I have a mystery bruise on my bicep. I have no idea where it came from, but every day in the shower for the last week I've been marvelling as it at first darkened, then turned a brilliant purple, then green and now yellow. It joins the similar bruise of unknown aetiology on my hip and the one on my shin. I have no idea where they came from - probably the result of me walking into a benchtop/door handle/bed frame or similar but I have no memory of doing so. So I watch in fascination as they evolve, every morning bemused by their ambush attack.
The best bruise I ever had was at 18. Friends and I had gone to the local watering hole to be, well "watered" and stayed out past the last bus home time. Being as it was barely 2km home from this local establishment (though extraordinarily hilly) we set off in great spirits on foot. Now had we continued on foot, this story would probably end with "and we went home and went to bed". Unfortunately, after a few hundred metres we spied a pair of shopping trolleys.
Now shopping trolleys are reknowned for their precision handling and comfortable seating arrangements so we decided that we should ride them home. Clambering in in noisy appreciation we took it in turns to push or be pushed for a while. I had the great joy of having my turn at pushing on an uphill stretch and getting to the top of the hill I was puffing and sweating from the exertion of pushing a 50kg shopping trolley with 70 odd kilograms of friend up a steep hill. So obviously it was my turn to rest.
At the top of the hill we swapped places and I sat in the extremely comfortable hard metal contraption and leaned back against the cracked babyseat, chest heaving a little with the effort of the aforementioned push looking forward to having a break. So we set off again, Smudge holding on gamely to the handle of the trolley as we descended down the hill (Sir Fred Schonell Dr for those familiar with the area). Except it was steeper I think than she'd anticipated, and Smudge was not the strongest of girls. Suddenly, about halfway down the hill she lost her grip.
Picture the scene now, it's after midnight but there are still occasional vehicles on this busy road and I'm hurtling down a hill in a shopping trolley hair streaming out behind me feeling not a small bit anxious - shopping trolleys of course getting a very low ANCAP rating due to the lack of airbags and antilock brakes (being somewhat deficient in any brakes...). I had, at this stage, a couple of options. One was to close my eyes, scream and hope that it miraculously all turned out ok. Another was to open my eyes, scream and hope that it miraculously all turned out ok... or there was option number 3.
As I was hurtling along, bouncing a little on random debris on the road and watching with dissociative amusement of the spectacle I was making, I decided that at some point I would stop, and that the manner in which I stopped could be decided by me, or by some "higher power". Not being the religious type or having a particular higher power to turn to (as well as being slightly independent) I chose to stop it myself. When there are no brakes and your momentum is increasing, the options to stop are somewhat limited, and the best solution I could think of was to tip the trolley. Trolleys are very heavy. I weighed about the same as the trolley - so it took a lot of determination to decide this, but once I had made my plan I set about implementing it.
And I did - tipping the trolley on its side while executing a near perfect J turn - so precise that if I could do that on a snowboard LH would marry me all over again. The trolley shuddered to a stop almost immediately and I was still in one piece - no broken bones, not having got up close and personal with either tree or oncoming cars... Excelsior! Unfortunately, as I went to stand up, I realised I had made a single fatal flaw - in using my body weight to both swing and tip the trolley I had waved my arm outside of the cage and on tipping had effectively trapped it between trolley and asphalt - thankfully not shredding it to pieces. It did however leave a bruise that was the talk of my friends for months afterwards. The rainbow of colours catapulting it well into the realm of king of the bruises...
The funny thing was, aside from the throbbing pain and the absolute revolting appearance of the bruise, every time I looked at it, my immediate thought was how clever I'd been to stop the trolley. And in the shower this morning, looking at the baby brother of my ultimate bruise, I was grinning like an idiot - because once upon a time I bested a trolley at 40km an hour.
PS I passed paeds - 1 more exam til I'm a Dr
PS2 I went to the gym again today - arms are shakier than they were when I was using them as a trolley brake