StoryTime with Kenzie! –The Day I (Nearly) Died

good morning, cyberspace!

GUYS. I FINISHED THE THING. *distant cheering* I know that I took waaaaay longer than initially intended for this post, and I am SO SO SO SORRY ABOUT THAT!!!!!! But seriously, if you even knew the entirety of the past couple weeks I had. . .

Ahahahahahaha. . .ahahahaha. . .ha. (please no one ever mention the words ‘wires’, ‘cement’, or ‘Uncle Francis’ to me ever again.)

But, I am not here to make excuses about my busy schedule (but i mean that’s kind of a valid excuse for not being able to post sooner, right? maybe? no?), nor am I here to complain about the day that I probably got heatstroke. Oh no. Today I am here for something much better.

Today I am here to tell you all about the day I nearly died.



 

{The following story contains exactly zero exaggerations and embellishments. All circumstances and situations were precisely how described, and should all be taken at extreme face-value. Some content not advisable for children over the age of 63.}

 



StoryTime With Kenzie! — The Day I Nearly Died

It was Fall. The leaves were just beginning to change. There was a subtle crispness in the air, a gentle nip that just barely poked through the warm rays of sun beaming down from the sky above. It was a warm, happy, beautiful October day — one of the most perfect I’ve ever seen.

The perfect day to die.

• • •

Our story begins on the morning of my brother’s most recent birthday. Everyone was scrambling around, flinging cookies and birthday cake everywhere, preparing to leave the house so that we could finally begin his grand birthday adventure extravaganza, and I — being the annoying girly girl that I am — was struggling to pick out some shoes.

Now, as I am sure any girl can attest, choosing the proper footwear for a day-long outing is essential to having a good time. Choose wisely, and your day shall be blessed by the toe gods and exulted amongst the highest of heels. Choose incorrectly, and you’ll be nursing a couple boiled blisters and some pinky toe fungus for the next three weeks.

And so, since I am nothing if not the epitome of fashion, my footwear fandagle presented a very difficult decision: old flip-flops, or grungy tennis shoes?

Such a strenuous decision was obviously just too much for a marshmallow-brained simpleton such as myself, and thus I was forced to enlist the help of my sister. . .

“Hey, Riss?” I asked, wiggling my fungus-free toes in the old flip-flops I had expertly chosen only mere moments before. “Are you wearing flip-flops or tennis shoes?”

“Well, since we’re going to be biking and hiking around a lot today, probably tennis shoes,” my sister answered expertly and somewhat robotically since I can’t remember exactly what she said.

This answer, of course, made perfect sense. And so without further question, I kicked off my bedraggled flip-flops, grabbed some socks, and wore the tennis shoes.

Little did I know that such a simple decision would later save my life.

• • •

Last year, my brother decided that he wanted to go to a park for his birthday. Not just any lame old park with a lonely swingset and a slide that will scorch your butt with static, of course, but one of those huge, mega-awesome parks with hiking trails and horseback riding and lake-boating and a beach that scorches your fragile toes with its sand from the depths of the underworld and — most importantly of all — rental bikes.

Now, I’m sure that renting out a bunch of bikes at a park this size does not sound all that exciting to most people. I’m sure the majority of you are sitting at home right now, scratching your noggins and wondering why in the world we were so excited about rental bikes when there was an actual fake beach and horses and basically a million other awesome things that we could have done at this park.

However. You are not fully grasping the awesomeness of these rental bikes, my friends. For there, lined up amongst the rusty handlebars and rocky seats raised up so high into the sky that you could probably see them straight from the voids of outer space was one of the most glorious beasts I have ever laid my smol allergy-swollen eyes upon.

. . .a tandem bike. A bright, bumblebee yellow tandem bike.

art tandem bike GIF by Scorpion Dagger

Two seats. Two sets of pedals. Two handlebars. Two times the fun.

It was beautiful. It was glorious. It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. And yet, when we arrived to the bike rental spot and spotted this wonderful beast, we couldn’t help but notice something about it that seemed just a little bit odd.

For crouched right there beside our bumblebee yellow tandem bike was. . .

. . .a man. . .? A man with a walkie-talkie poking out of his back pocket.

(because that’s not random at all)

It’s safe to assume at this point that we were all slightly confused. We’d already called ahead to make sure that the tandem bike would be ours for the renting when we arrived, and the people at the park had promised us that the tandem was hardly ever rented out. But here was this random man — we’ll call him Walkie-Talkie Fred — looking at our tandem bike.

However, despite this odd little sighting, we quickly dismissed our worries, for, by the way Walkie-Talkie Fred was looking at the mechanisms of the tandem, he seemed much more like someone who actually worked at the park, rather than someone who was planning on taking a day-trip by himself on a bicycle built for two. So, despite our confusion, we just kind of shrugged off the randomness and toddled right on into the ritzy little hotel building that served as the bike-rental place.

Once we got into the hotel, the lady at the front desk informed us all about how the bike rentals worked. Basically, all we had to do was go outside, find the bikes we wanted, and write the bike’s number (which was located on the handlebar neck) down on a piece of paper, which we would then give back to the lady at the desk. She would in turn find the keys that matched the bikes and hand them over to us, which we could then use to unlock the bikes from the rack and proceed to go on our merry little ways.

In theory, it sounded like a simple process. Easy peasy, right?

Right.

So back on out we go with our little slip of paper, fully prepared to pick out our transportation for the day like a farmer choosing a hog at the county fair. My brother and I had an easy choice. Since we are actually Tweedledum and Tweedledee in disguise, we were first up in line to ride the tandem. So we grabbed hold of the tandem’s number, jotted it down, and then waited like the good little patient beans that we are as the rest of the family picked out their single bikes from the rest of the lineup, which, if I’m being 100% honest here (and when am I ever not, amiright?) was not looking so hot.

