The hazards of working at a University as a new academic year dawns
My bicycle journey to work at the University, dodging students as they leap about in excitement is a challenge. They slow down as they get more morose as the academic year progresses of course, but no more attentive (but perhaps a little less erratic). I’m really not at my best in the morning, but I end up hating myself when I get angry with them for nearly causing accidents and being totally oblivious to the chaos they cause as cars screech and cyclist brake to avoid them. ‘Be nice!’ I tell myself.
In fact, I'm such a morning grouch that I have to tell myself to be nice every morning. I forgot the other morning and was super-angry as I had to brake hard, and fast. I’d been going faster than when I’m mindful of my ‘Be nice’ mantra, so when a group suddenly danced across the bike path, I could do nothing to avoid ploughing into them but throw myself and the bike to the ground. My shoulder crunched into the tarmac and my helmeted head scraped and bounced along the ground. I juddered to a crumpled and undignified halt on the bicycle path behind them.
‘Are you alright!’ they cried (the scrape of metal and plastic, and thud of bodily flesh hitting tarmac had now caught their attention).
‘Yes! But no thanks to YOU’ I ranted, pointing a shaking finger at the offender.
They were all mortified by my display of anger (and mystified). I gathered myself up and carried on, my bike now rattling scraping and my wrist starting to throb and pain. I also felt a creeping shame spreading about me, for having shouted at them.
Well, I’ve thought about it. They were thoughtless, and stupid for not taking more care of themselves and others. They clearly don’t know how much it hurts to be hit by a cyclist. And thanks to me, they still don’t know. But the more I think about it, the more I hope they never find out. (I hope too that they develop a scrap of self-awareness). But my anger and frustration helped no-body, including me, so I’m going to be a bit more mindful of my ‘Be nice!’ mantra – especially in the mornings (and around undergraduate students).
(How’s my wrist? Sporting a neon-pink splint, but not broken. Thanks for asking.)