I wish I could tell you exactly what happened after we started to roll but I don’t remember. It is an evolutionary advantage that our big brains can keep memories that are a bit too traumatic for reminiscing from sticking to our neurons. What I’m told happened is that the bike began picking up speed and Steve, knowing that we were going to fly right to the bottom of the hill if he didn’t act quick, realized it would be better to turn the front wheel so that we rolled over into the grass on the side of the road and not into incoming traffic with a hill’s worth of momentum at our backs.
And that’s what he did. And the bike flipped onto its back, and we flipped onto ours, and I was out the whole time.
The first thing I remember is someone pouring water in my mouth. I remember my wrist and my ankle hurt and I couldn’t stop crying. I remember telling myself to try not to have a panic attack because it would make everything worse. I remember Cody and Steve being so soothing and sweet, asking me questions to keep me talking, rubbing my head, and generally just being about the best people to have with you if you plan on getting into a bike accident.
I don’t want to get into details about getting to the hospital or the hospital or anything like that. Let’s just know that I was and am fine. So is Steve. In fact, Steve knew I was fine when, a couple minutes after I came to, I said, “Please don’t call my parents. They’ll worry.”
At the hospital, the doctor’s first name was Theodoros. “Theodoros” is the same first name that my good friend T.J. has. T.J. is from Greece, and so I immediately started babbling on to the doctor about how he has a house somewhere in Greece but I don’t know where and his email address is the Greek Missile, and how in high school he made me eat octopus once, and so on and so forth. The doctor just smiled and tolerated it, and probably thought the knock to my noggin gave me a talking disorder, but little did he know that’s just me.
He was kind and calming and didn’t charge us a dime. It turns out I had been taken to a state hospital, where emergency room visits are free of charge. I’m glad it is that way in America, too. Oh, wait…
I’m pretty certain that in the course of over six years of treatment for Panic Disorder a doctor told me, “Flipping off a bike in the middle of a Greek Island will knock your progress back a few notches.” Or maybe I read it in a pamphlet. Either way, after doing many things that people with Panic Disorder should not do or do not do - like riding a camel, crossing the Atlantic Ocean by ship, and parasailing under the watchful eye of “Two Stoned Jamaicans, Inc.” – I finally had a reason for all that is irrational inside me to say, “Ah ha!” I finally had an excuse for Panic Disorder to say, “See? When you do things besides sit in your house, bad things happen.” I finally had a concrete experience to make me scared again.
But, here’s the thing – Cody, Steve and I had had a great day. There was nothing ominous about it, nobody had done anything stupid like gotten bombed before hopping on the ATVs, or not worn a helmet. And, in the end, nobody really got hurt. As one wise women once said, in pun form, “Ship Happens.”
And yes, I sat a few out after the accident. I didn’t get off the ship a couple days here and there and opted to lay low for a while and enjoy some room service, but I think that is pretty normal after a scrape like the one we had. People with panic disorder love nothing more than to escape a situation and be alone. But you can’t be alone because that is when you are in the most dangerous of situations, both literally and figuratively. If I had been alone that day on my ATV what would have happened? If I didn’t have my friend and my Fella there what would I have done?
I remember one day in CCD (Catholic Boot Camp you go to on weekends) our teacher asked us to think of our favorite moment, our best memory in our lives so far. We each told ours to the class and then he asked us what all of those treasured experiences had in common. He eventually had to give us the answer – they were all made precious, and in most cases made possible, due to other people. Not one memory was of a time when a person was alone.
I need people. And I bet some people need me. And we aren’t going to find each other if I just stay inside my room.
But you know what people I don’t need? The folks at Pier 1 Travel Agency and Car Rental, P.O.B. 112, Port Mykonos, Greece – T.K. 84600, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone number (22890) 24004, 24111. These jerk bags charged Steve 60 Euros because their bike, which didn’t have enough brake power to survive the hill, got a bit banged up when we flipped off of it and had to go to the hospital. SIXTY EUROS. Feel free to send your regards to them.