Seriously, some of those bikes had. . .issues. They looked beaten up and rusted out and kiiiiiiind of like they were going to collapse beneath you the minute you sat on them and started pedaling, maybe.

And that’s not even to mention the family of angry bees that had decided to claim some of the handlebars as their own, of course.

But anyway. The rest of the family quickly picked out the only three bikes available that actually looked somewhat like they wouldn’t keel over dead after three pedal rotations, and we were back on our way into the hotel to give our slip of paper to the lady at the counter. We got inside, handed over our slip, and. . .

. . .

. . .we waited.

. . .

. . .and waited.

. . .

. . .and waited.

Meanwhile, Hotel Lady was scouring the key cupboard behind the desk in a rather unhurried search for all of the bike keys, and yet. . .one of ’em ain’t showin’ up.

It was gone. Vanished into thin air. Poof.

neil degrasse tyson poof GIF by New York Comic Con

And I shall give you three guesses as to which bike key was missing, folks. Three guesses. I’m predicting you will only need one.

That’s right, my friends. It was the tandem. The tandem bike’s key had disappeared.

Of course.

We loitered around in that hotel lobby for quite a solid chunk of time, growing multiple grey hairs and watching our bones brittle with age whilst the people behind the counter tried fruitlessly to track down the missing key, but to no avail. That key was gone. AWOL. It had flown the coop and wasn’t coming back.

But then, after many deliberations and mutual ponderings — “Could we just hack the lock off the bike with a wrench, maybe??” — someone finally — FINALLY — remembered something crucial to the case of the missing key.

Or rather. . .someone.

Fred. Walkie-Talkie Fred. Walkie-Talkie Fred had been the last person seen with the tandem. He had to know something about it, right? Perhaps he was repairing it. Perhaps it had needed oiling.

Perhaps he really was going off on that lonely day-trip, after all.

Whatever the reason for his random sighting beside the tandem, once the people behind the desk found out about Walkie-Talkie Fred, they began paging him to ask what was going on with the bike. This, of course, took another fifty years, and produced basically the exact same result as trying to find the missing key.

After many unanswered calls and even more group ponderings — “I really think we could just hack the thing off, guys. . .” “Maybe Fred took the key and ran. . .?” (this was totally something that was said. totally.) — THEY FINALLY GOT A HOLD OF FRED!!!! HUZZAH! It was a joyous occasion.

For about 2 seconds.

As it turned out, Fred did know where the key was! It was in custody. Because wouldn’t you know it — the bike needed repaired.

I can’t remember exactly what was wrong with that poor bicycle (I’m not sure they ever even told us???), but the tandem was officially out of order.

There would be no bicycling built for two that day.

Obviously, we were all a tad bit bummed by this unfortunate twist of events, but, in the fashion of true Happy Birthday-ers, we quickly got over our disappointment and decided that instead of renting out the tandem and three singles, we’d just rent out five single bikes and continue on with our original plan of a joyous bike ride.

And so, raising our chins high against whatever evil forces were bent on destroying my brother’s dream of tandem biking, my brother and I took yet another slip of paper and — joined by our sister — marched back on out to take yet another gander at the rental bikes that were left.

Which at this point was looking about as lively as a tumbleweed blowing through a dry desert wasteland and getting caught on the crispy elbow of a dried out corpse, but you know. Whatever. Everything was going to be fine.

parks and rec queue GIF

So we get out to the bike racks, and right off the bat, my brother selects a bike that looks identical to the one our dad picked out. It was bright blue, nice and shiny, and somehow did not look like it was going to crumble into a pile of rust the minute he tried to sit on it.

I, on the other hand, was not so fortunate.

My sister and mom had already picked out the only two girl bikes (once again identical. ahahahaha…haha…ha) that looked halfway decent, which left me with a selection of the following:

  • a rusted out guy bike
  • a rusted out girl bike
  • wasp mobile
  • spidey mobile
  • tiny bikes designed for toddler’s and clown people
  • more rust
  • more wasps
  • more spiders
  • possibly death

I won’t lie; I was getting a little bit nervous. Every time I took a closer look at the bikes still available I was just kind of like —

the office dislike GIF

LOLOLOLOL — no. There was nothing. I was just going to have to walk, apparently, because there was no way I was getting on any one of these death mobiles. I choose life, thanks.

BUT THEN. . .!

. . .then I saw it. The number. The glorious, beautiful number resting right there beneath the rusted out handlebars of a bike that was potentially covered in bees.

19.

happy michael scott GIF

One of the bikes — though still slightly speckled in rust and looking like it might be on it’s last leg (wheel?) — was labeled with a big fat 19.

And that, my friends, is when I knew. I knew that this was the bike I was destined to have.

Without even second-guessing it, I tell my sister to write Rusty Number 19 down on that slip of paper, and before you could even think to say “Bad Idea”, we were back on our way into the ritzy hotel lobby to hand that precious slip of destiny back to the lady at the counter.

The process went much smoother this time. The lady found our keys in a snap, handed them over, and after we all signed a waiver saying that if we died a horrible and painful death while riding these bikes, it was absolutely positively not the park’s fault, since we all chose not to wear helmets — HAHAHAHAHAHAHA #regrets — we were finally on our way out into the brisk October sunshine to have some birthday fun!

regret GIF

• • •

For a couple hours, we biked in peace, enjoying the enchanting atmosphere of a world slowly changing to Autumn. The leaves were turning colors, the sky was a never-ending shade of blue. It was one of the most beautiful days imaginable.

. . . and this, my friends, is where our story begins to take a rather unfortunate turn . . .

