The weekend was golden, skies smiled blue. This was a while ago now, times have been busy. We were walking into town.
Coming towards us ever so slowly and creakily down the middle of the road, a woman rode her bicycle. Her left hand rested on a handle bar, her right hand pressed her phone into her ear.
As we watched, she slowed even more. Then slowly, so slowly, she toppled over to one side.
Without a move to save herself or break her fall.
The strangest slow motion accident I have ever seen.
She wasn’t so old, but not so young either. She lay there on her right side, unconcerned and still straddling the bike, its wheels slowly spinning. Her right arm bent beneath her still held her phone to her ear, and she continued talking as though nothing at all had happened.
We hurried to her side, asking if she was alright. As we stood there, she looked up at us, told the person on the phone she needed to go, but she’d call back. She hung up. Seemed to notice she was lying on the ground.
We helped her sit up. She insisted she was ok and didn’t need any help. We weren’t all that sure.
A white, middle-aged and highly-lycraed man pulled up on his own bike. We thought he was there to help. His beard made him look like more of an adult than us. He stood there straddling his bike in manly stance, looking down at her.
‘You see this?’ he asked her, tapping his helmet. ‘Never leave home without it. It’s dangerous out there. Your head can crack like an egg. You should never cycle without a helmet.’
You see this?’ he asked, tapping his leg. ‘A pocket for my phone. That phone never leaves my pocket while I’m cycling, never. It stays in there at all times. You need to keep your phone in your pocket. Someone calls me? I pull to the side of the road to answer.’
‘It’s all about road safety’. He said, smiling, his teeth white.
She smiled back, nodding. We all nodded.
He rode away. We stared after him.
We helped her stand up, walked her bike over to the little grassy bank for her. She sat down, refused any further help. Said she’d be ok and asked us not to call anyone. She repeated this several times, and told us she just needed to sit for a bit. So right or wrong, we didn’t. We continued our walk, though with some misgivings. She sat on the bank a while, talking on her phone again. In our last view of her, she had restarted her wobbly ride, on a sidewalk this time.