An unexpected Christmas Day cure for my bad back….

On Christmas Day I had two invitations –one to an Upper East side 11.30 am Brunch of a friend who is a writer and a birder (last year was lots of fun meeting all her Central Park birder pals) and the second, across the park to the Upper West side, to dinner with some friends.

But then –a few days before– I HAD to go and lift that large bucket of water. Yikes! My back, with those lower spine five disks ( injured from that hit by that car). This time they objected, and in a split second I was…immobile.

I felt obliged to advise my two hosts that I might not be able to show up, and in fact I did eventually cancel the Brunch.

But, rather amazingly, on Christmas morning, my back told me: “Look, I’m still a bit…tender, but if you really want to go to that Upper West side event, I’ll go with you.”

Over and above the call of duty, one might say. So –I get on my bike, cross on the Staten Island ferry, and ride the bicycle path by the Hudson River, up to West 79th Street (by the Natural History Museum) almost exactly an hour’s ride.

There followed a most gracious and relaxed few hours of hospitality and conversation –possibly too relaxing, because when I looked at my watch it was 9.30 pm –time to go if I am to catch that 10.30 ferry.

When I did finally get out the door –not as promptly as I needed to (it never is, is it?)– I had just 40 minutes to get to the ferry, which is SIMPLY not enough time.

But –I nevertheless took off on my bike, and pressed on, down Columbus Avenue to Lincoln Center and onwards down Broadway, at speed. Hope against hope.
Various landmarks flashed by –Columbus Circle, Times Square, past Macy’s, down to Union Square. At each one I checked my watch, which either confirmed that, no, I would definitely NOT make it, OR, conversely, gave me just that palest glimmer of hope against hope that –if I pressed on, at redoubled effort– that I might indeed just make it! It would be ….Touch and go.

So I did press on, and, amazingly, by the time I reached Houston St. and then Canal St. –for me, now a more familiar terrain, more familiar “landmarks”– it seemed to me that I was really in there with (almost) a fighting chance.

All the while –I figured this out later– it was the incentive of catching the 10.30 pm ferry, OR, –probably much more accurately– the disincentive of having to wait a full hour (holiday service) in that bleak, dismal, cold (BIKES ONLY) setting, that was in reality impelling me forward.

In any event, I did make it, and with almost three minutes to spare! I couldn’t believe it, as I sank into my seat on the ferry.

It was then that I realized: wouldn’t you know it, after all my exertions, my back was ALL BETTER!

[Warning: NOT to be tried at home, or even in your own town or city, without medical supervision.

But –makes you think, doesn’t it.]


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One Response to “An unexpected Christmas Day cure for my bad back….”

  1. Beth

    Very glad you enjoyed a happy holiday gathering, and that you made it (safely) back to the Ferry in time. But please allow me to nag you again about… Wearing A Helmet. Please do, Malachi. Your friends care about you, and we want you to protect your head when cycling. If your daughter Sion is reading this, may we enlist her as a more persuasive helmet advocate? Please give it some more thought, dear friend. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2008. Beth