As anyone who is even slightly acquainted with me can tell you, I am literally five years old. I’m pretty sure my brain stopped developing as a toddler, actually. Literally nothing I do is what anyone would consider “age appropriate”. I am a child in a teenager’s body, and after 18 years of keeping myself amused by beeping self-checkout scanners and rubber ducks, I have learned to just sort of roll with it.

Which might possibly explain why the minute I saw the empty playground, I threw my bike down with a ferocious shove and sprinted as fast as I could towards it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I threw Rusty Number 19 down onto the ground and ran for my life towards this deserted little playground. I think part of me expected at least one of my family members to follow. I thought at least one would have the same reaction as I did.

I thought at least one would want to come and bounce around on the springy toy-things with me like the five-year-old children that we all are.

. . .

They didn’t.

No sooner had I jumped onto this bouncy little toy thing connected to the ground did finally I turn around and notice that I was completely alone in the center of this weird little playground. No one had followed. No one was going to follow. They were all just sitting on their bikes at the edge of the playground, watching me make a complete fool out of myself.

As usual.

This realization, while it probably should have made me hang my head in “adultish” shame, only made me realize with much more joy and certainty how much fun that bouncy little thing beneath me was. But, unfortunately, the day was not my own to waste, and so after a few more minutes seconds of doing my signature penguin dance of happiness upon the funny little bouncy thing, I skipped back over to my family and pried Good Ol’ Rusty back up off the ground from whence I had rather unceremoniously hurled it.

After brushing off poor Rusty’s handlebars and remounting, I pedaled back out onto the road and began to chase after my mom, brother, and sister as they started to race up this giGANTIC hill that sloped directly up from the base of the playground. But before I was able to start properly up the hill, I noticed that my dad had suddenly stopped and was messing with something just past his handlebars, which turned out — I soon discovered — to be a spider.

A nasty, tiny little spider that had miraculously spawned from some unknown netherworld on his bike.

So, being the smol bean who hates getting left behind, I waited for him smush it, all the while listening to the distant sounds of laughter climbing up the exuberantly large hill, which was occasionally tainted with the melodic hum of my brother, who happened to be singing the Wicked Witch of The West theme.

wizard of oz GIF

And this, folks. . . This grasped my attention.

Because how hilarious would it be if I zoomed up that hill after the others, gaining so much momentum in the process that I completely surpassed them at wicked speeds whilst cackling and screaming Na na na na NAAAAAAA NAAAAAA! Na na na na NAAAAAAAAA NAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! in their faces? This was, in fact, something I had done to my siblings in the past — a device I had used quite frequently in order to make them laugh when we were out bike riding.

So obviously it made perfect sense to do it yet again, only this time in the middle of a public park.

Such hilarity! Such fun!

I was a genius.

And so, the minute my dad managed to snap his palms down on the tiny little bugger swinging from his handlebars, I swerved Good Ol’ Rusty back ’round towards the hill and, throwing all sense of caution to the seven winds, began speed-pedaling as fast as I could up the hill before me.

My feet were flying. My wheels were a-spinning. I was literally soaring up this mountain of a hill, every single thought blazing within me bent on overtaking my family and screaming out the Wicked Witch of the West’s theme song.

And that was when I heard it.

Ker-ChUNK!

It was loud. It was penetrating. It was not enough to distract me from my current mission.

In the very, very, very far back panel of my mind, where my last brain cell committed to studying common sense lives, I could feel the words “bike chain” bouncing around like a loose rubber ball, but before I could properly latch onto that very crucial (and possibly life-saving) thought, it had flown straight out my ears and landed way off in the landfill of rejected and ignored thoughts I have compiled over the course of my smol life.

So up, Up, UP! I continued, still pedaling like a maniac, and still completely ignoring the fact that something very loud and very dangerous-sounding had just crunched underneath me and Good Ol’ Rusty Number 19.

Finally, when I had just crested the top of the hill, I decided to try and slow down just a smidge before I reached my family, since — you know — I had picked up a ton of speed on that massive hill-mountain.

awesome snl GIF

But then, as I reversed the rotation of my furiously pedaling feet (#backbrakesftw), I quickly realized that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

MY BRAKES WERE NO LONGER WORKING.

jim halpert television GIF

Like at all.

I tried with absolutely no luck for a couple seconds to get my brakes to start working again, but NOPE!! Too late! I was stuck on a speeding rusty bicycle, quickly zooming right past my family members as initially planned.

Although now there was no hilarious Na na na na NAAAA NAAAAAAA! coming out of my lips. Instead, it was now more like a frightened scream of — “GUYS I HAVE NO BRAKES! GUYS! GUYS I CAN’T SLOW DOWN! GUYS HELP!!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!! GUYS. . .!!!!!

Now, you might think that this is the worst part of the story, right? Smol Kenzie lost all braking ability on a rented bicycle, she just crested the top of a giant hill with a nice big plateau on it. . . That’s not so bad, right? Easy fix. Just sort of ride it out. Eventually you’ll come to a stop, right? Right?

WRONG.

Because the plateau at the top of the hill was quickly running out beneath my spinning tires, and in my panicked and now-slightly-delusional mind, I quickly realized that I could only take one of two routes.

To my right was a giant circular flowerbed type thing that oddly resembled a roundabout. It was big, it was round, and it would have provided a very nice, very wide circle for me to wear my racing bike out on until my extraordinary amount of speed decided to dwindle.

However, in order for me to have gotten to this roundabout, I would have had to try and swerve at exuberant speeds around three of my now-slightly confused family members, praying to the gnomes of biking that I wouldn’t knock them all over like bowling pins in the process. And not only that, but I also would have had to steer Good Ol’ Rusty AWAY from an oncoming car that just randomly decided to show up to my funeral, and also make sure that I didn’t tip the dangflabbin’ bike over in the process of looping endlessly around and around and around the giant roundabout.

