I hit a cow while riding my motorbike to school. You probably wonder now how come. I don’t know myself. It appeared out of nowhere on the road, was most likely jumping over a trench, so it was pretty fast, and hidden behind the bush, so I could not see it. I bumped against its side, and then my front wheel got stuck in the trench along the road.
As I was trying to drag my bike out of the trench, a Balinese guy stopped to help me and asked if I was alright. He didn’t see my accident so I was wondering for a second whether I should explain what really had happened (which was embarrassing) or not say anything (and in this way make him think that I am just an inexperienced bule who turned left too much and slipped of the road, which would be a dishonour for all European nations). I told him the truth, so there is a little chance your dignity is preserved among the Balinese; no need to thank me.
Having been asked if everything is okay with me, and trying not to limp (because despite not falling from the bike, I injured my foot), I answered that I am all good, and I hope the cow is too. If you think how silly it was that I was hoping a 1000-kg animal was alright after being hit by a thin girl, you should wait for the rest of the story. My excuse is that I was shocked, so all stupid words are justified. I went straight to school, where I was expecting some sympathy from the surrounding people. In the campus clinic I was advised to have ‘tradisional bali masas’ on my foot. Since this was not enough sympathy for me, I went to class hoping for some more.
The class starts and our teacher comes in, announcing that he needs to go now to the clinic on campus, because one darmasiswa student got injured. ‘It’s me, Edi, I am the one!’ I say, expecting him to cheer me up as he often does. I tell him the story of how the cow came suddenly on me, that I did not have time to react, putting myself clearly as the only victim of this unfortunate accident. And then Edi asks with a worried voice: ‘Is the cow okay?’. Ohhh, Edi. ‘I just meant that sometimes the owner of the cow would require compensation if the cow is hurt’. Well, I don’t think my insurance company would cover the cow’s injury. They sent me to a hospital where there was no x-ray machine; the doctor just examined my foot manually. Then what came to my mind was the hospital from Cancer Ward, a novel by Solzhenitsyn. And I thought that the Soviet hospital couldn’t have been that bad — at least they had x-ray there, a lot of x-ray.
In the meantime I texted some of my friends, saying what a trauma I had gone through. Most of them laughed. Some asked if the scooter was fine. I did go to a scooter service but not because of the accident, which hardly damaged my bike. I had gotten a flat tyre the same day, and the previous day the cover of the exhaust pipe had almost come off (which I had fixed myself temporarily with dental floss; by the way, the mechanic had trouble removing it from the bike, — dental floss is the new zip-tie!). I asked for changing the tyre, fixing the pipe cover and fixing my leg, if they have a discount for combined services. I explained how I got the injury. The owner looked at my bony shoulders and said: ‘A cow is not a good sparing partner for you’.
Writing this post, I am lying in my bed with the foot up, hoping it’s not broken, and I cannot stop smiling when I think back on what has just happened. Hitting a cow on the way to school. Bali is wonderful.