Francophile Friday: And they say the French are unfriendly...

This past Sunday I wanted to get some cardio in. So I borrowed La Fille's bicycle, having heard one hour on the bike can burn around 400 calories, and decided to explore a new, longer route. Which, with my luck, meant I ended up getting a little bit disorientated. No longer on the bike path, to my left was a median, to the right a torn up gravel/dirt sidewalk with a very high curb, and behind me a couple of cars.

I was totally in the way with nowhere to go.

But then an opportunity presented itself: a driveway where the curb stood lower. I peddled faster and faster, making my move so the cars could pass.

And that's where I made my mistake.

I'd misjudged the curb. And the gravel. And I totally wiped out, skidding on my arm and thigh with the bike on top of me – my arm taking most of the weight. Immediately, cars pulled over, one in front of me and one behind. In shock, at first I couldn't say much of anything. In fact, all I could do was hold my arm, and I won't get into the details of that.

Anyway, a man from one of the cars brought out a blanket and a first aid kit, while a woman and her four year daughter tended to me and my wound. The woman, coincidentally, told me she used to be a nurse. Once the bleeding stopped, she wrapped up my arm. Unfortunately, she said, she wasn't able to clean it because it was too open and there was too much dirt in it.

Mind you, this was all in French. Et, ben oui, j'ai compris. Just because I speak French like a half-wit, doesn't mean I don't understand it – shock and awe.

During all this, the little girl – a four-year-old and adorable blond – stood over me to give me shade, giggling because the wind kept making her skirt fly up. This, of course, made both the mother and I laugh. I was quite surprised the little girl wasn't flipped out at the sight/state of my arm, but she just smiled, and fetched things from the car when her mother asked. (i.e. Arnica "en granule" and Tissues) The man just paced in the background, a concerned expression on his face.

Thankfully, I had my iPhone on me, which the woman retrieved from my back pocket, and I was able to call Jean-Luc with one very shaky hand – the left. Both the man and the woman (and obviously her daughter) stayed by my side until Jean-Luc arrived. Of course, I said merci about 1,000 times, but in a rush to get to the hospital, and fighting back the urge to cry and puke at the same time, I didn't think to get their names.

Makes me think of a line from A Streetcar Named Desire, when Blanche Dubois says, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers."

My town is a very small and I'm the only American in it, so I hope one day I'll run into the woman again. I'd love to, at the very least, send her a huge bouquet flowers.

And here's a lesson I learned: Exercise can be bad – very bad – for your health. The proof is in the below photo, which I reduced so as not to totally gross you out. It's pity party Friday, bring on the whine! Or wine. Whatever.

Then again, I could tell people I was bitten by le lapin-garou. (A wererabbit.)

Yours truly,

Madame Maladroit

SOUND OFF: Would you stop to assist somebody? Do you think I should wear full body armor when I leave my house?
p.s. Thank the heavens for pain killers and an excellent health care system. But, man, I'm getting really sick of the ER!

p.p.s. My adorable neighbors just had me over for un café and they gave me two bottles of wine from the region in which they have a summer house (Languedoc), plus some plant cuttings for le jardin. Looks like my luck is turning around...


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