As you can probably already guess. . .I was not too thrilled with this idea.

the office dislike GIF

So, with the mindset that literally anything would have been better than slamming face-first into a roundabout flowerbed, I decided to take option two, which was to just get as far away from the traffic and other bikes as I possibly could and go straight down the first open trail I could find.

However, little did I know at the time that ‘straight down’ would be a very literal term. Because the first open trail I whizzed down was, in fact, yet another hill.

Only this time it was going down.

steve carell no GIF

• • •

Have you ever heard the phrase that goes a little something like, “Time slowed to a crawl. . .“? Because being on that hill, zooming straight down the pavement towards who even knows what, that actually, literally — for the first and possibly the last time — happened to me. All time just. . .slowed. It didn’t stop. It didn’t stand still. It just faded to a slow, painfully clear crawl. Every single thought in my brain was on hyper-alert. Thousands of thoughts swirled through my head in mere seconds, making the following events seem to take much longer than they actually did.

The first thing I noticed as I propelled down that hill was the fact that I was on pavement.

Pavement, for all those wondering, is not a very abrasive material. If you’re on a bike zooming at presumably 90 miles-per-hour down the steepest hill you have ever seen in your entire life, you probably don’t want to be caught riding on the pavement. It’s just not a very good idea, folks.

SO. Fortunately enough for me, I was able to spot an extraordinarily narrow strip of grass running down the mountain hill just beside me. It was thin and covered in leaves and I would have to try and maneuver Good Ol’ Rusty right off the edge of the pavement without killing myself, but it was grass.

Grass is abrasive. Grass is nice. When you need to slow something down, what do you do?? YOU THROW IT IN THE GRASS.

That strip of grass was my lifeline. It was my anchor.

I was saved.

Without even thinking, I hastily steered Rusty over into the grass, reveling in my smurtness and celebrating my ingenuity.

Everything was going to be perfectly fine now. I’d just ride the grass down for a little bit, and eventually my speed would thin down to the point where I could just sort of hop off. It was the perfect plan.

. . .

Only it wasn’t.

After much jostling and bumping and clutching onto Rusty’s handlebars for dear life, it soon became clear to me that I was not slowing down in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that I was gaining speed.

In the grass.

As I plummeted straight into the bony clutches of the Grimm Reaper himself.

It was quite obvious at that point that I needed to find another plan, because Plan A was not working in my favor.

benedict cumberbatch sherlock GIF by BBC

So, as my panic and fear continued to plaster my face in an indestructible mask of wide-eyed, gaping-mouthed terror, I was forced to look for a Plan B.

Directly to my left, running parallel to the strip of grass I was currently catapulting down like a rogue bludger, was a forest. Or rather, a “sort of” forest. It wasn’t too dense or anything, just generously splattered with unbelievably tall weeds and trees that looked as though they were just beginning to enter the awkward adolescent stage of existence. Still, ramming face-first into any of those trunks probably would have been enough to cause substantial brain damage.

Or, you know. Some death.

Because I wasn’t wearing a helmet. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. . .HAHAHAHAHA. . .HA.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t debate just turning off into that forest to see what would happen, because I did. I thought that maybe, if I could weave myself just right through the trees, that JUST MAYBE the miraculous weeds might slow Good Ol’ Rusty down enough that I could get off the blasted bike and live to tell the tale.

But, for the first time in my life, common sense finally took over, and I decided that there had to be another way. There just had to be.

There had to be something. Anything.

PLEASE.

And that is when it hit me.

HANDLEBAR BRAKES.

All bikes have handlebar brakes.

Salvation was certainly close at hand this time. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier. What an idiot I was! Of course I should have used the handlebar brakes! Pssh. Silly Kenzie, always taking everything to the extreme. All of this could have been completely avoided.

As soon as this realization struck me, I carefully pried my clenched fingers off the handlebars and. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .there was nothing.

Absolutely nothing. Good Ol’ Rusty Number 19 DID. NOT. hAvE. HaNDleBAR. BraKES.

confused michael scott GIF

My fingers waggled pathetically in midair, squishing into the soft handlebars that had absolutely nothing attached to them. Once again, I was right back to square one — no brakes, and absolutely no hope of ever slowing down.

I debated jumping off the bike.

I debated just crashing into a tree.

I debated whether or not to just scream wildly and flap my arms akimbo as I let Wendigo sweep me up into the seven winds.

I had about a million and one thoughts swarming through my head, and every single one of the scenarios my mind decided to blast across my eyelids ended in my family finding my rotting carcass plastered to a tree, a helicopter coming in to take me away, and that stupid waiver I had signed that said I deliberately chose not to wear a helmet.

And all the while — with each of these delightful images of my untimely death and mourning family whizzing happily through my mind — I WAS STILL.

PICKING.

UP.

SPEED.

I whipped past a car driving by on the pavement. It was a red car.

Do not ask me how I remember this, for I do not know.

But a red car it was, and all I could think about as they whipped past was whether or not the passengers had noticed the look of utter and sheer terror swirling in my bulging eyes, or if they had seen the white clench of my knuckles around the handlebars that had absolutely no brakes on them whatsoever.

Then, as I continued to jostle down this hill that I was most certain would be the death of me, I noticed yet another obstacle in the crash course that my life had so quickly become:

My grass strip — my beautiful, glorious strip of grass that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever other than to make my ride down this treacherous mountain path that much more bumpy — was ending.

Even from where I sat upon Rusty’s bike seat, I could still make out the cutoff point. The majestically sloping mountain I was on was forking off into a T, and the stem of that T was, quite predictably, on my side of the road.

