To Ride the Precipice, Straight and True

To Ride the Precipice, Straight and True

by Spencer

This is maybe actually a real adventure. To be completely without institutional support is challenging. At the end of my hospitalization, the nurse asked me where I was staying. I didn’t know. I was wounded and didn’t have a place to stay, a problem, and she couldn’t fill in her box, also a problem.
Every day is a challenge. Staying clean, eating enough, finding affordable shelter, just attempting to stay safe. Yesterday I washed the blood out of my shirt in a public sink. I scrubbed the fabric against itself. I watched the water turn a mud red. I wanted to film that moment. But there was no one to hold the camera. There wasn’t even time for the shirt to dry. So you put the shirt on. Feel the hole where glass passed to slice flesh open. That’s all I could do. My means are so limited. There is much I want to do but I just don’t have the capability.
It’s humbling.
Getting back on the bicycle was nerve-racking. It took hours for the adrenalin to subside. We were back on R101, “The Road of Death.” There isn’t much of a shoulder. You pedal the yellow line, as far left as you can, straight, without wavering. In New York, I’ve found it’s best to declare your presence. Get out in a lane, stay visible, the traffic will go around you. But here the busses and taxis (minibuses) will just run you over.
A few days back, I had the luck of meeting Paul Morris. He’s about to tour Angola. I expect he has a story to tell. (Check out his blog.) When I was injured, I called out for help and he answered. That means a lot. Briefly we talked about writing. He told me that his is at its best when he simply explains the world as he sees it, but even that is hard, because if you truly say what you feel, not everyone will like you more.
I am loathe to admit to it, but I made an idiotic stupid mistake. When I left Pretoria, I left a crucial piece of bicycling equipment behind. I didn’t want to face the coming morning. I had a hard time sleeping. This journey has been an exercise in facing consequences. You get back to Pretoria, you get back on the bicycle, you keep on going.
To be honest, I wish it was easier. I wish I had more control. I wish there was another person to help with the filming, that it was actually possible to get online. My friends and most everything I know are on the far side of the world. I had a great little life in New York, but now I have little choice but to face the reality of where I’m at, to trim the sails, baton the hatches, brave the storm, and hope that I, or maybe fate, will allow myself to make fewer mistakes.

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