Public Humiliation and Other Fun Tales: An Autobiography

Around a week ago I almost died. Now, you may think I’m exaggerating. I resent that. I’m not, and I have eyewitnesses to prove it. 

It was a beautiful day in the lovely city of Barcelona and we’d decided to get a taste of the city by biking. I will be the first (in a long line of people) to tell you that I am not the most athletic being on the planet. I’m probably not even the 50 thousandth most athletic being on the planet. And when it comes to biking I probably fall somewhere in the lower 10%. “As easy as riding a bike”? Rocket science is as easy as riding a bike to me because that shiz is hard. I’ve had more close encounters with death while on two wheels than when on any other mode of transportation including, but not limited to, bus, car, plane, boat, and rickshaw. 

Look at this bull. No wonder I was confused. | Flickr

Back to the tale. Despite the sunny day, my mood was a bit gloomy as Food and I had just received the news that an apartment we desperately wanted and had reserved was now, suddenly, unavailable for rent to two people. I was bummed, Food was flustered, and we were biking. First we got lost on the way to the bike rental place, then we decided to just take off on this random tour to nowhere in particular and started off down Avenida Diagonal, which is only slightly more crowded and much less magical than Diagon Alley. 

Not even five minutes from the bike rental we hit what felt like the 60th red light at a crosswalk in a row, and, seeing no cars coming, our aunt (that was with us in Barcelona for 5 days) decided to take off. I checked for cars, then went, however, in the process my bloody flipflop got stuck, leading to a very clumsy, and slow, pedaling. I turn my head to the left and while there wasn’t a car there 10 seconds before, one is now barreling down the road towards me. I tried to pedal, but given my stuck shoe and my now overwhelming fear, failed miserably. In my haste to get out of the way of the car (and in my idiocy), I literally jumped off the bike. Or tried to…

Actual footage of me in action.

My legs, which now were failing to work, became trapped under the awful metal contraption that is my bike and I literally fall to the concrete in the middle of the busiest street in all of Barcelona. I look up to see that the traffic has seen my distress and has slowed down to a full stop a foot from where I have ended up on the ground. I hurriedly grab my bike and drag it by its handlebars out of the road to let the cars go by, and, after reaching the other side, manage to trip on the bike AGAIN and fall to the ground. Yet again. 

Now, by this point, the humiliation was overwhelming. I’ve been in my new city for like… four days and now all of them know that I have the biking skills of a three year old that has literally never seen a bike before. I nearly started crying, and probably would have if I hadn’t looked around and seen approximately thirty people staring at me, waiting for the aftermath of what was the biking equivalent of sitting at the wrong lunch table on the first day of high school (which I have also done, but that’s another story). 

Our aunt, being the blunt but well-meaning individual she is, only had the comment of “Nice.” Food and our beloved Mother, who had stayed behind and, wisely, not driven into the road during a red, crossed to the other side safely and we resumed our nearly four hour long bike tour with tears burning behind my eyelids and my skin literally burning with both embarrassment and because it was hotter than hell and the sun was brilliantly shining on my very pale skin. 

Oh, and we only went on green from then on. 

Port Vell and the Port de Barcelona Old Customs Building
Port Vell and the Port de Barcelona Old Customs Building, taken on the non-miserable part of the bike trip.

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