Which meant that any number of cars could be pelting straight towards my line of trajectory at that precise moment.

Which meant that I could easily get squashed like a bug if I did not find a way to get off the runaway bike as fast as humanly possible.

john watson sherlock GIF

It was at this precise moment that I knew I had to do something.

benedict cumberbatch sherlock GIF

Ramming face-first into the trees, though a sure-fire way to slow down immediately, still did not seem like the safest route to take. Especially if I didn’t want to. . .you know. . .mar my brother’s birthday memories with death.

So. The forest to my left was out. The handlebar brakes were out (quite literally, LOL. *intense dramatic sobbing*). The grass was doing literally nothing to slow me down, and it was very quickly preparing to dump me right back onto not only the pavement, but also a road from which I could easily and unexpectedly get squashed by a car.

All of this, of course, left me with only a single option remaining: my feet.

say that again benedict cumberbatch GIF by BBC

To be honest, the thought of using my feet as makeshift brakes had already occurred to me, but at the extremely impressive speeds I was traveling, I feared that plunging my delicate toesies into the earth would either A) send me toppling headfirst over the handlebars and into the awaiting arms of death, or B) rip my leg off.

However, seeing that I no longer had any other options — and forcing myself to believe that I was going just a teensie tiny bit slower than before — I decided to — very, veeeerrrryyy carefully — press my right tennis-shoed foot into the grass.

bbc one sherlock GIF by BBC

At first — after realizing with many hallelujah’s that I was not, in fact, going to plummet face-first off Ol’ Rusty — I was hopeful that this was it. Surely this was what was going to slow me down. Surely having one foot planted into the grass was enough to make this stupid bike finally come to a halt. Surely I wasn’t going to continue racing down this dangflabbity hill at intense, completely impossible speeds, with the crunchy autumn leaves searing beneath my now-burning toes as imaginary flames from the trail I was most certainly blazing into the ground flared up into existence behind me.

. . .right?

danny devito no GIF

Oh, you poor, smol, adorable bean. How naïve you are in your safe little home, never having experienced the horrors of flying down a hill on a rusty bicycle.

OF COURSE I DID NOT SLOW DOWN.

It was then — with my toes burning in the tip of my sneaker, with the wind still whipping my face in ghoulish laughter, with the end of my precious strip of grass drawing ever nearer — that I knew.

frustrated the office GIF

There was no slowing down Good Ol’ Rusty Number 19. 

I was officially doomed. I was all alone, stranded on a bicycle that had not a single working brake on it whilst my poor foot melted inside my sneaker due to unorthodox amounts of friction. All hopes of ever surviving this nightmarish bike ride had vanished, torched by the streams of fire erupting from my shoe.

In other words. . .I was dead.

But then — just as I whipped out a piece of paper from my back pocket to begin sketching out my last will and testament — something truly miraculous happened.

I. . .began. . .to slow. . .down.

Finally.

Finally.

FiNaLlY.

I couldn’t believe it. I honestly, truthfully could not believe it. JUST as I hit the end of my grass strip — with the line of the pavement literally LESS THAN A YARD AWAY FROM ME — I slowed down just enough that I was able to plant both feet into the grass and brake to a complete halt.

A complete, beautiful, glorious halt.

Good Ol’ Rusty had finally stopped. I was alive. I hadn’t scarred my brother’s birthday with my untimely death.

And do you know what I did next?

Nothing. I just sat there, my numb fingers refusing to unclench from Good Ol’ Rusty’s brake-less bars, my entire body crumpling forward until my forehead rested against the rusty handle. And I just sat there, reveling in the fact that I was okay. Rejoicing in how beautiful and sweet and how oh so short life truly is.

Possibly shedding a tear or two.

Or maybe like ten.

Before I even had time to process everything that had happened, my dad had caught up with me and was asking if I was okay, to which I think I responded with some white-knuckles and a few awkward pterodactyl screechings through clenched teeth.

michael scott ok GIF

I honestly don’t even know how he’d caught up so fast. I thought for sure that I’d left him in the dust on that massive hill back at the playground, but apparently he came racing after me the minute he’d heard my brakes went out. The others arrived very shortly after (having taken a much safer ride down the hill than I had), and, after finally prying my trembling self off the bicycle, I basically collapsed into my mom and cried.

And also kind of sort of laughed.

But mostly cried.

Because I honestly thought I was going to die.

BUT ANYWAY. Now that I was finally off the bicycle, my dad was able to flip Good Ol’ Rusty over and discover that — yep! That darn bike chain had come undone.

Of course it had.

This news, of course, came as exactly 0% shock to me. My one normal brain cell had known it was the bike chain the minute I had heard the ker-CHUNK!, but my love of pulling pranks and being an idiot had blinded me to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to slow down once I had reached the top of the hill. The only thing I was shocked about was the fact that I was still standing. That I hadn’t hit a tree. That my foot was still attached, if not slightly sore. That I wasn’t splatted like a pancake to the side of a windshield.

And even more than that. . .I was grateful. Grateful that my sister had told me she was wearing tennis shoes. Grateful that I have literally no backbone and listened to her. Grateful that it hadn’t been my bare toes burning to a crisp underneath all that friction, because if it had been, I don’t think I would have been able to slow down.

I was grateful that I was still alive.

Mere words cannot even describe how terrified I was that day. I was frightened to the point of shaking, and that has never, ever happened to me before. I get nervous, yes. I get scared and panicky and I have terrible stage fright that makes me look about as pale as a ghost, but even with all of that, I never shake. Yet that day, when I finally let go of that bike, I was trembling.

Truth be told, I have never felt so utterly alone and helpless in my entire life. It was the absolute worst feeling I have ever felt, and it would be nothing short of a blessing to never have to feel that again.

