6:45 AM Friday, I woke up to an aching hip, which makes little sense because I was under the impression you had to, well, actively move to cause that kind of pain. I was up so early to go on a hike precisely because I wanted to be more active, so the timing felt a special kind of unfair.
I’d made plans with someone to go “hiking” in the morning before a meeting at 9AM—“hiking” in quotes because the only trail close enough for me to make it back in time was Pease Park’s Shoal Creek Trail, a completely level paved path that meanders along lazily running water. Pease Park is a twenty-minute walk west from my apartment, so he suggested we take Limes to get there.
Limes are dockless electric scooters that, months ago, no one had heard of, and then in about a week, exploded in popularity around campus (and Austin.) The way Lime works is you use the app to locate a Lime someone left in your area, scan the QR code to rent it, and drop it off wherever for the next person to find. You can hardly walk a block without seeing students zooming to class in bright green flashes or scooters abandoned in the middle of sidewalks.
Most people I know aren’t fans of Limes, their concerns ranging from the visual pollution to potential danger to “it just looks stupid.” I didn’t have an opinion and had never ridden an electric scooter so I was open to the suggestion. (As for his name, we’ll call him The Death of Me. You’ll understand.)
We found two Limes around the corner of my apartment and I used his referral code, activating the scooter.
TDM: See the button on the right? That’s how you move.
I nodded, flicking through the instructions and getting on the scooter. It went a lot faster than I’d expected it to, and I attempted to balance. A couple minutes later, I was whizzing up the hill and through many red lights. TDM asked why I was going so quickly, and I eased on the accelerator. Thankfully, there weren’t many early morning cars.
A couple minutes later, we reached the top of a steep hill. I felt the usual tinges of apprehension that occur right before an impending downhill rush. TDM curved onto the sidewalk before me, and as I started to follow, I made the motion to brake so I could control my speed.
Only, I realized, I didn’t know where the brake was. I’d only ever ridden bikes, which have brakes right behind both handlebars. Not knowing what else to do, I instinctively pressed accelerate.
The bike lurched forward. Conscious that I’d pressed accelerate and not confident I’d be able to manage the ride downhill, I made a choice.
I leaped off the scooter.
I was airborne for a split second and spun into the ground, landing on my side and then stopping on my back. I immediately started laughing, took a couple breaths, and jumped to my feet. Areas of my skin began to sting, though I couldn’t pinpoint where yet.
TDM: Oh, shit.
Random driver: Are you okay?
Me: Yeah! Yeah. Thank you. No, I’m fine.
I waved them away. TDM remarked that I was bleeding. I took inventory. Several surface level scrapes on my left thigh. One on my right. A small but deeper gash on the side of my left knee. A little peeled skin down the calf. My right knee looked lightly grated. The worst was my elbow—two scrapes bordering the wenis, one overlapping the scar I have from the time I fell off a bike.
I asked if there was running water and then, in the periphery of my vision, saw a woman leaving her car to enter a building. I raced over to ask to use their bathroom, and she got me alcohol pads and Band-Aids. I lifted my leg to the sink and ran it under the tap, hissing.
Me: I can’t believe I fell off a Lime. This is gonna be such a stupid story.
TDM: You need to come up with another one.
After disinfecting and bandaging my wounds, we agreed that I would not say I fell down the stairs on account of how people would think I’d been abused and proceeded to walk the Shoal Creek trail as planned, anyway. I showed up to my project meeting after only slapping on a cotton pad with Scotch tape over the larger scrape on my knee. My teammate suggested I go on local news to talk about the perils of Lime-ing. He pointed out the blood on my shorts. I said it was proof of dedication.
Feeling incredibly metal, I stayed the whole meeting before buying some first aid and heading home for some proper care. The wounds stung but I felt okay.
Three hours later, I was struggling around the house. The small gash next to my knee was inflamed, and bending the joint became agony. I took the bus to an event at 7, and by the time my friend—Ginger Friend, if you remember him—and I made our way back, I was full-on limping.
He walked me home even though I likely added ten minutes to the trip with how slow I was going, probably in case I tripped in the middle of a street and a car finished the job. As we headed toward my apartment from the stop, what else but a GUY ON A LIME almost ran me over. I laughed. Things were getting surreal.
In my apartment, I iced my knee, cleaned my wounds, rolled into bed, winced in pain, adjusted positions, and thought: Well, at least my hip doesn’t hurt anymore.
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