“You'd be surprised by what emotion makes people do." -- Brit Bennett, "The Vanishing Half"

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Accident

     We just returned from what was going to be a 12-day vacation to the beach in South Carolina. We came home a day early, chased out by Hurricane Ian. We found out later, in Charleston, there was plenty of street flooding and some wind damage, but nothing catastrophic like there was in Florida.

     The way home for us is straight up I95. It's one of the most heavily traveled roads in America, and we expected heavy traffic, especially since we thought we'd run into people fleeing Florida. In fact, the traffic wasn't that bad -- until we got to Washington, DC, where traffic is always bad. There we had to dodge the speeders and tailgaters who seemed more aggressive the farther north we went. (I'd vote for increasing funds for police to patrol our highways.)

     But despite this build-up, my accident was not on the highway.

     When we go to the beach we rent bicycles. The roads are straight and flat, and as long as you're at least two or three blocks out of town, traffic is minimal. So it's pleasant to ride along looking at the beach houses, the gardens, the quirky lawn displays, the intricately designed rock walls.

     I also like to go down to the beach at low tide and ride along the hard sand. The beaches aren't too crowded -- no worries about running into people, as long as you pay attention -- and the bikes we rent have relatively thick tires, so it's easy going. 

     I like to watch the waves come in, and at low tide I can ride around the seaward end of the rock breakwaters. Or at least I thought I could.

The offending breakwater
     One day I took to the beach. The tide was going out. A few of the breakwaters were still being lapped by the waves, but I saw one that was dry, or almost dry. So I headed down to the water, rolled through two or three inches of water, then ... bam! I was head over heels into the ocean!

     What I didn't realize was that as the tide flows out it makes a depression at the end of the breakwater, creating a little sinkhole. Right there, the water was three feet deep.

     My bike was mostly underwater. I stood up and found myself waist deep. I had on a bicycle helmet -- but I didn't hit my head against the rocks anyway. I did jam my thigh into the bike as I fell. I saw my hat, which had been in the bike basket, floating in the undertow. I grabbed it.

     Several people came and asked if I was alright. I thanked them, saying the only thing hurt was my pride. Then .... wait! Where was my phone? I looked down. Was it churning in the sand three feet below me?

     I felt in my pocket. There it was! Luckily, I'd slipped the phone into the pocket of my shorts instead of throwing it into the basket. But it got pretty wet. Would it survive the mishap?

     After I righted the bike and collected myself, I continued on my ride -- even riding down below a few of the other breakwaters. But then I thought I'd better cut things short, go home, and see about my cellphone.

     I got back to the beach house, went into the kitchen, and dried it off. Then I googled how to save your phone if it's been dunked in salt water. I found several videos. Most of them advised taking apart the phone and cleaning specific elements. I wasn't going to do that. One video suggested placing the phone in rice. The rice would draw out the water. But there was no rice at the beach house.

     So I just wiped off the phone. I tried it out, and it seemed to work. I took off the protective case and washed that in soap and water, then ran a damp cloth over the phone to try to wipe off any salt.

The damage
     Today, almost a week later, my cellphone still works. Kudos to Apple ... and to the protective case that seemingly prevented it from getting too wet. 

     So all that was wounded was my pride. Well, I did lose the bike lock that was in my basket and fell to the bottom of the ocean. The rental place charged me $27 for that. And I did suffer a nasty bruise on my leg. It looks pretty ugly. But really, it never hurt all that much.

     What's the moral of my story? People ... be careful out there. Watch where you're going. Act your age. And don't be stupid!

21 comments:

gigi-hawaii said...

Man, what a lot of drama! But it could have been worse. Thank God you weren't trapped in the violent hurricane or taken out to sea in the undertow. I am impressed your iPhone survived in good shape. Kudos to Apple.

Kay said...

Oh my gosh, Tom! That looks awfully painful. However, I'm glad you feel it was only your pride that took the beating.
Hmmm... I do act my age and I still have accidents. sigh....

Wisewebwoman said...