However, that being said, my little trip down the gorgeous descent of certain and rusty death made for quite a story to tell to family and friends, and though I can now look back with fondness and some layer of mockery upon this little adventure (as I soon discovered later that night as I simultaneously laughed and cried into my brother’s birthday cake), the fact remains that we can all learn some very valuable lessons from this roller coaster of a tale. For instance. . .

Always wear tennis shoes when biking.

Always wear the appropriate equipment — helmet, shoulder pads, knee pads, Michelin Man costume. . .

Never sign waivers. Ever.

Handlebrakes are nice.

Don’t try to race up a hill whilst screaming Na na na na NAAAAAAA NAAAAAAAA! at your family.

And most importantly. . .

If you’re pedaling at rapid speeds up a hill and happen to hear a thundering kerCHUNK! beneath you, please, for all that is good and wonderful. . .

. . .please just get off the bike.

20171005_140357.jpg
From left to right — Me, my sister (in the back, who also happens to NOT BE WEARING TENNIS SHOES, YOU LYING BUTT [lol, you inadvertently saved my life, i love you]), and my dad, who is currently fixing Good Ol’ Rusty’s faulty chain. I am the chubby one dangling the bike in midair with a single hand. (You’d be surprised how a near-death experience can really boost your strength, folks) Also Good Ol’ Rusty is looking pretty sparkly from this angle, but I swear that bike had rust on it. Curse you, Rusty.


TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!

And that, my friends, is the story of how I nearly died. I know it took way longer than I had initially intended to write it, but hopefully the thrilling story and mass amount of GIF’s was well worth the wait, maybe?

Sort of?

I’M SO SORRY, GUYS, PLEASE DON’T HURT ME.

But anyway, seeing as though this post is officially my longest one yet, ranking in at over 6,000 words, I think we can all safely agree that I should probably cut this section of the smudge short. Aha.

SO! Let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! shall we? Have you ever had any near-death experiences? (or experiences that felt like they were near-death?) Have you ever ridden a tandem bike? How about a bicycle with no handle-brakes? Do you think I should ride Rusty Number 19 if we ever go back to that park? And most importantly. . .

What do you think happened to Walkie-Talkie Fred?

Let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below!

And as always, until next time. . .

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

39 thoughts on “StoryTime with Kenzie! –The Day I (Nearly) Died

    • And I was NOT disappointed!!! (Still confused about why “Uncle Francis” is taboo…) Excellent. Glorious. So well written. Kenzie, stop what you’re doing and put together an autobiography, stat. I mean it. I would buy it.

      Handlebar breaks were actually a novelty to me growing up. When I first learned to ride a bike, I missed the lesson on stopping, so I would always fling myself off the seat in order to end the ride. Until my very confused father taught me better.

      I’ve heard so many horror stories about flip flops and bikes. Never.

      Walkie-Talkie Fred took that tandem bike and ran away to meet his love in…. *squints at map* Wisconsin.

      Liked by 3 people

      • MWAHAHAHA!! (Okay, so long story short, we believe our Uncle Francis was the one who provided the cement people with the cattle wire that we found lying beneath it, which in turn made jackhammering the cement and SNIPPING ALL THE CHUNKS OF CONCRETE APART SO IMPOSSIBLY HARD AND UGH. it was just a very nasty two days. So curse you, Uncle Francis.) Oh my goodness!!! Phoebe, I cannot even put into words how much that means to me. THANK YOU. Although autobiographies aren’t exactly my cup of tea??? I mean. . .how does one even begin with something like that? I feel like I need to do some more unintentionally dangerous things before writing it. XD

        OH MY GOODNESS. I know I shouldn’t have laughed at that. . .but I kind of did. That is the most adorable and innocent thing ever. XD XD XD

        Wait…there are actually HORROR stories???? Seriously???? I’m even more thankful I wore tennis shoes now. XD

        PERFECT. That is totally where he went. And I mean at least there were two of them, and he wasn’t going to be riding it all by himself. That makes things much less awkward. Although Wisconsin is kind of a long ways to bike??? But hey. Who am I to judge? XD

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        • Oh, ok! Uncle Francis makes more sense, now, haha.

          I don’t know how people write them. I assume it’s a bit like a blog, but more orderly???

          I was an awkward child. I /did/ remember reading through these comments about a similar experience when a wheeled vehicle and a hill. I lost control of my scooter coming down the incline of a steep bridge, crash-landed in the grass, and chipped my front teeth. And I was old enough that they were my adult teeth. Hurt like anything. I also managed to skin the bridge of my nose right between my eyes and I’m still not sure how.

          There are horror stories. Bloody, gory, awful stories. I always wear shoes with covered toes.

          People will do silly things for love. I’m sure Wisconsin seemed near enough to Fred.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It was pretty much the only highlight of that day. Screaming Curse You, Uncle Francis has a peculiar knack for giving your shriveled bones and spirit more strength. XD

            Ooh, that makes sense… I guess I could try it? Assuming I have more daring adventures someday. XD (who am i kidding. every day is an adventure when you’re Kenzie. XD)

            OH MY GOODNESS. Phoebe that sounds AWFUL!!!! Are you okay??? Do you need help?? DO YOU NEED A HUG??? And how on earth did you skin right between your eyes??? That is like…some serious magic right there. XD You poor thing… :(( But hey!!!! We’re kind of #twinning here, because even though I’ve technically never chipped my front teeth, my RIGHT adult front tooth grew in split, so half of it came down normally (although it looked sort of like a very chipped up fang) and the SECOND half of it came out through a different part of my gums, and so the dentist had to pull out the second part of it and give me a bonding on the first part so that it looked semi normal, and then a few months later I broke the entire bonding out by eating a meatball. (my tooth came down wrong on the fork. it was painful. i was back to having a fang.) So I’ve kind of sort of chipped a front tooth, maybe? It was a bonding, but still. XD

            EUGH. THAT SOUNDS TERRIBLE AND NOW I’M SCARED. *pukes*

            That’s true. At least he wasn’t heading for Florida.

