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I hit my first pedestrian.
In case you’re wondering, I was riding past Theatre IV on West Broad and I only hit his hand, before I proceeded to yell, “OHMYGOSH I’MSOSORRY AREYOUOKAY?!” as I slowed down. Then I hit a fire hydrant because I had turned around to check on him. He was already trying to cross Broad Street. I wasn’t going very fast so I didn’t fall when I made contact with the fire hydrant. I backed up, pedaled a little more (because that’s what you have to do), maybe a half a block, and started crying uncontrollably.
My legs were shaking, my breathing was really rough, coming in quick, deep bouts, so I had to stop right next to a GRTC bus stop, where two or three people were sitting and standing around the bench. I heard their voices in the background, but “You’re such an ass” and “I hope he’s okay” kept playing in my head. I covered my face with both hands and bawled. My face was covered in tears. I thought, “You need to calm down. You are having a panic attack. You need to keep going to class. When you get to a bathroom, you can cry.” But the negative thoughts kept coming back. “You made an ass of yourself back there. You should’ve been more careful. A million people saw your stupidity. You shouldn’t have been riding on the sidewalk. He hates you for hitting him, he is annoyed with you, and the people behind you at the bus stop hate you too and think you’re annoying and invasive and stupid and they wonder why you’re crying.”
I kept going after about two minutes of uncontrollable sobbing, shakily and extremely slowly at first. I knew my face was completely red and blotchy, so I avoided eye contact. The man who always says “hola” to me even inquired as to why I was crying, but I just mustered up a smile. Fortunately, my face clears up from crying pretty quickly so that after about five minutes, you can’t even tell that I was sad and may still be sad. In this situation, it was advantageous, but in situations where something terrible happened and I am on the verge of crying and I just need to talk, it can suck.
I was a little ruffled when I got to class, but I started to forget about it.
On my way from the classroom to the cafeteria, I rode my bike. I was behind an older man walking, who suddenly stopped and attempted to cut across my biking path without looking both ways. I slowed down and muttered, “I’m sorry,” to which he replied in the most injured voice, “You almost hit me!” I was embarrassed, so I repeated my apology gently. But after a few more pedals, I realized how dumb it was for him to even say that.
“Damn straight, I did.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t. You should be grateful.”
“I renounce my apologies for your stupidity, you bastard.”
I arrived in Shafer, wrote about it, tried to call my mom, and cried. Long hair covers the face. It can be convenient. I pressed my palms into my eyes.
Yesterday was a fucking shitty-ass day.
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