Allow me to fast-forward a few years through the story of our Big Adventure and tell you about the events of this week for they show humankind at its very best. Something I think is important to share with you all. However, do not fear for we will head back to the early days of our Adventure in the next post.
This week Pearl and I faced the biggest challenge our fourth year in London has thrown up (not difficult considering we’ve only been back for a fortnight!) and in fact one of our more tricky situations to date. Let me set the scene for you. It was about 6pm and Pearl and I had just left our department at University after a day full lectures. We were tired, a little bit grumpy and desperate to get home for some dinner. So with that in mind, we bid adieu to a good friend and set off for home ready for a night in.
Well, that was the plan. Lesson #2 of life with Emily: The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray (to quote a bloke I learnt about in English)
Now, the weeks running up to this incident hadn’t exactly been the best for me. I had been really very ill with a systemic infection from a deeply infected pressure wound (further complications after ankle surgery) and had been put back into plaster and dosed up to the eyeballs in order to try to get better and prevent surgery and other assorted joy. Having been backwards and forwards between University, home and the hospital, all I really wanted that evening was to eat my chicken nuggets and my jacket potato and have an early night. Unfortunately this was to be a bit delayed as Pearl was to be taken poorly herself.
So where were we…Pearl and I had left our friend and were trundling down the road towards home. The word “trundle” is key here. Let me define it for you: “move slowly and heavily, typically in a noisy or uneven way” – and this we were most definitely doing. Pearl was clearly feeling under the weather as she had done the day before. Fortunately on that prior occasion she had managed to make it back home before going on strike. This evening I was not so lucky.
Pearl valiantly fought for a good ten minutes, ploughing on as best she could. Bicycles passed, people passed, snails passed and yet still Pearl dragged us forwards centimetres at a time. We made it to our goal (a dropped curb), looked both ways and were promptly undone by some poorly placed cobbles.
Pearl had passed out in the middle of the road.
Now, if you look up the word “awkward” in the dictionary, this would probably be there as a definition. I tried to kick start her (whilst still in the road) but she had very little energy left. People stopped, asked if I was okay and fortunately refused to believe me when I said I was (I clearly wasn’t). One guy even waited a little bit down the road until I realised how futile my “yes, yes, it’ll be okay” line was, and swooped in to the rescue in my hour of need! Here my knight in shining armour took Pearl out of gear and pushed us both out of the road and into safety. What a legend.
Next came the tricky task of figuring out how to get us home. We were only about ten minutes away, but it may as well have been the other side of the world. By this point, Pearl and I had drawn a little crowd around us and it looked like “Operation get Em home” was to be a team affair. Business men and women, young professionals and students stopped to offer support and together Pearl and I were tag-team pushed to the nearest taxi-rank. My newly found “rescue team” refused to let me get off Pearl and walk with my crutches, insisting that I was careful and that we were no bother at all. Lesson #3 of life with Emily: The kindness of strangers can be overwhelming.
Upon arriving at said taxi-rank (also known as a bus stop where taxis pull over) my next superhero arrived. The kindest taxi-driver had pulled over having seen our plight and offered to help out (despite it being time to clock off and despite already being late for dinner…he did inform me that his wife would probably “kill him” for being late again. Oops). Together he and “team scooter” loaded Pearl and I into the back of the taxi and we were at last on our way home to our chicken nuggets and jacket potato. This time travelling faster than dead slow.
Outside the gates to my flat complex, Mr Taxi-Man single-handedly unloaded Pearl and I and anxiously asked me how we were to make it to our flat. My response to him…“slowly”. Despite assuring him that we were now safe, Mr Taxi-Man felt that “this will not do” and proceeded to push us through the pedestrian entrance all the way to the front door of my flat. I don’t think I’ve ever said “thank you” quite so many times. This hero in disguise then refused to take any more money from me (I had insisted he take £5 and that was all he would accept) but stood there looking at me expectantly. He was refusing to leave until he got me and Pearl safely inside where it was “warm and dry” and this he most certainly did. And with that, Mr Taxi-Man gave me a hug goodbye, wished me luck for the future and ran back to his waiting taxi and his probably extremely irate wife.
Through the kindness of complete strangers, Pearl and I were home. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Lesson #4 of life with Emily: People are often desperate to be kind, we just have to swallow our pride and let them sometimes.