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  1. That was so scary to read.
    Yes, it was funny, but AAAAAAAAAA! The near-death feelings felt waaaaaaaay to real!

    I’ve never ridden a bike. After reading this, I shall probably continue to avoid it at all costs.

    I don’t think I’ve had any near-death experiences as intense as this (long), mostly times I choked for a few seconds, or that time a guy on a bicycle came zooming around the corner and nearly ran me over.

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    • MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That is precisely what I was going for. Obviously. *shifts eyes nervously* I’M JUST VERY THANKFUL I SURVIVED. XD

      Aw no!! Riding bikes are super fun!! You know…as long as you don’t do what I did and ignore giant kerchunks that obviously mean your chain just came off. Aha…

      Oh dear!!!! You’ve nearly choked???? That is AWFUL!!! Are you okay??? DO YOU NEED A HEIMLICH???
      Wait a minute, you’ve had a near-death experience with a bicycle, too??? DID THE GUY HAVE BRAKES?? WAS IT ACTUALLY ME???? Did this happen sometime in October last year at a park??? XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • I AM ALSO THANKFUL YOU SURVIVED! xD

        I will certainly pay attention to the mechanical functioning of my vehicles should I be driving them at high speeds on a hill. xD

        Theses events all happened a few years ago. The guy did stop, so I guess he had brakes, but it was kind of a blindspot area, I think. Better to go slow around there.

        Like

  2. This sounds intense… gravity is indeed a fearful enemy. I think I would have just gone with certain death and dived off the bike to end my misery? (But I’m confused as to how you kept cycling up the hill if the chain was broken?? wouldn’t that mean the pedals didn’t work? I shall have to assume it was by sheer force of will and the Wicked Witch theme song.)

    And I can completely understand how long it took to prepare this post – gif perfection doesn’t come easy. Still, while I’m not familiar with the other shows, I truly appreciated your use of the Sherlock gifs. *applauds britishly*

    (I also enjoyed the reference to your family flinging cookies and birthday cake. It’s always nice to know where people get their lovable and not at all strange habits from!)

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    • It WAS intense, Jem. It was very intense, indeed. XD Unfortunately I have an unrelenting fear of death, so diving off the bike was a huge no no for me. I just. . .splatting into the concrete sounded awful. But then again, how was what I did NOT awful??? XD (OKAY BUT I REALLY DON’T KNOW???? Somehow, SOME WAY, I managed to continue up the hill at breakneck speeds WITHOUT my chain being intact. I actually thought about this while writing this post, and I was just kind of like. . .how though? HOW DID I NOT LOSE SPEED? ??????????? It was totally the Wicked Witch theme song. Most definitely.)

      I know, right? Those GIFs. They truly are perfection. XD AND ASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKL SHERLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCK!!!! I love Sherlock. It’s my absolute favorite. *bows britishly*

      (LOL!!! I mean, that MIIIIIIIGHT have been just a tiny little exaggeration, but IT TOTALLY HAPPENED LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. BELIEVE ME. XD XD XD)

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  3. Oh no Kenzie! Thank goodness you wore tennis shoes, and thank goodness you decided NOT to swerve off into the forest because I think the story could have been a lot scarier if you did O_O I hope you at least had fun at the park afterwards and you weren’t completely terrified into riding at 0.00001 miles per hour on your bike. :)

    I kind of had a similar story to this but with a skateboard. At my house, we had a driveway that lead out to the neighborhood road (without too many cars driving on it, thankfully). The road was flat for a while, but once you got passed that, there was a very steep hill that was great for gaining speed. So being the amateur skate boarder that I was, I decided to go down that hill, even though I could barely ride it on our driveway. So against the rules, I went alone and headed straight towards the hill. Bad idea. It was fun at first, but it quickly grew dangerous. By the time I had gone halfway down the hill, I had two decisions: stay on the skateboard and try to stay on or jump off and try to aim for the grass in a neighbor’s yard. If I stayed on, I was likely to fall anyways because the board would be going to fast for me to balance on it. If I jumped, I would be able to stop the skateboard ride and hopefully save myself. It was a lose-lose situation Kenzie :) In the end. I jumped off the skateboard and sort of hit the pavement, sort of hit the grass. I tore a hole on the knee of my pants and had to walk all the way back up the hill to my house. I was shaking after that too, but somehow I wasn’t utterly terrified? Too much adrenaline I think. :) Anyways, I understand how scary the combination of wheels and a hill can be.

    At least we’re both okay now :) Loved story time Kenzie! I hope we get more of these posts in the future! (I still think the skeleton scandal is my favorite though :) ).

    Liked by 2 people

    • OH MY WORD, I KNOW, RIGHT??? I am so beyond thankful I put those tennis shoes on. It was the best decision I made all day. XD We definitely did have fun at the park afterwards! Buuuuut…we kinda gave the bikes back to the place, because it was just not a very good biking day for us. So. XD

      HOLY GUACAMOLE, THAT SOUNDS AWFUL???? Like, it was terrifying being on a BIKE and going down a super steep hill, but I have NEVER been good on skateboards, so going down a giant hill on one would honestly have killed me. Literally. I would be dead. XD I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE ALIVE. But I’m so sorry you hit part of the pavement? That must have seriously hurt… :(( What is up with us and our giant hills and no brakes??? XD We must really love defying death. Just look at the two of us. We have looked death in the eyes and have laughed in his face. XD XD XD

      OH MY GOODNESS, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! <333 I definitely want to do more of these in the future! I can't really think of any stories right off the bat that I would like to immortalize, but once I do, there shall DEFINITELY be another storytime! XD (DUDE. SAME. XD XD XD)

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  4. This–this is perfection XD XD You had me sitting on my seat like a regular personage does, then on the edge of my seat like a not-so-regular person, and finally standing on my seat in excitement/horror like a maniac! I felt so sorry for you, but at the same time you made me laugh (in a very scared way) even at the most blood-curdling part! I agree with Phoebe, you definitely should make an autobiography! It might become a national best-seller!

