There I was, 3:05 pm Thursday, sitting behind my desk busily reading an article on emergent literacy skills. It was fascinating. What better way to spend the afternoon than reading about reading.
And then my cell phone rings in the ring tone of husband. He had just called earlier that morning, so this follow-up call was a little out of character. Immediately I think to myself either he has sat on his phone and mistakenly dialed me (typical) or something has gone terribly wrong.
Might as well answer and find out. The suspense is killing me.
“Liz, I’ve had a bicycle accident.”
Wait, what? Huh? Who? Where? In my head, red lights and buzzers go off. Quickly my mind registers the fact that this is indeed my husband, and he is still in Texas for a business trip, and he may or may not have been in an accident.
“I ran into something and the pedal spun forward and……” he starts to tell me some story about pedals, and spinning, and a forest and this whole time I’m thinking – huh?
In my mind, I am thinking back to the – oh – the other phone calls just like this. While I hear him telling the story, I’m not quite sure it’s a story I can believe.
You see, he’s cried wolf more than a few times.
There was the time Chris was away for the weekend, called me in a desperate and quiet voice trying to convince that he had a bicycle accident – and – it was terrible – in a lot of pain – season ending injury – because he broke his ------- penis.
Then there was the time he actually did crash at a local criterium actually getting run over by another rider and then totally milking the bloody mess of leg by sitting in the medical tent while the Fox television camera crew filmed him. I watched about 3 minutes of it and said he’s fine and went home. Then he came home and demanded sponge baths for a week.
Nice again, eh?
Then there was the time I was watching a race he was in and he was taking a really, really long time on the bike. Just when I started to get worried I heard the clippity clop of Carnacs on pavement and see a tattered bloody version of my husband walking my way. Lesson learned – do not go down at 29 mph.
Not so nice that time. Missing most of the skin on his back – gross.
So at this point, I am thinking that my husband and nearly cataclysmic bike injury go hand in hand, Carnac in Carnac, pedal in crank.
Maybe I should take this phone call a little more seriously.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
He said something about being serious, but he sounded so loopy and happy I couldn’t be sure if he was just doing a really bad job of lying (it’s true, he is the world’s worst fibber) or if he was seriously injured.
I asked him where he was again and he proceeded to tell me in a forest. Great, that helps. Really. Let me locate the ‘forest’ in Texas and send help.
Just then, I had a thought. This is a lie. This is Chris crying wolf - again. He couldn’t have been in a bicycle accident because he shipped his bike home yesterday.
I call his bluff.
He disconfirms – yes, his bike was shipped home but he wasn’t on his bike. He rented a bike from a local bike shop.
Back to being serious again.
“Are you hurt?” I ask.
“I think I severed an artery in my shin.”
Again – what? Huh? Are there arteries in your shin? I didn’t think so. I look at my shin. There is nothing there. But I have no idea. I’m sure there are arteries and capillaries, and veins, and stuff in there. I imagine that somehow blood has to get around.
He then tells me it's bleeding everywhere.
“Are you serious?” I keep asking this question as if it is going to make any difference because every time I ask Chris just keeps laughing which again I can’t tell if it’s a function of blood loss or loss of composure while trying to tell a really annoying lie.
Right then I hear birds chirping in the background. Holy crap, I think, he really is laying in the middle of a forest.
“Why did you call me?” I ask. I mean, it’s not like I can magically reach my hand through the phone and slap a band-aid on his leg. “Call 911,” I said, “tell them where you’re at and they’ll help you.”
He explains that he doesn’t know where he’s at. He was riding in a forest, in Austin, there were trees, and birds, and there is now blood everywhere. He explains this through giggles. Part of me wanted to ask if he was also surrounded by little forest gnomes. Really, was this a serious situation or just the result of too much beer too early in the day?
He talked a little more, giggled a little more, and I thought a little about how I was going to spend the next 12 hours wondering if my husband would be discovered in a curled up ball in the middle of the forest, sucking his thumb, crying for a spongebath. I pity the person that finds him.
And when this weird phone call almost came to a close, I asked him why he called me. I mean, how often do you fall down 1000 miles away from your spouse and give them a call?
“I just wanted to hear your voice,” he said.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. But in the case of my husband, who’s been on business for a week in Texas, I think it made him crazier. Or maybe that had nothing to do with distance, maybe that was just from 7 days in Texas. You never can tell.
Later than night, he gave me another call. This did two things, (1) confirmed that he was still alive, and (2) confirmed that he found his way out of the forest. Apparently he did fall, and did get injured by the pedal, and did bleed everywhere but he did make it back out. Phew?
So, a lesson learned - when Chris falls in the forest, it will make a sound. Actually, it will make a phone call – a very bizarre phone call filled with giggles, a bloody shin, and birds chirping from the middle of the forest.
But still – even if he evidently lost his mind along with half the blood in his shin while down on the ground – still he will not get a sponge bath.