Every once in a while, I try to pretend that I’m outdoorsy.
It never really goes well for me.
Take, for instance, the last time I thought I’d give it a go. My mom had come to visit me in Scotland and I took her on a trip to Ireland so that she could see why I loved it so much. While we were in Killarney, we decided it would be so super cool awesome if we rented bikes and went for a ride in the national park!
Great! Biking’s super cool and fun!
Except that I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was like, 10, maybe younger. And even though we did some adjustments, the bike I got was still totally way too high for me and my short legs (the ones I can’t change). So it was a rocky start. I was panicky and scared. I swayed back and forth. And so on. But eventually, I sort of got the hang of it. We even biked along a busy road and I only had a mild anxiety attack! I felt the wind in my hair! I was FREE AS A BIRD!
So this is what it’s like to be a normal person who likes the outdoors, I thought to myself. I’m normal!
But guys, I had gotten too confident too soon. It was inevitable that my ego would bring me crashing down. Literally.
We were on a path in the national park when we heard a horse and carriage approaching.
SIDENOTE: No, we had not entered a vortex and biked into the past. That’s a thing in Killarney’s national park. Horses pull people around. Anyway.
I got a little nervous because the carriage is really big and the path is really small. I also worried that if we approached them on bikes, the horses may get scared and freak out or something. So as the horse and carriage neared, I tried my best to slow to a stop on the side of the path to let it pass.
Just a minor issue: I was trying to slow down on a hill on a bike that was way too high for me. So basically the bike slowed down, then started to roll down the hill, and my short little useless good for nothing legs couldn’t stop it.
SO I WENT DOWN.
But here’s the kicker. In a perfect world, I would have fallen into a pile of lovely, lush, cushion-y grass. It would have been like, a pleasure to fall into it, you know? Like, oh no! I’m falling off my – never mind! This grass is so soft and pillowy and green and beautiful, I’m just gonna enjoy being connected to the earth in this moment and soak it all in!
But in the real world, I fell off my bike DIRECTLY INTO A THORN BUSH.
And it hurt like a motherfucker, let me tell you. Plus, I have super fair, super sensitive ghost skin, so within minutes, my arm, which took the most weight in my fall because I tried to brace myself as I went down, EXPLODED into weird, swollen hive things. It was like you could see every pore in my skin, only instead of pores, I’m pretty sure they were all the holes the flipping thorn bush had put in me.
And I refused to ride the bike.
SIDENOTE: I think that somehow, I thought that not riding the bike was teaching the bike a lesson. Like, make me fall, injure me, and I will not grace you with my presence! So I marched it through the remainder of the park, and I made a point of not even holding onto it nicely. Way to be a grown up, Andrea. Way to be a grown up.
And I spent the next few hours convinced that I had, in fact, fallen into poison ivy and was going to die. My mom just laughed at me, which made me even more certain that I was going to die or end up in the ER, just to spite her shrugging off my OBVIOUSLY SERIOUS INJURY.
I was fine.
I haven’t ridden a bike since. Give me another few years. Or a decade.
Lesson learned: when you try to be something you’re not, the universe punishes you.