    Literally, I can’t think of a single time that I thought I was in danger of losing my life…I know there WAS one time, but I just can’t remember it! XD Like, except the few instances where I’m climbing up a tree and slip and almost fall, but those aren’t really near brushes with death.
    There was a little time when I was around 5, I guess. I had a little tricycle/scooter, it had three wheels and was supposed to be used like a normal tricycle, but I (being that weird little person and can’t seem to use things as they were meant to be used) used it as a scooter. I would put one foot on the seat and with the other foot push it as fast as I could (I was wild with that thing XD I would tear around our driveway pushing it at the top of my speed). And I went down our driveway on it (which goes down a big hill), and wound up going off the driveway and crashing into the woods. And of course I didn’t have a helmet. But I was just scared for a little bit, and then went back up to the top of the driveway and did it again XD XD Lol

    OH AND YOU HAD GIFS!!! THEY WERE AMAZING! How people can find the perfect GIFS, I’ll never know. It must take ages!

    Like

    • I used to do that with a little trike, too! I’d totally forgot about it until you mentioned it. Ours was tiny and metal and had a step between the back wheels in addition to the seat. Never did crash it into the woods like you, though, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, bunny!!!! XD <3333 Thank you so much!!! I cannot even tell you how much your comment made me smile!!! <3 YOU GUYS ARE FAR TOO NICE TO ME. NO. *hides beneath a paper bag*

      UGH, I LOVE CLIMBING TREES!!! Unfortunately there aren't many good ones to climb around my house… :(( So I haven't had any near-death experiences with THOSE, but I'm pretty sure I would have had we had a good climbing tree. XD (that sentence was so weird. #writer)
      OH MY GOODNESS. XD XD XD Is it bad that I kind of laughed at this? Maybe just a little bit??? Cause my first thought after getting off that stupid bike was NOT to go back up the hill and do it again, but you just…you're fearless, sir. That is what you are. XD *awards you with badge* I AM STILL LAUGHING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

      It's actually not that hard!!! I use a site called GIPHY, and they've got TONS of GIF's that you can just sort of copy and paste or embed into your post!!! I 10/10 recommend checking it out if you're looking for GIF's!!

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  5. :DDDDDD Okay. I’m grinning my face off. XD This girl. She’s a talented writer. I’m so glad she’s not dead. Okay, but I totally love your 5-year-old-brain. It’s beautiful. Bouncing in a playground? Biking up a hill and singing the Wicked Witch of the West theme at your siblings? Honestly, all great ideas. (I mean, except for that whole almost dying part, you know).

    BUT I HAVE QUESTIONS.

    LIKE HOW DO YOU BIKE AT TOP SPEED UP A HILL????? My tiny calves are burning and screaming threats at me after three feet! Not to mention I would be far too out of breath to even sing a note, let alone a whole theme song (insert a Kronk “he’s doing his own theme music?” gif here) Are you like…. SUPERKENZIE???? …YOU ARE! Better watch out, I know your secret now… -_-

    Liked by 1 person

    • GAIL!!! OH MY WORD!!!! *tackle hugs* THIS COMMENT JUST MADE MY ENTIRE DAY. <3333 I cannot even with you, you wonderful bean. HA! I know, right? I truly believe I am literally five years old. And YES. MY IDEAS ARE ALWAYS PERFECTION. ALWAYS. (oh, the whole almost dying thing was one of the best parts, don't you know? XD)

      You know…I really don't know the answer to this. I guess maybe I have strong calves? AND at the time I was pretty consistent with using an exercise bike every day because #HEALTH and so my legs were apparently really strong and WHO AM I KIDDING I AM TOTALLY SUPERKENZIE. THOU HAST LEARNED MY SECRET. XD (to be fair, however, I never got the chance to sing the Wicked Witch of the West song. The tune was sadly lost in the incoherent screams of my terrified mind. XD) DON'T TELL ANYONE MY SECRET!!! PLEASE!! XD

      Liked by 1 person

    • I KNOW!!! I am so excited. I’m still wobbling back and forth between writing a review for Twilight or writing it for something else…

      OH MY WORD. I JUST THOUGHT OF THE PERFECT BOOK TO REVIEW. See, I actually read Twilight at a pretty good point in my life, so I ended up rather enjoying it, but there’s ONE BOOK that is wildly popular that I just cannot stand… This is gonna be AMAZING. 😂😂😂

      Like

  6. Okay, but after having read this post…it kind of freaked me out. Because one time I was riding my bike, tried to go down a hill but it swerved and went between these two wooden posts (I was sure I was going to hit those posts) and deposited me in a field so hard I can still remember the jar my head got (thankfully I was wearing a helmet). It’s nothing compared to your story, but whenever I get on a bike now I’m low-key close to hyperventilating.

    Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH MY GOODNESS THIS SOUNDS HORRIFYING. I am VERY thankful you were wearing a helmet!!!

      Also all of the horror stories about bicycles that this post has gotten is honestly making me feel like I should never ride a bike ever again. 😂

      Like

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