We can't be careful enough as we age Tom, and falls can be the end of a healthy life as we know.
One of my bros fell off a ladder recently. On our family zoom we had all been horrified he was fixing up his son's house. Roof, etc. He wound up in A & E for 5 hours and his body took a huge battering. Lesson learned.
Glad you're OK and your phone is too!!
Sand can be deadly too much unknowns underfoot or under wheel.
XO
WWW

Celia said...

Yes, be careful but honestly I think you were booby trapped by fate. That bruise looks like it will be around for awhile. Stay well.

DJan said...

I didn't realize when I first looked at that picture that it was of your LEG! It looks wicked, but it could have been so much worse. I'm glad you are okay and will heal. Including your pride. :-)

Bob Lowry said...

That bruise looks like a bad case of senile purpura..the bruising that us older folks get that doesn't hurt but looks like it should.

Glad you and your phone survived in one piece!

ApacheDug said...

Omigod, that's a pretty harsh photo! Tom I hope the only thing hurting is your pride and your wallet (a little), I'm sorry about the bike-lock but glad you're relatively okay. Sounds like you had quite the adventure though!

Tom said...

Wisewebwoman -- Last time we moved we sold our ladder, and I vowed never to buy or use another one ... for exactly the reason exemplified by your brother. Bob -- I never heard of "senile purpura" and I hope I'll never hear about it again!

Miss Merry said...

Oh my, so glad the damage to you wasn't worse!

Arkansas Patti said...

Ouch that looks painful but really glad that you, the bike and the phone all survived. We just don't bounce like we use to.

Terra said...

That is pretty much the oddest way to have a bicycle accident I have ever heard of, and good news you made it through it ok, and your phone too. That bruise looks shocking.

DrumMajor said...

I didn't know the sand could have little surprises when the tide is out. As an RN, I've seen many bruises on my patients who fell. Your leg photo would rate in the Top Five. Linda in Kansas

Ed said...

Yes, praise to those Apple engineers! A couple summers back I got distracted and waded into my brother's salt water pool with my cell phone in my pocket. My pride was very hurt being "one of those people". I shook out the water and let it air dry for several hours before attempting to use it and thankfully, I am still using that phone to this day.

But a bit of forewarning. Apple puts a moisture indicator in them so they can tell when they've been submersed in water and if you require any work done to them later, the Apple store won't warranty said work. A helpful guy explained that too me when I was getting the battery replaced on my previous, unwetted phone.

Tom said...

Thanks to everyone for your concern. Yes, an odd accident indeed. And Red, you are so right: a cut-off age for these things. Ed, thanks for the tip; however, my phone is over five years old so the warranty has probably expired anyway. But I agree ... praise to Apple engineers!

Rian said...

Tom, so glad you weren't badly impacted by Hurricane Ian while on vacation. But the bruising does look bad. As for the phone, I'm glad it still works. I dropped mine in the sink once and had it sitting in rice for 3 days, but it did come back.

Anonymous said...

Joe Biden couldn't have said it any better nor given out any better advice!

Carolyn said...

Glad you're okay Tom. I had a bicycle accident about 10 years (concussion and fractured pelvis) while doing something stupid. I continued to ride my bike after I recovered, but it has never been the same. I finally hung up my helmet at 65, and stick to keeping my feet on the ground for exercise. Now if I can just keep from being stupid...

Linda Myers said...

That was a surprising adventure, but it makes a good story. Hope your leg doesn't feel as bad as it looks!

Six years ago somebody spilled something in my MacBook Air, which promptly died. I got a new one but kept the dead one. Three years later, I plugged the dead one in, and it started right up! Guess those Apple engineers know a thing or two.

Friko said...

Who wants to act their age? I'd be hard pressed to get all the years covered!
Sounds like a wonderful little holiday inspite of the major and minor mishaps.

Karen D. Austin said...

I am glad to read that the fall ended up not leading to significant injury. Whew! I have to admit that I am an indoor cyclists. I am a little bit clumsy. But I am denying myself fresh air and the change of scenery afforded by outdoor cycling. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Maybe I'll rent a bike now and then and enjoy looking at the treasures Mother Nature has to offer.

Barbara said...

OMG. That bruise looks terrible. Can't believe it doesn't hurt that bad. Great luck on the phone. We had one way back that went in the pool and right back out but still died. I guess they really are making them better these days.