I injured my knee this week.
Well, in truth, it’s been injured for two or three weeks now but I've been ignoring it as much as I can. Things just came to a head this week when I bent down and my knee crunched excruciatingly out of shape such that I couldn't get back up again. This had to happen three ever-escalating times before I really started to pay attention. That’s how bloody useless I am.
The Doc said it was cartilage stuff, on account of my well-documented attempts at jogging over the last few years. I reckon my jogging days may be over, which is a bit sad-making but we’ll see. Let's get things back in shape first and then see where we are at.
It was the Doc’s next suggestion that brought to mind this ‘Thing I Cannot Do’. When he proposed that I go and do it after I heal, I smiled and nodded as if it would be the very first thing on my list after I got out the surgery door. When it came up in more casual conversation the other evening, I felt I should be more up-front about it, as I usually am.
“You can’t jog any more?”
“Probably not, no.”
“You know what you should do?”
“I think I do, yes.”
“You should take up cycling.”
“Yes. I should.”
“It’s great for you and it gets you out and active and it’s not so hard on the knees and_”
“I can’t cycle.”
“Sorry, what was that?”
“I can’t cycle. I never learned how.”
It’s true. I never learned how to cycle. It’s one of a long list of basic things that I cannot do.
I don’t really know why this is. All my peers were cycling all over the place when I was a kid and my older brothers were all cyclists too. I guess I just got missed-out in the bicycle-tuition allocation and I was not the type of kid to volunteer myself for anything of the sort.
It’s certainly not down to a lack of balance. I can roller skate and ice skate and I used to ski really quite well. I should be able to do it but I just never have. Also, of course, people have tried to teach me from time-to-time, usually when they’re a bit pissed.
“Here’s a bike, there’s Ken, we’ve all had a few… let’s teach him to cycle. He’ll thank us in the morning.”
Let’s not. I won’t.
It’s brought some problems too. I remember starting in a new job in London and the boss telling me to rush up the high street to get some photos developed. “There’s a bike outside, just take that.” That was quite an unimpressive first day for yours truly, when I had to admit to one of the things I had left off my CV.
In recent years, I’ve tried it myself, out on the quiet cul-de-sac I live on. My son got a bike that was a nice, manageable, size so I took it out there and rode it for a bit. And, yes, I was actually able to ride it for a bit… so long as it was in a straight line. When it came to turning around, I was completely lost and fell over with impunity. It’s just not to be.
So here I am, knee buggered and, one thing is for sure, I won’t be taking up cycling as an alternative exercise any time soon. I’ll be okay though. I’ll just walk twice as far as I used to jog and see how that goes.
I’ll get by without cycling, just like I always have. Only one odd thing will doubtless remain. A strange little feature of my life that has always seemed to be there.
While others sometimes dream they can fly, I only ever dream that I can ride a bike.