Birthday bash to birthday crash!

A 10th anniversary reflection

Tomorrow’s my birthday. But this birthday is a little more special as I’m also celebrating the 10th anniversary from when I did something incredibly stupid and ended up spending a birthday in hospital. I’m posting this today because the incident I’m going to talk about actually happened exactly 10 years ago to the day.

I am writing this post to remind myself how much I’ve grown, and erm, hopefully matured since. This misadventure has been a lesson well learnt, and a constant reminder to think twice before I do something moronic. And yet I still regard it as part of “growing up”. I do however, count my blessings because I was really lucky that the injuries I sustained were not grievous.

This story begins on 5th August 2010. The day started out like any other, and as was routine, in the evening we had a ‘Knights Spectacular 1565’ performance. This was a weekly musical I performed in for almost nine years, at MonteKristo Estates. In our performing group, three of us celebrated their birthday, each a day apart. The 5th of August was the middle day and thus perfect to celebrate all three birthdays. The fact that we had a performance was perfect as the whole group would be gathered together, making it perfect for us to celebrate. The simplest way to do so was to organise a ‘mini party’ in Montekristo’s car park. All good thus far. We performed the show and the party followed and I was having an absolute blast, if I’m perfectly honest. So what went terribly wrong?

I have to go back to the day’s progression for that. One of the dances we had in the show was a harem belly dance, so I used to be very conscious of how my tummy would look whilst performing. I therefore had a routine where I’d stop eating at about 2.00 p.m. on a show day, and just have water for the rest of the day to make sure that my tummy looked as flat as possible. Furthermore, to avoid getting a stitch in my waist during the dance I only used to have very small sips of water during the show. And during the hottest week of the year, dancing for two hours without drinking water, you can just about imagine how dehydrated my body would have been.

Well, when the party started I obviously did not turn to water but started drinking alcohol straight away. Let’s just say my memory is a little blurry, but I don’t recall having too many drinks. Apparently though, the alcohol went straight into my bloodstream, as I’d like to think, because the hospital results showed that my alcohol levels were basically through the roof. I honestly remember taking a couple of glasses at most, although I do remember being a little tipsy. A ‘pee break’ seems to have been the pivotal moment that made the night go awry. You see, as I was walking back to my friends, my eyes fell upon this gorgeous shiny red motorcycle. I pretty much knew all my friends’ cars and knew that the bike didn’t belong to anyone I knew, but it looked soooo pretty. ‘The birthday girl’ decided she wanted a ride. So in the middle of a parking lot, using her theatrical projection voice, the birthday girl called out, ‘Who’s bike is this? The birthday girl wants a ride!’ Of course who would want to refuse a birthday girl’s request? The owner was more than happy to oblige….

So let’s paint a picture of what would lead to the perfect epic fail: take a twenty three year old tipsy birthday girl who is super excited and feeling rather carefree; add the fact the this girl never rode a motorcycle before (heck she never even learnt how to ride a bicycle); put that together with a motor bike owner who’s also a little tipsy, has no spare helmet and is not used to having a pillion rider, and well… keep reading…

I don’t remember much of what happened. I’m guessing the head trauma fogged my memory of the accident, but this is what I do remember. We decided on a very small ride in the car park. However, the car park was divided into small sections so we couldn’t really get around. The driver suggested we go out to the road, which is a super quiet road, at night. Just a short drive and we’ll turn back. I accepted. All I remember from there on is me shouting ‘THE WAAAAAALLLL!’ The next thing I remember is sitting in the hospital’s waiting area crying with terrible back pain and giving my mother’s number to one of my besties so she’ll fill my parents in with the details.

The doctors and my parents tried asking me what happened over and over again that night, but I just couldn’t remember. Some memory started filtering back eventually and what I figured was that after noticing the wall on our left side super close to us, the driver steered sharply to the right, which threw us off balance and we ended up crashing into the airport fence. I seem to remember being up on my feet but being in a lot of pain. What resulted was: missing hair – because I thought it would be nice to leave a souvenir for the airport fence; all my back muscles in one big spasm – which was very painful – and almost an inability to move my feet the first couple of days after the accident. As for the aesthetics, black eyes that make any woman envious of that smokey eye effect… too bad it only lasted about a month!

My friends eventually filled in some of the details and explained to me that they found me at the side of the road, picked up the white, blood-stained hairband that I had been wearing, and drove me to hospital. Some other friends stayed on to help the guy with his bike. What astounded me was that apart from a very small tear in my top – probably from getting stuck to the airport fence – my clothes and shoes were completely intact and I didn’t have another scratch on my body (apart from the missing hair on my head).

I had never spent a night in hospital up until that point and I always hated the thought of doing so. You can just about imagine how thrilled I was to get to spend my birthday there. I was bored stiff, in massive pain, unable to move, with no TV, not even a book. I somehow had a phone, but checking Facebook and seeing all the birthday wishes everyone was leaving, only tarnished my mood further. I luckily had a couple of visits from friends who definitely helped uplift my mood, but kept asking how I could have been so stupid.

I was released from hospital on Saturday morning, once my twenty-four hours observation period was up. I proceeded to a date with my hairdresser to wash my hair and get the tarmac dirt out without aggravating my wound and fix my haircut to hide the bald patch. My friends came to spend the evening with me since my birthday had been ruined and well, they started sharing information to fill in the memory gaps. If I’m truly honest though, I still don’t have a clear picture of what truly happened that night. All I know is that I was incredibly lucky and that I must have had some sort of angel looking out for me. I do realise that things could have gone a lot worse. I did have to do physio for a few months to release the muscle spasm in my back, but considering, that was a very small price to pay.

I didn’t want anything to remind me of this episode so I insisted that no one takes any photos, which is why I don’t have a photo in hospital. The only reason I have the one photo that’s featured in this post, is because my friends insisted that I should have a keepsake, for whenever I think of doing anything so stupid again… and I have to say, it works!

The one way I feel this incident affected my life is the fact that I would love to get a small electric scooter to commute to and from work. I think it would make my life so much easier and would save me parking hassle, and obviously it would also benefit the environment. After this experience though, I kind of promised myself that I would never ride anything with two wheels again, so I guess I’ll never be getting that scooter.

Do I regret this incident? I thank my lucky stars that the outcome wasn’t worse, but no I don’t regret it. I honestly try not to regret anything I do in life no matter how ‘big’ I consider a ‘mistake’ to be. I believe that such experiences help us grow and become the persons we are. This is like a life mantra for me which I apply to every aspect of my life – studies, career, relationships, etc. ‘A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.’

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