Terrifying Motorcycle Accident- That Time We Flew Through The Air
Oh God. Today, I was all easy, breezy. Having a great time. Thinking how lucky and blessed we are, as I ride my bike to the market with my precious baby, Solai, on the back of my bike. I’m thinking about how I’d love to record my Pollyanna thoughts here, in the middle of fuckin Ecuador (I keep this in so you’ll see… I meant Cambodia) , and I’m so into that loving, fairy dust, magical frequency that I enter a very, very intersection without stopping. (And I’ve never done that before in my life! – not on foot, on in car, and surely, not on a bike, with my daughter who depends on my judgement to keep her safe, on my back.)
I gave the busy street where the Pub Street meets three others streets with constant traffic here in Siem Reap, Cambodia a quick left, right glance and breezed into the intersection. I remember thinking three thoughts: how fun it is to have a bike for transportation in the middle of Cambodia, how I wish Solai wouldn’t swing her head so fast from side to side cuz it takes me off balance, and how strangely easy it was to cross this really busy intersection with buses, scooters, motorcycles, bikes, and people whizzing past it. “Lookie, how cool, ” I thought, “I just breezed through it like that!”
And then boom. Kobi, Dahnya, and Orazi later said they had heard this huge whack and swung around to see Solai and I splattered on the street. Military man came out of nowhere (I was clueless to it all, of course) and smashed into the front of the bike so fast, so hard. Solai and I flew through the air. My first conscious thought was hysterically, ‘Where is Solai? Is she ok? Where is Solai!”
Kobi ran into the street to pick her up and get her out of the busy street. I sat there, dazed, wondering where all the things in my basket were. Thinking how someone at the scene of the accident could walk off with my camera. I was surrounded with smiling, concerned, really caring Cambodian men. They all stood there in the street around me, trying to help me get up. But I didn’t want to. It hurt too badly to move.
But, I realized, I’m in the middle of a busy street. A truck can come by and run you over, Get up. So they helped me in the side of the street. Kobi’s holding Solai. Random, concerned men have picked up and are holding the contents of my basket: my books, my hat, my camera, my sunglasses. I guess it kept me grounded cuz I kept yelling at Kobi to find my stuff, watch the camera…Kobi leaves Solai at the curbside with her shell-shocked siblings and comes back to help me up. The bike and I are still in the middle of a very busy street while traffic whizzes around us.
So, I’m hustled over to the side of the road by Kobi and my new 20 best Cambodian friends. Kobi’s concerned, scared, nervous; so are my Cambodian friends. But, they look softer about it (it’s not their wife, it’s some dumb, ditsy tourist who skipped into a busy intersection, right?) Military man who hit us appears before me, bowing, smiling in apology. He’s mai-ing (that bow) three, four, five times; I mai back, “It’s ok. It’s ok. Akun [‘Thank you’ in Khmer].” He’s gone.
So, I’m shaking, sweating, out of breath, in pain, disoriented, feeling guilty for not keeping my youngest child safe, and suddenly, nauseous. Kobi keeps asking me what I need. “Just hold Solai [because I’m barely holding myself here]. Just hold Solai. I’m ok.” Kobi’s standing up, holding Solai; Dahnya and Orazi are standing there, staring; I’m slumping down on the sidewalk.
My 20 best Cambodian friends (who are still standing around sheepishly bowing, smiling) whip out two plastic chairs for us to sit on, and (and this was genius) tiger balm. Tiger balm is the cure-all, magical, you hurt/stung/aching/sick and I’ll fix it fix all. They begin to rub all of Solai’s cuts and scraps, and then hand the little jar over to me. I in automatic mode and do what I understand I’m being told to do. I rub tiger balm on all my throbbing scraps. Within minutes, they hurt no more. Now, just my ass and back are throbbing and I’m more out of breath and feeling more guilty by the second. “Damn it Gabi, you could have killed your daughter!”
My sweet Dahnya is embarrassed by all the attention, all the people staring. She keeps asking if we can go. Kobi turns to give me some lovin. The second my head touches his wide shoulder, I begin to sob. “No, stop,” I tell myself, “The kids need you to be strong. You will not break down here and now.” I pull away from Kobi and wipe my tears.
So, we sit there until we don’t. We walk around town (slowly) looking for a place to eat. We are quiet until we realize that we’d might as well have fun with the whole, God-damn thing.
So, between telling the kids how badly my ass hurts with every step, I start telling jokes. “Who wants to cross the street with mommy? She’s good at that!” or “Kobi I found the guaranteed way to cruise intersections without harm, I think I should patent it!” or, my favorite, “Only those involved in a traffic accident today get to order anything they want from the menu AND get dessert!”
So, we’re safe, alive, shaken up, still feeling guilty, and appreciative. I vlogged again about half an hour later some more thoughts and insights, once I was more grounded. That’s here.
VIDEO TWO HERE but my internet connection right now in Siem Reap is too damn slow… I’ll just post it when I get lucky with really good connection. (hold on, and subscribe to this blog to get it in your inbox).
And just this morning, Dahnya wrote a story for her Hebrew studies about how the mom dies and “all’s well that ends well.” Thank God the angels spread their wings over us today. Thank God.
Even had one of those moments where you acted irresponsibility and really, really endangered those you love the most? Ever felt guilt for not protecting those you were supposed to? Ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? Ever been hit by some other moving vehicle and didn’t know which way was up?
You know I’d love to hear from you. This is where we connect, share, grow, exchange grueling details, sympathize, criticize, reflect, love, and learn together. Reach out and extend your hand to me. I promise I’ll reach right back. I’ll always reply to twitter, facebook. the blog posts right to your inbox, our youtube channel.