Saturday, 24 May 2014

How to Ruin Your Summer in 3 Easy Steps

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." -- Sidney Sheldon

The school year will be over soon, and every year at this time I'm reminded of an incident that put the kibosh on my summer plans.  The summer after I finished high school should have been one of the best.  Despite various personal and social problems I had been having throughout the year, I had managed to graduate with a B average.  My parents were going on a trip for two weeks and I was to stay at my aunt's farm for the duration; I loved it there.

But unfortunately everything changed abruptly because of a series of stupid decisions I made.  I decided to write this so that others could learn from my mistakes.

Mistake #1. Have a crush on a boy.

During the latter half of the school year I had been routinely attending the school's chess club, and one of my more frequent opponents was a lanky boy named Chris.  We had a number of things in common and over time we developed an easygoing friendship.  Then began rumours that we were a couple, which was far from the truth, although I liked him and had invited him to join me on a few bike rides around the neighbourhood.  A few days after school ended I asked him to spend an afternoon biking, and he accepted.

Mistake #2. Make stupid moves while on a bike.

Chris and I met up to go on our bike ride, but another friend happened to show up and ask if I could fly kites with him in the park.  Graciously Chris agreed to accompany both of us to the park, where we had a grand time.  When it came time to leave, Chris and I departed together.  I rode my bike one-handed because I was carrying my rolled-up kite in the other hand.  Suddenly the kite started to slide out of my hand; instead of letting it drop so I could stop the bike safely, I brought it in front of me and tried to adjust my grip.  With my attention diverted, my front wheel hit the shoulder of the road.  I lost my balance and tipped over, and I instinctively held out both hands to block my fall.  A strange noise sounded from my right wrist, and my entire forearm felt like it had caught fire.

Mistake #3. Minimize the problem.

We made it back to my house, where I used one of my athletic straps to bind my wrist.  Gradually the pain subsided.  Maybe it wasn't serious... I hoped it wasn't serious.  When my parents arrived home from the store I explained that I had hurt myself, and naturally my mother immediately insisted on getting an doctor's opinion.  Dad put my kite and my bike away, Chris took his leave, and Mom took me to the emergency room.  It wasn't very crowded and we saw a triage nurse relatively quickly; I told her that I believed my wrist was sprained.  Mom admonished me, saying that I should have said that it was possibly fractured, because that might make a difference as to how long we would have to wait.

Time passed, my wrist was evaluated, X-rays were taken, and it turned out that it was indeed broken.  And it was broken in a such a way that would make it difficult to heal; they had to slowly (and painfully) angle my wrist so that the bones were aligned before putting a cast on.

I was silent the entire way home.  I knew this whole thing was my fault.  It wouldn't have happened had I made better choices.  With a cast on my arm for six weeks I would be unable to go swimming, unable to go biking, and unable to roam as freely around my aunt's property as I was expecting.  Worst of all, I had made myself look like a fool in front of Chris.  My summer was effectively ruined.

Chris and I spoke on the phone a few times over the summer, but once September came around and we began junior college, we couldn't see each other regularly and we drifted apart.  Any relationship I might have hoped for never materialized.

So always be careful what you do when school ends.  Because one stupid move (or three) can really mess up your summer.

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