The Good Samaritan parable has been doing the rounds for a while now but really it’s time for an updated version.
On a rare day to myself, I decided to head over to Hamsterly Forest and do my favourite walk: a brisk hour and a half up hill and down dale.
The beauty of the clear, sunny day was only slightly marred by the fact that a bonnet of flies descended on my head the second I got out of the car and remained there for the duration apart from a brief and blissful minute when the wind blew them a metre away.
After they’d returned and I’d accepted my fate: to be eaten alive: it was divine.
Usually it’s the kind of walk where you see no one but on Sunday it was busier than Asda at peak rush hour. I saw five horses (three commandeered by small children and adorned with pink fluoro accessories), several families supervising their children weeing in bushes and whole teams of bikers, all wearing very tight, shiny shorts displaying their baby-makers to all and sundry.
A mile from the car I reached the road again and saw a man zoom past on a roadbike. Twenty seconds after he crossed my line of vision he must have fallen off because when I looked up the road he was lying like a beetle on its back and the bike was almost in the bushes.
I was afeared he might have been grievously wounded, but not enough to actually go and find out, so I just shouted up the road: “Ere! Are you OK?”
He shouted back yes but I was unconvinced as he was still floundering about waiting to become human road kill.
I shouted up again and was met with a very huffy “Fine, Thank YOU.”
The truth is: people only truly want help from strangers when the very worst has happened.
If they just happen to look like a plum then they’d much rather you pretend they’re invisible.
I remember my first time riding a bike as an adult. I was crossing a busy road and up ahead loomed a menacing kerb.
“I’m going to fall off” I thought. I was 100 per cent right.
I slowed down (fatal error) and hit the kerb with just enough energy for the bike to bounce back into the road sideways trapping my leg and crushing me like a spider beneath a boot.
It was a pathetic fall-off and right in front of an attractive couple who looked slightly confused to suddenly find themselves looming over a crying 28-year-old scrabbling around on a dirty pavement.
They asked if I was alright but apart from a feeble sob I ignored them. I wanted to catch up to my boyfriend and show him the gravel in my hands and really sob my heart out so he’d give me a hug and somehow admit that it was his fault. I understand logically that this is unfair, but if you ask me it’s the unwritten, golden rule of couplehood. No matter what has happened or why, we all want our partner to accept full responsibility and apologise profusely, even if they weren’t in the same room, or the same country.
So. Remember. If you pass someone covered in blood and screaming it’s OK to call an ambulance. If there’s no visual blood and they look embarrassed then keep on walking: silently, they will thank you.