Sunday, October 16, 2005

Panic Stations

It was all very embarrassing really. One minute I was asking the school receptionist for a plaster and the next I was being driven to hospital by my boss's girlfriend, all for a cut on my shin the size of my little finger nail.

Let me rewind.

It's taking me a little while to get used to my new Vespa, The Blue Meanie. Not the riding of it, no! It's the parking of it. Yes, it seems I can ride it around London without mishap, but when it comes to parking the thing up it all goes a bit tits up!

To be fair it's a heavy old peice of kit, deceptively so, and there's a special knack to getting the thing on to its stand. But before you even attempt that, you need to get the bastard onto the pavement first.

First off I cut the engine and tried to push the thing up the curb manually, but for the life of me I couldn't do it. So I tried it with the engine on. Just the tiniest bit of throttle while I stood beside it guiding it up and I figured it would be fine. Perhaps predictably, that didn't turn out to me my most sensible decision. The Blue Meanie flew up out of my hands, whacked a lamp post and then came crashing down to the pavement via my shin.

It didn't hurt. In fact I didn't even realise it was bleeding until I bent down to tie up my shoelace on my way into the school. Okay, so it may have looked a lot worse than it was... there are a fair old few veins in the human leg and my little Vespa appeared to have punctured one of them and so I can understand why maybe the receptionist panicked a little and called over the school tanoy system for the school's Designated First Aider. And I guess to be fair to the school's "Designated First Aider" she would usually be dealing with primary school kids who cry at the tiniest of scratches, but I did really start to get irritated when the Designated First Aider shook her head an annouced that this was a job for Brenda. The receptionish gasped, I sighed and the Designated First Aider held my leg in the air.

At this point I should remind you that the cut was pretty small. Deep, maybe, but really very small and so imagine my surprise when Brenda finally appeared brandishing The Largest Bandage in the World, more or less the size of your average table mat.

"Of course, you'll have to get a proper nurse to look at this," she said as she enveloped me in medical gauze and tape.

"Well, I could always pop into the hospital on the way home", I replied with every intention of not doing that at all.

"But how would you get there?" asked the white-faced receptionist.

"On my scooter."

"Oh, well we couldn't possibly let you do that," said the Designated First Aider.

"No," said the receptionist.

"You might pass out," said Brenda.

"The bus?" I ventured hopefully.

They tutted and sighed, shaking their heads in unison.

At that point my fellow sports coach peeked her head round the door to see what all the fuss was about.

"She's gashed her leg,"

"Blood everywhere. Look!"

Now, I'm convinced that if my colleague had actually seen my leg, she would have persuaded them that it was okay and that I could just whack on a plaster and get on with the coaching. Instead all she could see were three panic stricken women brandishing a bloody trainer and so she obviously thought the whole thing was much worse than it was. She called our boss to see if he could give me a lift to the hospital and she announced he would be there in 15 minutes.

Half an hour later, imagine my mortification when my boss's girlfriend, who I've never met before, pulls up, tells me that Boss is in a meeting and that he called her to ask if she'd drive me to hospital.

"He asked me to give you a tenner, too, you know, for a cab ride home. By the way, I'm Eileen. Hows the leg?"

Eileen was lovely and I thanked her as I got out of the car hoping to wave her off and catch the bus home. Instead she walked me into the hospital and waited until my name was down on the list before she left me to it.

Eventually my name was called and the nurse put me onto a bed and delicately took off the massive bandage clearly expecting an injury worthy of Jaws. Instead she just looked up enquiringly at the tiny scab beginning to form wondering why the hell I would sit in a hospital casualty unit for a couple of hours when a small plaster would have sufficed.

"It's a long story," I sighed.

"I'll just pop a bit of glue on and you'll be fine."

I didn't get a taxi home. I took a bus instead and spent the tenner on a movie and some pop corn.