After having quite a bad start to the day – mostly in terms of various little things not going right, rather than my mood – all I really wanted to do was go for an afternoon cycle in the lovely weather. I managed to get to a steep hill about 2 miles from where I live, when I changed gears and the chain got badly jammed between the frame of the bike and the start of the pedals. I tried for about 10 minutes to unjam it, to no avail. I was so annoyed – at a combination of little things going wrong, bigger things in my life not going right, and simply by having the 3 hour bike ride that I’d planned, coming to an abrupt halt – by this point that I just wanted to kick the bike or a wall or something. But suddenly a guy who was walking past with his two greyhounds asked what was wrong with the bike and offered to help. I sort of just ended up holding the leads of the two greyhounds, feeling very nervous and wary, while he made small talk and tried for about 5 minutes to unjam the chain. It still wouldn’t budge so he asked one of his neighbours (he seemed to live in one of the cottages right beside where I had stopped) to bring out a hammer and chisel. After about another 10 very awkward minutes, the neighbour finally managed to get my chain unstuck, and was even nice enough to spray it with some oil (I hadn’t noticed before setting out, but it was a bit rusty).
I felt so awkward and nervous the whole time, not just because I’m very wary around (particularly male) strangers anyway, but because I felt so bad that I was inconveniencing people. It was a surprisingly nice thing for both of them to do – most people would’ve just walked by me. But in a lot of ways, I’d rather that the dog walker had just walked past me and left me to eventually wheel my bike back home. I just felt so guilty that I was taking up their time, and using up the neighbour’s oil. The dog walker actually said that he had to be in Gretna (which is right next to the Scotland-England border) that evening because one of his dogs was racing, so I felt so, so bad that I was holding him back. I did obviously sincerely thank both of them, but I worry that I wasn’t sincere enough – that I came across as quite rude and unappreciative. I worry that I angered both of them and I feel really bad about myself for that. I sort of managed the small talk, though it was awkward at bits. I always seem to feel anxious/ somewhat embarrassed when someone helps me in a situation like that – it makes me feel vulnerable/ weak for accepting their help. I’ve felt even more anxious around people than usual over the last 4 or 5 days. I really hope that I’m just going through a bad few days anxiety-wise, and that I’ve not taken a few steps backwards in terms of progress.
It’s nice to know that there are some genuinely nice, helpful people out there. I just wish that I wasn’t so anxious about them helping me and could better express my gratitude.