until, that is, the front wheel of the bike
scribbled a quick figure eight and the young woman riding along uneventfully
just moments earlier tumbled headlong onto the street, the bike awkwardly
folding away beneath her. In other words, she fell off the bike in the
middle of the street, as if, almost, the bike just broke.
I pulled my earphones–Track 6, "All Tomorrow’s Parties"–and hurried to
where she fell. She was dazed, looking over her left arm for evidence of
the pain she no doubt felt. Another walker on the other side of the street
came to her aid, as well. While I called 911, heeded her request to go get
one of her roommates from their house, which was less than a block away.
I don’t think she was hurt badly. Might’ve had a broken hand/wrist/arm.
And blue jeans did a very nice job, I’m sure, of abating what could have been
nasty scraps with any other sort of legwear. Within fifteen minutes, the
ambulance arrived; they whisked her away on a backboard, braced for the
possibility of neck trauma. She wasn’t wearing a helmet, and by some small
miracle, her arm took the brunt of the fall. For all I know, that is.
I continued to campus and would be fifteen minutes late for the mini-seminar.
Not rattled, exactly, but stung by a moment of crisis, affected somehow, as much
by the oddity of seeing someone spill, unassisted, from a bicycle (@15mph), as
by my quiet wish that everything would be just fine.